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Yelich appreciates Baker Mayfield's gesture

September 21, 2018

PITTSBURGH -- Like many other sports fans, Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield has an opinion on who should get the nod for the National League Most Valuable Player.Unlike many other sports fans, he has a platform to let a lot of people know what he thinks. After leading the Browns

PITTSBURGH -- Like many other sports fans, Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield has an opinion on who should get the nod for the National League Most Valuable Player.
Unlike many other sports fans, he has a platform to let a lot of people know what he thinks. After leading the Browns to a comeback victory on Thursday, he gave a shout-out to Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich.
"Christian Yelich for NL MVP," he said to close his postgame press conference, and that came after he walked into the stadium wearing an autographed Yelich jersey.
Mayfield and Yelich became friends in the offseason, when Mayfield trained for the NFL Combine at the same facility Yelich uses in California. Yelich and the Brewers got to Pittsburgh in time to watch Mayfield's big game unfold.
"They played a great game yesterday, so it was fun to watch," Yelich said. "We had a lot of guys in the clubhouse rooting for the Browns yesterday. Obviously it's a big victory for the Browns and the city of Cleveland. It was fun to watch."
Yelich said he got a heads-up that Mayfield was going to wear his jersey, one that Mayfield had bought and asked Yelich to autograph while they were training. But nobody expected Mayfield to have a postgame press conference after he started the game as Cleveland's backup.

"He came in one day wearing it," Yelich said. "He asked me if I would sign it for him. Obviously, I did, and he ended up wearing it to the game. You don't really think it was going to go down how it went down [Thursday], so it was a really cool moment for him getting that win for the Browns and the city of Cleveland."
While Yelich appreciated the gesture, he's not sure how much pull Mayfield has in the proper circles to influence the vote. Members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America vote for MVP.
"We'll see," he said. "That's up to you guys. In all honesty, we're trying to just see if we can win as many games as we can down the stretch here, these last nine. I feel like everything else just takes care of itself. Obviously, it's a cool moment and much appreciated."
In addition to being an MVP candidate, Yelich led the NL with a .319 batting average, a .569 slugging percentage and a .954 OPS entering Friday, but he remains more focused on the team goals at hand.
"When our team's in it and we have so much at stake every night, it's easier to separate the two," he said. "In your head, you don't have it carry over because we're so focused on our team goals, what we have to go out and accomplish as a team, and what we're on the brink of -- being able to clinch a postseason spot."
The Brewers entered play Friday in the top NL Wild Card spot and 2 1/2 games behind the Cubs in the NL Central.
Cain (rib cage) out again
Center fielder Lorenzo Cain is not in the Brewers' lineup for the second consecutive game after leaving Tuesday's game with an intercostal strain in his rib cage. Cain remains day to day, and with an injury that has such a pronounced impact on a player's swing and that has an opportunity for continued aggravation, the Brewers are being conservative with his return.

"We're just giving him rest," Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell said. "Rest is going to help him. So that's where we're at. I know he's champing at the bit, but I think we're also trying to be cautious and plan for possibly six weeks here. That's important to keep in mind. He's doing good, but he's got a little injury there and we're just trying to give him as much time as we possibly can."
Even when Cain does return to the Brewers' lineup, Counsell cautioned that re-injury could be a possibility.
"It's logical to say that every day off is going to help him heal," he said. "At some point, he's going to be back in there. I don't think we'll be 100 percent out of the woods, but he'll be better."
Ryan Braun returned to the lineup after missing Wednesday's game with a sore back.

Alan Saunders is a contributor to MLB.com based in Pittsburgh.