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Nottingham called up, draws 2 walks in debut

Club provides injury updates on Yelich, Vogt, Braun, Thames
Special to MLB.com

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.

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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.

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"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."

Video: CIN@MIL: Nottingham scores on Reed's wild pitch

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."

Video: MIL@STL: Pina exits game due to right calf tightness

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."

Injury updates

• 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."

Jim Hoehn is a contributor to MLB.com based in Milwaukee.

Milwaukee Brewers, Jacob Nottingham

Yelich lands on DL; Williams up, Houser down

MLB.com

MILWAUKEE -- After a discouraging return to the batting cage on Saturday, the Brewers opted to place outfielder Christian Yelich on the 10-day disabled list Sunday morning with a right oblique injury.

The team is flush with outfield options, so another reliever, Taylor Williams, was summoned to bolster a bullpen that was nine arms strong for Sunday's 3-0 loss to the Cubs before the Brewers optioned right-hander Adrian Houser back to the Minors after the game. They will make a corresponding callup on Monday in St. Louis.

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MILWAUKEE -- After a discouraging return to the batting cage on Saturday, the Brewers opted to place outfielder Christian Yelich on the 10-day disabled list Sunday morning with a right oblique injury.

The team is flush with outfield options, so another reliever, Taylor Williams, was summoned to bolster a bullpen that was nine arms strong for Sunday's 3-0 loss to the Cubs before the Brewers optioned right-hander Adrian Houser back to the Minors after the game. They will make a corresponding callup on Monday in St. Louis.

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Meanwhile, the Yelich move was backdated to Thursday, so he will be eligible to return as early as April 15 for Milwaukee's series finale against the Mets in New York.

Yelich, who hit a tying, two-out home run in the bottom of the ninth inning of Tuesday's walk-off win over the Cardinals for his first Brewers homer, was injured swinging the bat the next night, though he cannot pinpoint the swing that did it. On Saturday, he tried to hit for the first time in three days and reported continued discomfort, prompting the DL decision.

An MRI scan was clean, Brewers manager Craig Counsell said.

Asked whether he expected Yelich to spend just the minimum 10 days on the DL, Counsell said, "That's a possibility. But I want to give him time to heal."

Video: Must C Clutch: Yelich, Braun go back-to-back for win

"It's more frustrating than anything," Yelich said. "I wanted to push it and be back out there. But they said just get it right and be ready to go once I can come off the DL. I understand why that decision was made, especially what we kind of need as a team right now. You understand it as a player. Obviously, you want to be out there, but this is the decision that was made, and now it's my job to get it right, get healthy and get back out there."

The Brewers acquired the 26-year-old via a trade with the Marlins on Jan. 25, the same day they struck a free-agent agreement with fellow outfielder Lorenzo Cain. Yelich hit .385 and slugged .577 over his first six games of the season.

The Brewers are well-positioned to cover Yelich's absence, after they spent Spring Training answering a litany of questions about a perceived outfield logjam. Brewers general manager David Stearns doggedly called it depth, and that depth was on display again Sunday when Counsell fielded a lineup with Ryan Braun in left field, Cain in center and Domingo Santana in right.

Super-utility man Hernan Perez has been the primary outfield backup during Yelich's absence, and Eric Sogard can also play left in a pinch. If the Brewers opt to add another outfielder on Monday, Keon Broxton and Brett Phillips have Major League experience and Minor League options.

"We've got guys to play, for sure. We like our choices here," Counsell said. "We're going to miss the left-handed bat; I think that's the big thing. Christian Yelich is a really good player and we're going to miss him. But we're equipped that way roster-wise."

Williams, Houser contribute; Houser sent down
Williams was the third reliever promoted from the Minors in as many days, following the arrival of Houser on Friday, after Corey Knebel was placed on the DL, and J.J. Hoover on Saturday, when Brandon Woodruff was optioned because the Brewers needed a fresh reliever.

Williams made an immediate entrance at Miller Park on Sunday, notching three strikeouts with an unearned run allowed on two hits in the seventh inning against the Cubs. Houser followed with two scoreless innings before he was sent back to Double-A Biloxi, marking his first appearance in the Majors since a pair of relief appearances for the Brewers in September 2015.

Video: CHC@MIL: Williams strikes out Bryant and the side

Houser notched three strikeouts and one defensive gem when he snared Addison Russell's line drive to end the eighth inning.

"I couldn't really feel the ball coming out of my hand," he said. "I was that excited. I'm glad to be back out there and put up some good innings."

Video: CHC@MIL: Houser snags line drive and ends inning

Both prospects -- Houser No. 13 on MLB Pipeline's list of Brewers prospects and Williams No. 18 -- are back from Tommy John surgery. Williams missed all of 2015 and '16, and Houser missed much of '16 and '17 before a strong showing in last year's Arizona Fall League.

"My approach," Williams said of being one of the Brewers' final cuts after a sparkling Spring Training, "was to go down with a positive attitude and a positive mindset that if I take care of what I need to take care of and get better and keep working, that I would be up here soon."

Williams pitched sparingly in the Minors and in the Majors last year. But he navigated back-to-back outings during Spring Training with no issues, and Counsell said he would have no problem using Williams like any other reliever.

Video: Williams talks about joining the Major League roster

The Brewers expect to be flexible with the final spots in the rotation and bullpen this season to keep a fresh crop of pitchers, and both Houser and Williams can be moved back and forth between the Minors and Majors this season thanks to their option. Houser was the first to be brought up and sent back down.

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook.

Milwaukee Brewers, Adrian Houser, Taylor Williams, Christian Yelich

Where Brewers Top 30 prospects are starting season

MLB.com

With the 2018 season getting started, here's a look at where the Milwaukee Brewers' Top 30 prospects are projected to start the season:

1. Keston Hiura (MLB No. 56), 2B -- Carolina Mudcats (A Adv)
2. Corbin Burnes (MLB No. 69), RHP -- Colorado Sky Sox (AAA)
3. Brandon Woodruff (MLB No. 96), RHP -- Milwaukee Brewers (MLB)
4. Lucas Erceg, 3B -- Biloxi Shuckers (AA)
5. Luis Ortiz, RHP -- Biloxi Shuckers (AA)
6. Brett Phillips, OF -- Colorado Sky Sox (AAA)
7. Corey Ray, OF -- Biloxi Shuckers (AA)
8. Trent Grisham, OF -- Biloxi Shuckers (AA)
9. Tristen Lutz, OF -- Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (A)
10. Freddy Peralta, RHP -- Colorado Sky Sox (AAA)
11. Mauricio Dubon, SS/2B -- Colorado Sky Sox (AAA)
12. Marcos Diplan, RHP -- Carolina Mudcats (A Adv)
13. Adrian Houser, RHP -- Biloxi Shuckers (AA)
14. Cody Ponce, RHP -- Biloxi Shuckers (AA)
15. Mario Feliciano, C -- Extended spring training
16. Jean Carmona, SS -- Extended spring training
17. Caden Lemons, RHP -- Extended spring training
18. Taylor Williams, RHP -- Colorado Sky Sox (AAA)
19. Jake Gatewood, 1B -- Biloxi Shuckers (AA)
20. Kodi Medeiros, LHP -- Biloxi Shuckers (AA)
21. KJ Harrison, C -- Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (A)
22. Troy Stokes, OF -- Biloxi Shuckers (AA)
23. Trey Supak, RHP -- Carolina Mudcats (A Adv)
24. Jorge Lopez, RHP -- Colorado Sky Sox (AAA)
25. Zack Brown, RHP -- Biloxi Shuckers (AA)
26. Carlos Rodriguez, OF -- Extended spring training
27. Jacob Nottingham, C/1B -- Colorado Sky Sox (AAA)
28. Je'Von Ward, OF -- Extended spring training
29. Larry Ernesto, OF -- Extended spring training
30. Brendan Murphy, LHP -- Extended spring training

With the 2018 season getting started, here's a look at where the Milwaukee Brewers' Top 30 prospects are projected to start the season:

1. Keston Hiura (MLB No. 56), 2B -- Carolina Mudcats (A Adv)
2. Corbin Burnes (MLB No. 69), RHP -- Colorado Sky Sox (AAA)
3. Brandon Woodruff (MLB No. 96), RHP -- Milwaukee Brewers (MLB)
4. Lucas Erceg, 3B -- Biloxi Shuckers (AA)
5. Luis Ortiz, RHP -- Biloxi Shuckers (AA)
6. Brett Phillips, OF -- Colorado Sky Sox (AAA)
7. Corey Ray, OF -- Biloxi Shuckers (AA)
8. Trent Grisham, OF -- Biloxi Shuckers (AA)
9. Tristen Lutz, OF -- Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (A)
10. Freddy Peralta, RHP -- Colorado Sky Sox (AAA)
11. Mauricio Dubon, SS/2B -- Colorado Sky Sox (AAA)
12. Marcos Diplan, RHP -- Carolina Mudcats (A Adv)
13. Adrian Houser, RHP -- Biloxi Shuckers (AA)
14. Cody Ponce, RHP -- Biloxi Shuckers (AA)
15. Mario Feliciano, C -- Extended spring training
16. Jean Carmona, SS -- Extended spring training
17. Caden Lemons, RHP -- Extended spring training
18. Taylor Williams, RHP -- Colorado Sky Sox (AAA)
19. Jake Gatewood, 1B -- Biloxi Shuckers (AA)
20. Kodi Medeiros, LHP -- Biloxi Shuckers (AA)
21. KJ Harrison, C -- Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (A)
22. Troy Stokes, OF -- Biloxi Shuckers (AA)
23. Trey Supak, RHP -- Carolina Mudcats (A Adv)
24. Jorge Lopez, RHP -- Colorado Sky Sox (AAA)
25. Zack Brown, RHP -- Biloxi Shuckers (AA)
26. Carlos Rodriguez, OF -- Extended spring training
27. Jacob Nottingham, C/1B -- Colorado Sky Sox (AAA)
28. Je'Von Ward, OF -- Extended spring training
29. Larry Ernesto, OF -- Extended spring training
30. Brendan Murphy, LHP -- Extended spring training

• Brewers prospect coverage | Brewers Top 30 prospects stats

Where baseball's top prospects are starting the 2018 season

Team to watch
The Biloxi Shuckers should have one of the Double-A Southern League's more feared offenses, with Lucas Erceg, Corey Ray, Trent Grisham -- all Top 10 Brewers prospects -- Jake Gatewood and Troy Stokes in their lineup on any given night. And it might not be long until 2017 first-rounder and top prospect Keston Hiura is hitting in the middle of an already dangerous Shuckers' order. Biloxi's projected starting rotation is equally impressive, headlined by Luis Ortiz, Adrian Houser and Cody Ponce. Lefty Kodi Medeiros could be the best of the group if everything finally clicks, and those inside the organization have right-hander Zack Brown pegged as a breakout candidate even though he largely bypassed the Class A Advanced level.

Teams on MiLB.TV
Colorado Springs Sky Sox (AAA)
Biloxi Shuckers (AA)
Carolina Mudcats (A Adv)
Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (A)

New faces
The Brewers' Top 30 Prospects list doesn't include any players who were not with the organization last year.

On the shelf
Mario Feliciano, Milwaukee's top catching prospect, is a bit behind schedule defensively after experiencing some soreness during throwing drills in spring camp. He's expected to begin his season in earnest in a couple weeks and will likely report to Carolina once healthy.

Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero.

Milwaukee Brewers

Prospect placement: Affiliate rosters revealed

Brewers' Hiura to open at Class A Advanced, while Burnes heads to Triple-A
MLB.com

MILWAUKEE -- After showing off an advanced bat during his first big league Spring Training, the Brewers are betting that top prospect Keston Hiura will be able to hold his own in the advanced Class A Carolina League.

Hiura was assigned to the Carolina Mudcats, and the club's No. 2 prospect, Corbin Burnes, was sent to Triple-A Colorado Springs on Tuesday as the Brewers set initial rosters for all four of their full-season affiliates. Those rosters will have to be cut to 25 players apiece by Thursday, when all four clubs are scheduled to open play.

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MILWAUKEE -- After showing off an advanced bat during his first big league Spring Training, the Brewers are betting that top prospect Keston Hiura will be able to hold his own in the advanced Class A Carolina League.

Hiura was assigned to the Carolina Mudcats, and the club's No. 2 prospect, Corbin Burnes, was sent to Triple-A Colorado Springs on Tuesday as the Brewers set initial rosters for all four of their full-season affiliates. Those rosters will have to be cut to 25 players apiece by Thursday, when all four clubs are scheduled to open play.

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Video: Burnes, Hiura on their first Spring Training games

Here's where the members of MLB Pipeline's Top 30 list, who are not in the Major Leagues, landed on initial affiliate rosters, with their ranking in parentheses:

Triple-A Colorado Springs
RHP Burnes, OF Brett Phillips (6), RHP Freddy Peralta (10), IF Mauricio Dubon (11), RHP Taylor Williams (18), RHP Jorge Lopez (24), C Jacob Nottingham (27)

Other notables: Junior Guerra, the Brewers' Opening Day starter in 2017, is certainly notable, even if he's well beyond prospect status. First baseman Ji-Man Choi scored the winning run for the Brewers on Opening Day before he was optioned to make room for a pitcher. The Brewers just signed another Major League veteran, Andres Blanco, to play third base at Colorado Springs. Right-hander Aaron Wilkerson would have filled out the rotation with Burnes, Guerra, Bubba Derby and Peralta had he not suffered a left (non-throwing) shoulder injury at the end of Spring Training. Wilkerson will miss at least a couple of weeks.

Video: MIL@SD: Arcia puts Brewers on top with single in 12th

Double-A Biloxi
IF Lucas Erceg (4), RHP Luis Ortiz (5), OF Corey Ray (7), OF Trent Grisham (8), RHP Adrian Houser (13), RHP Cody Ponce (14), IF Jake Gatewood (19), LHP Kodi Medeiros (20), OF Troy Stokes Jr. (22) RHP Zack Brown (25)

Other notables: Nick Franklin, a former first-round Draft pick who served in a utility role for the Brewers early in 2017, re-signed with the organization and will convert to catcher this season. Starter Thomas Jankins and relievers Nate Griep and Quintin Torres-Costa didn't crack MLB Pipeline's Top 30, but they are well-regarded in the system. Griep has 53 saves over the past two seasons at the Brewers' two Class A affiliates. Torres-Costa struck out 91 in 66 innings between Carolina and Biloxi last season before getting a spot alongside Griep in the Arizona Fall League.

Video: MIL@CWS: Franklin rips a solo home run in the 6th

Class A Advanced Carolina
IF Hiura, RHP Marcos Diplan (12), RHP Trey Supak (23)

Other notables: Left-hander Nathan Kirby faces a critical year after losing two straight seasons to elbow surgeries. Now 24, he was the 40th overall pick in the 2015 Draft out of the University of Virginia. Fans of this team will have to keep their Diplans separate. While Marcos starts, right-hander Nattino Diplan (no relation) is likely to pitch out of the bullpen. Former first-round Draft pick Clint Coulter (27th overall in 2012) is taking a step back in his seventh professional season after spending all of last year at Biloxi.

Video: Kirby talks about being ready to play in 2018

Class A Wisconsin
OF Tristen Lutz (9), C KJ Harrison (21)

Other notables: Right-hander Carlos Herrera and catcher Payton Henry are outside MLB Pipeline's Top 30 list, but did make a similar ranking from Baseball America and are prospects to watch. Lutz, Harrison and right-handers Bowden Francis and Alec Bettinger were all among the Brewers' picks in the top 10 rounds of last year's Draft.

Not yet assigned
C Mario Feliciano (15), IF Jean Carmona (16), RHP Caden Lemons (17), OF Carlos Rodriguez (26), OF Je'Von Ward (28), OF Larry Ernesto (29), LHP Brendan Murphy (30)

Feliciano will be assigned to Carolina in the coming weeks, but he experienced soreness in his throwing shoulder during Spring Training and needed more time in extended camp. He has resumed throwing, farm director Tom Flanagan said. Carmona, Lemons, Ward and Murphy are all ticketed for one of the Brewers' Rookie league affiliates in Helena, Mont., and Phoenix, which begin play in June.

Rodriguez and Ernesto were international signings last summer and will begin their professional careers in the Dominican Summer League this year.

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook.

Milwaukee Brewers

For Woodruff, the hits keep on comin'

Brewers rookie pitcher struck by batted balls from 2 consecutive Padres hitters in Friday's game
MLB.com

SAN DIEGO -- Brandon Woodruff wondered whether it was cosmic payback. Perhaps making light of Chase Anderson's awkward Opening Day slide had been a bad idea.

Woodruff could laugh about it on Saturday, when he was bruised but otherwise fine after being struck by line drives from consecutive Padres batters in the seventh inning of Milwaukee's come-from-behind, 8-6 win over the Padres on Friday night at Petco Park.

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SAN DIEGO -- Brandon Woodruff wondered whether it was cosmic payback. Perhaps making light of Chase Anderson's awkward Opening Day slide had been a bad idea.

Woodruff could laugh about it on Saturday, when he was bruised but otherwise fine after being struck by line drives from consecutive Padres batters in the seventh inning of Milwaukee's come-from-behind, 8-6 win over the Padres on Friday night at Petco Park.

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Nobody in the clubhouse could remember seeing anything like it. A pitcher hit by a line drive, sure. A pitcher hit by multiple line drives, maybe. But line drives from consecutive batters, one off Woodruff's right triceps and the other his backside? No way.

"And they were both hit really hard," said first baseman Ryan Braun, who was perfectly positioned to field the second liner when it caromed right to him for the final out of the inning.

It was a stroke of good fortune, since the Padres had two runners aboard.

Still, "It was scary," Braun said.

Tweet from @AdamMcCalvy: Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you���re gonna get when you ask Brewers manager Craig Counsell where those liners struck Brandon Woodruff. pic.twitter.com/r7sUZ9LjNY "It's definitely never happened to me before, and they were barreled up," Woodruff said. "I think it was a little bit of karma for making fun of Chase on his slide [Thursday]. That's what I'm going to chalk it up to. The baseball gods got me back."

What did Woodruff say to Anderson that so offended the baseball gods?

"I just told him he wasn't athletic, that he needs to learn how to slide," Woodruff said, with Anderson standing at his side, monitoring the conversation. "I paid for it."

Woodruff said there was no question he would be able to stay in the game. Both line drives happened to get him in meaty spots.

He will be in a more familiar role later next week, when he joins the starting rotation on Friday against the Cubs at Miller Park. Woodruff, the Brewers' No. 3 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, and No. 97 overall, was available out of the bullpen in the opening series because the team needed only four starters for the first seven games.

"It's a different animal coming out of the bullpen," Woodruff said. "The adrenaline was running and I just left some fastballs up over the middle of the plate. I guess I have to learn how to harness that a little bit. But in a tight game, it was fun."

Wilkerson to open Minors season on DL
Aaron Wilkerson, the right-hander who started the Brewers' final game last season and was part of the rotation competition at the start of Spring Training, will begin the Minor League season on the disabled list after suffering a partial dislocation of his non-throwing shoulder while swinging a bat.

While the Brewers do not consider it a devastating injury, it is a temporary blow to the team's depth. Wilkerson, who remains on the 40-man roster and was to begin the season in Triple-A Colorado Springs' starting rotation, will be sidelined several weeks.

Video: TEX@MIL: Wilkerson gets Ohlman looking

Flu bug bites Hader
Left-hander Josh Hader was back with the team Saturday after spending Friday's game in his hotel room because of an illness. Anderson endured something similar in the days before dealing six scoreless innings against the Padres on Opening Day.

"We're traveling with a party of 60 people now. There's a good chance somebody is under the weather," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "We avoided it in the spring for the most part, but you're going to lose guys once in a while to that stuff."

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook.

Milwaukee Brewers, Brandon Woodruff

Crew gives Woodruff, Suter final rotation spots

Logan to miss six weeks due to triceps; Brewers bid farewell to half-field
MLB.com

MESA, Ariz. -- In sending 2017 Opening Day starter Junior Guerra to Triple-A Colorado Springs on Saturday, the Brewers ticketed Brent Suter and No. 3 Brewers prospect Brandon Woodruff for the final two spots in the starting rotation.

Suter will be the third Brewers starter out of the chute, starting March 31 in San Diego after Chase Anderson and Jhoulys Chacin work the first two games. Woodruff will work out of the bullpen until Friday, April 6, against the Cubs at Miller Park, when the Brewers first need a No. 5 starter.

MESA, Ariz. -- In sending 2017 Opening Day starter Junior Guerra to Triple-A Colorado Springs on Saturday, the Brewers ticketed Brent Suter and No. 3 Brewers prospect Brandon Woodruff for the final two spots in the starting rotation.

Suter will be the third Brewers starter out of the chute, starting March 31 in San Diego after Chase Anderson and Jhoulys Chacin work the first two games. Woodruff will work out of the bullpen until Friday, April 6, against the Cubs at Miller Park, when the Brewers first need a No. 5 starter.

"Brandon is a young starting pitcher who we feel needs to experience the big leagues," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "Certainly, he has room for growth, but we think he's getting better and we need to see that at the big league level. He's ready to win games for us, I think."

• Brewers' Top 30 prospects

Woodruff's Major League debut was delayed when he suffered a pregame hamstring injury on June 13 in St. Louis, but he returned in August and went 2-3 with a 4.81 ERA in eight starts amid Milwaukee's postseason push. He had a 7.11 ERA in five Cactus League games (two starts) this spring.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

The Brewers think Guerra will benefit from a more regimented schedule in the Minors, general manager David Stearns said, as opposed to the malleable schedule common for a fifth starter.

"We saw some really good signs out of Junior this spring," Stearns said. "I think all of us think that, from the velocity coming back a little bit, and the split looked good at times. He's going to be part of this mix."

• Gallardo, Guerra highlight latest Brewers cuts

Guerra, Suter and Woodruff all have Minor League options, so there is the potential for in-season movement.

Video: Guerra talks about getting optioned to Triple-A

While the Brewers' rotation was set Saturday, the bullpen was not. Since Woodruff will technically be in the bullpen on Opening Day, the Brewers appeared to have six spots locked up with Woodruff plus Corey Knebel, Josh Hader, Matt Albers, Jeremy Jeffress and Jacob Barnes, though there has been some concern about Barnes' spring struggles. Assuming Barnes is in, there are two open spots for Oliver Drake, J.J. Hoover and Taylor Williams.

A last-minute addition remains possible. Last year, the Brewers added Jared Hughes at the end of Spring Training. The year before that, it was Carlos Torres.

