Brewers send struggling Arcia to Triple-A

Cain hopes to return from DL Wed.; Yelich sidelined with back tightness

July 1st, 2018

CINCINNATI -- Five weeks after they sent shortstop Orlando Arcia to the Minor Leagues amid a brutal slump, the Brewers did it again on Sunday.
This time, the decision was driven not only by Arcia's ongoing offensive issues, but by bullpen need. The Brewers promoted right-hander Aaron Wilkerson from Triple-A Colorado Springs, while optioning Arcia to that affiliate.
Arcia -- who is 23 years old and one of baseball's best defensive shortstops, as well as the Brewers' Opening Day starter at the position the past two seasons -- is the least productive hitter in the National League with at least 150 plate appearances, using his 27 weighted runs created plus and .215 weighted on-base average as the measures. Arcia struck out in his only at-bat during Saturday's 12-3 loss to the Reds and saw his slash line fall to .197/.231/.251.
"The short term is we had to have an arm today. But probably more important longer term is that we've got to get Orlando going offensively," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "Unfortunately, I feel like we've kind of failed here in just trying everything we can to do it."
Counsell added, "Look, we're taking a defensive hit. Defensively, we're not going to be as good. We know how good Orlando is, and really, through all of this, he has played wonderful defense. His defense has been better through this stretch. It's been really, really good the entire season. But it's important to try and get the best Orlando Arcia."
In spite of his struggles, Arcia's teammates were surprised when the team demoted him to Triple-A on May 25, hoping to give him an opportunity over several weeks to fix his swing and build confidence in a hitter-friendly environment. That plan was scuttled five days later, after Arcia's replacement at shortstop, Tyler Saladino, injured his left ankle and hit the 10-day disabled list.
Now, Saladino is nearing a return. He began a rehab appearance at Class A Wisconsin on Thursday and is expected to move up to Colorado Springs this week before rejoining the Brewers.
Arcia was unable to make the most of his playing time during Saladino's absence, going 13-for-64 (.203) with two walks and no extra-base hits since returning from his brief stint in the Minors.
"What we originally had planned to do, we'll make another attempt at it," Counsell said. "He's going into, hopefully, an easier offensive environment."
Wilkerson, 29, is coming from that environment. He pitched in three games for the Brewers last season and competed for the starting rotation this spring. He injured his non-throwing shoulder on a swing just before the start of the regular season but has been active since mid-May, posting a 2.08 ERA in eight games (seven starts) for the SkySox.
Injury updates
It was a good news, bad news situation for the Brewers' star outfielders on Sunday. expressed optimism that he will be able to escape the 10-day DL on Wednesday, the first day he is eligible to return from a left groin strain. , meanwhile, was in danger of hitting the DL for lingering tightness in his back.
Yelich planned to take some swings before Sunday's series finale against the Reds, and said the next day or so would determine whether he would remain in day-to-day territory or hit the DL. He has not played since leaving Thursday's game in Cincinnati following a first-inning groundout.
"We'll either be back in a couple days, or I'll see you in 10 days," Yelich said. "I don't think it will be longer than the 10, so that's kind of the good news."
There was better news on Cain, who cranked the treadmill up to 12 mph during a Friday workout, and is scheduled to run on the field at Miller Park on Monday and Tuesday. If he clears those tests, Cain could be back in the lineup on Wednesday against the Twins.
"I think there's a really, really, really good chance I should be back when it's time for me to be back," said Cain.
Last call
and were named the Brewers' player and pitcher of the month for June. Aguilar hit 10 home runs while also leading the team in hits (26), doubles (6) and RBIs (24). Suter held opponents to a .198 average (21-for-106) while posting a 3.60 ERA in five starts.