The Milwaukee Brewers were facing a difficult roster decision in the coming days with the impending activation of Travis Shaw. As has often been the case under the David Stearns regime, however, a fortuitously-timed, seemingly minor malady suffered by another player will help delay a potentially tough call, this time on the future of Keston Hiura.
C Manny Piña (right hamstring) has been reinstated from the 10-day injured list and LHP Gio Gonzalez (left arm) has been placed on the 10-day injured list. RHP Zach Davies will start Sunday’s game at Pittsburgh. pic.twitter.com/5L0SrF4Apq— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) June 1, 2019
Manager Craig Counsell relays that Gio isn’t dealing with any specific pain, simply a “not right” feeling in his arm causing fatigue. He suggests that it could be related to not having a normal Spring Training after waiting until the later stages of March to sign a minors deal with the Yankees.
“No pain, just a Not right feeling”: Life in Your 30s https://t.co/Ss82SxUXzx— DeathToFlyingThings (@SpectiveWax) June 1, 2019
For time the being, having Pina on the roster will mean that the team is playing with three catchers, as both Yasmani Grandal and Jacob Nottingham remain active. Because of the off-day Milwaukee enjoyed on Wednesday, they are able to push up Zach Davies to start on normal rest tomorrow, and then skip a fifth-starter the next time through the rotation after another day of rest on Monday. In fact, the scheduled days off they have upcoming could mean they won’t necessarily need a fifth starter again for awhile. So when Travis Shaw rejoins the team on Tuesday, the obvious move will be to send down Nottingham to make room.
Shaw will go back to playing third base which means that Mike Moustakas will head back to the keystone, and that will likely shift Hiura into some sort of bench of role for the time being. But at least he should be able to stay in the big leagues for now, and Counsell has shown the ability to be creative with his lineups in order to divvy up at-bats to everyone. Hiura is batting .296/.345/.537 with four homers through his first 58 MLB plate appearances, good for a 129 wRC+. That impressive line is accompanied by 20 strikeouts and only two walks along with a .414 BABIP so there is reason to worry about sustainability, but there is no doubt that the org’s top prospect is doing everything he can to convince the powers that be that he deserves to remain in the Cream City.
Pina has appeared in 23 games this season as Grandal’s backup, tallying 50 plate appearances with a .133/.220/.244 slash and a single home run. He went 3-for-13 with a walk during his four-game rehab assingment with the Timber Rattlers and might not arrive in time for the start of today’s game in Pittsburgh. Gonzalez has been a steady presence in the rotation for the Milwaukee Nine since signing in late April, producing a 3.19 ERA along with marks of 73 FIP- and 77 DRA- in six starts and 31.0 innings pitched.
Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs and Baseball Prospectus