"This time of year, there is a ton of transactional volume," Stearns said. "It's not out of the question that there will be an external acquisition."

Video: Counsell announces team cuts ahead of Opening Day

Injury report
In light of further tests on left-hander Boone Logan's strained left triceps, the Brewers expect the veteran reliever to be sidelined about six weeks from time of injury, Stearns said.

"He believes it will be faster than that, and that's great," Stearns said.

Logan left Wednesday's game against the A's after three pitches. The six-week mark from that date would be May 2, right around the time the Brewers hope to have catcher Stephen Vogt back from his right shoulder strain.

In a much more minor matter, second baseman Eric Sogard did not play Saturday's 10-5 win over the A's because of a stiff neck.

Burial ground
Counsell and infielder Nate Orf were among those who took part in a morning ceremony behind the Minor League complex, where the Brewers bid farewell to infield coordinator Bob Miscik's favorite corner of Maryvale Baseball Park. Field 8, a half-field where Misick has been training Minor Leaguers for the past 10 years, will be covered by a parking lot as part of the renovation of the complex.

"A lot of us grew up on that infield," Orf said.

The group buried a fungo bat, Counsell said. Creatively, they repurposed the same gold-plated shovels handled by dignitaries during a ceremonial groundbreaking for the project earlier in the week. Miscik ate it up.

"He's not retiring, but his field is," Counsell cracked. "That's his office. He's probably hit millions of ground balls over there."

Up next
The Brewers play their Cactus League finale on Sunday against the White Sox in Glendale, Ariz., before jetting off to Houston for a pair of exhibitions at Minute Maid Park. Guerra was originally scheduled to pitch, but another Minor Leaguer will start the 2:05 p.m. CT game, which can be heard on an exclusive webcast on brewers.com. Eric Thames, Domingo Santana and Jonathan Villar are among the big league regulars slated to play.

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook.

Milwaukee Brewers, Boone Logan, Brent Suter, Brandon Woodruff

Brewers prospect Erceg getting back on track

Third baseman is pain-free after being slowed by back injury
MLB.com

PHOENIX -- A back injury helps explain why Brewers third baseman Lucas Erceg, a surprise star of the Cactus League a year ago, has been limited to five at-bats in big league games so far in 2018.

Erceg, ranked as the club's No. 4 prospect by MLB Pipeline, developed discomfort in his left hip and hamstring late last year in the Arizona Fall League, but an MRI was negative and Erceg chalked it up to fatigue. When pain persisted earlier this spring, he underwent another MRI of his lower back that revealed a bulging disc pressing on a nerve and causing the shooting pain down his left leg.

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PHOENIX -- A back injury helps explain why Brewers third baseman Lucas Erceg, a surprise star of the Cactus League a year ago, has been limited to five at-bats in big league games so far in 2018.

Erceg, ranked as the club's No. 4 prospect by MLB Pipeline, developed discomfort in his left hip and hamstring late last year in the Arizona Fall League, but an MRI was negative and Erceg chalked it up to fatigue. When pain persisted earlier this spring, he underwent another MRI of his lower back that revealed a bulging disc pressing on a nerve and causing the shooting pain down his left leg.

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Erceg got back on track in Minor League camp after a lidocaine injection, and he has been working with athletic trainers on a routine to navigate the regular season.

"Ever since then, I've been doing a bunch of hip mobility, core stability, all that stuff that gets me ready for each day," Erceg said. "It's been feeling a lot better. It feels good to be out there pain-free. As of right now, it feels like I'm 100 percent."

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Likely to open the season at Double-A Biloxi, Erceg has been called over to play in four Cactus League games, singling twice in his first five at-bats. He played a much more prominent role last year in his first professional Spring Training, hitting .417 with a 1.190 OPS in 24 at-bats, including a pair of home runs in one memorable game against the Indians.

