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Brewers option Keston Hiura to make room for Travis Shaw

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A strong debut isn’t enough to keep Hiura’s first stint in the majors from being a short one

MLB: Milwaukee Brewers at Pittsburgh Pirates Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

It’s a question that’s been looming since the Brewers announced last week that Travis Shaw would be returning during the team’s next homestand, beginning tomorrow against the Miami Marlins — what did it mean for Keston Hiura, who put together an impressive first two weeks as a big leaguer?

Now we know the answer: Hiura is getting sent down for Shaw.

It’s a decision that’s sure to draw questions from plenty of fans, considering Shaw still seemed to struggle during his rehab assignment in Triple-A, and Hiura went 18-for-64 in 17 games, hitting .281/.333/.531 with 5 home runs and a double. It’s been the most impressive offensive debut for a Brewers prospect in quite a few years, but he also showed there’s some work to be done in cutting down his whiffs — both offensively and defensively.

Still, given how both players have performed this year, it’s hard to argue that at this point, Hiura’s bat has helped the lineup more than Shaw’s has. So when reporters questioned GM David Stearns on how, exactly, this doesn’t make the offense worse right now, Stearns opted to take the long view — as he usually does:

Shaw still has options remaining and could have been optioned if the Brewers really wanted him to work on his offensive issues at the minor league level. Reading between the lines, Stearns is basically saying he isn’t ready to DFA Jesus Aguilar, who has struggled just as much as Shaw after being an All-Star last year.

Stearns expressed confidence in both getting back to form, but also made sure to mention the time is coming near for them to show, well, anything:

For those of us who may be thinking cynically when it comes to service time manipulation for the team’s top prospect, Stearns said what you might expect.

Now, of course, if that just happens to be a side effect of this, well, that can’t be helped.

Hiura will be back with the Brewers sometime this season, and unless things start to turn around soon for Shaw and/or Aguilar, it may be sooner than we think. For what it’s worth, Shaw has been more than willing to admit he hasn’t played up to standards so far, something he alluded to in an Instagram post this morning before the move was made official.

Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference