Nottingham called up, draws 2 walks in debut
Club provides injury updates on Yelich, Vogt, Braun, Thames
MILWAUKEE -- After limping home from New York with primary catcher Manny Pina among the players battling day-to-day injuries, the Brewers called up catching prospect Jacob Nottingham for the start of a weeklong homestand Monday. Pina was placed on the 10-day disabled list, retroactive to Friday, with a right calf strain.
Nottingham made his debut Monday, entering in the seventh inning in the Brewers' 10-4 loss. He worked a two-out walk in his first at-bat to load the bases and eventually scored on a wild pitch in a four-run seventh. He walked again in the ninth.
"I think just controlling the strike zone was big," Nottingham said. "Just staying in the moment and kind of slowing the game down as much as I can. Obviously it came in my favor, which was a relief, because the first at-bat was a little nerve-wracking. But, I think a lot of the pressure came off after I caught the first inning. After that, I think I settled in a little bit."
Manager Craig Counsell said Nottingham will primarily back up Jett Bandy and use the promotion to gain much-needed big league experience after just eight games at Triple-A.
"My first thought was that this is where we set him up, however long he's here, for the rest of the season as an experience that he can take back to Triple-A and use as a springboard," Counsell said before Monday's game against the Reds. "The fact that it was Jacob means he's ready for this, but he also needs, preferably, significant experience at Triple-A as well."
Bandy was on the verge of an ejection in Sunday's game after being called out on strikes. He managed to stay in the game, though Counsell was ejected. At that point, the only backup option was an injured Pina.
"We wanted to make sure we had a healthy catcher here," Counsell said. "Basically, it got down to Manny needing more time."
Nottingham, 23, is ranked as the Brewers' No. 27 prospect according to MLB Pipeline. He has a .296/.345/.519 slash line after 27 at-bats at Triple-A Colorado Springs, and hit his first home run in Game 1 of a doubleheader on Sunday.
"I'm just going to play hard," Nottingham said. "When I'm in the lineup, I'm going to do everything I can to contribute, and everything else will take care of itself."
"At first I was very excited, but once I landed here, that's kind of when the nerves kicked in, and seeing the big Miller Park sign," he said. "I'm just happy to be here. I'm excited."
Nottingham was not quite prepared for the weather in Milwaukee, which is digging out from a weekend snowstorm.
"I'm from California, so I don't really own that many sweaters and stuff like that. So definitely shopping for some coats is going to be a big thing," he said. "I've seen snow maybe 10 times. It's definitely different."
• Pina joins Christian Yelich, who has a right oblique injury, on the DL, but Yelich was eligible for reinstatement beginning Sunday.
"We've got to string a couple really good days together," Counsell said of Yelich. "I think we're on that path. He's going to have a full day on the field in a little bit here, so it will be another step. We'll see how he feels as we get through the night. He'll tolerate everything on the field. At times he's had some soreness after workouts, so we've got to make sure that's not happening."
• Catcher Stephen Vogt, who is on the DL with a right shoulder strain and has yet to debut this season, is progressing, but not ready, Counsell said.
"I played catch with him the other day, and there's something on the ball; he's out to 90 feet at this point," Counsell said. "I think the feeling is that we've got to put a bit of a base under him, but he's pushing the envelope a little, which is always a good sign."
• Outfielder Ryan Braun, bothered by a sore back, pinch-hit Sunday but was not in the starting lineup Monday night. He pinch-hit in the ninth inning again Monday and reached on what was originally called an infield single, but the call was overturned after a challenge by the Reds.
"He's improving," Counsell said. "He's definitely improving tonight. Before the game, he thought he was really on the right track. We would have used him tonight in the field if we would have had to, with a double-switch or something. He's on the mend, for sure."
• Counsell said the injury to first baseman/outfielder Eric Thames, who left Sunday's game with a left abductor strain, was not as serious as originally thought.
"It was all good news, actually," Counsell said after Monday's game. "He saw the doctors. Feeling good. Trainers put him through a pretty good physical test, and he did well. Tomorrow's still a possibility. We'll take a look at how he feels when he gets here."