His splashy spring might have had a downside, Erceg said. He entered the 2017 season at Class A Advanced Carolina envisioning a quick promotion to Double-A, and perhaps beyond.

Instead, Erceg posted a .561 OPS in April and .631 OPS in May, and wound up with a .250/.278/.404 slash line before a season-ending stint at Triple-A Colorado Springs and then the Fall League.

"For me to go out there and have that much success, then start off the season as slow as it did, it was hot water and cold ice clashing together," Erceg said. "This whole process is a learning experience, whether it's good or bad. Learning how to deal with your success and learning to deal with adversity is the biggest thing in becoming a big leaguer."

Closing day, kind of
Zach Davies scattered four hits over five scoreless innings and Brett Phillips continued to gather nuts by hitting a fourth-inning home run in the Brewers' 1-0 win over the Royals on Thursday.

Video: KC@MIL: Phillips crushes a solo homer to right-center

It was the final Major League game at this iteration of Maryvale Baseball Park. On Friday, crews begin work on a $58 million renovation of the complex.

"It's nice to be feeling healthy and feeling ready for opening week," said Davies, who has one more scheduled spring outing on Tuesday in an exhibition against the Astros at Minute Maid Park before his scheduled start on April 2 against the Cardinals in the Brewers' home opener at Miller Park.

Video: KC@MIL: Davies whiffs Butera swinging in the 5th

Davies was efficient, throwing 65 pitches to 17 batters before tossing 10 more pitches in the bullpen. While other starters for the club are backed off in their final spring starts, Davies is expected to push forward toward the 90-pitch mark on Tuesday, making up for time lost earlier in camp to a minor oblique injury.

Last call
• Major League Baseball Players Association executive director Tony Clark was in camp on Thursday morning for the team's annual union meeting, an hour-long clubhouse discussion that touched on the odd offseason coming to a close. Davies and Chase Anderson are the Brewers' player representatives this year, with Corey Knebel and Brent Suter serving as alternates.

• The Brewers have hired former big leaguer Carlos Villanueva as "special advisor of baseball operations and player development." The right-hander, who pitched parts of five seasons with the club, will assist in a variety of different areas of baseball operations.

• Right-hander Daniel Missaki, one of the then-teenage pitchers acquired in the Adam Lind trade, worked a 1-2-3 inning against a Mariners Class A team on Thursday, his second outing this spring. Missaki, who is trying to come back from two Tommy John surgeries, hasn't pitched a pro inning since 2015.

Up next
Listen to an exclusive webcast as right-hander Brandon Woodruff, who is still pushing for a spot in the rotation, starts at 3:05 p.m. CT on Friday against the Cubs at Sloan Park.

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook.

Milwaukee Brewers, Chase Anderson, Zach Davies, Corey Knebel, Daniel Missaki, Brett Phillips, Brent Suter, Brandon Woodruff

Squirrelly Phillips going nuts in search for hits

Brewers prospect is likely to start regular season with Triple-A Colorado Springs
MLB.com

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- "Just imagine me as a squirrel," said Brett Phillips, and he's going somewhere with this, so let's hear him out.

First, some context: Phillips put up an .851 OPS over the final month of the 2017 season in the thick of the Brewers' pennant chase while making a series of Statcast-worthy throws from center field, and he entered the offseason with a chance to play a prominent role for the Brewers in '18. He still could very well do that, but Phillips' path to the Opening Day roster was, shall we say, complicated by the late-January additions of Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich to an outfield that already included Ryan Braun and Domingo Santana. Phillips, it seems, is bound for Triple-A Colorado Springs.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- "Just imagine me as a squirrel," said Brett Phillips, and he's going somewhere with this, so let's hear him out.

First, some context: Phillips put up an .851 OPS over the final month of the 2017 season in the thick of the Brewers' pennant chase while making a series of Statcast-worthy throws from center field, and he entered the offseason with a chance to play a prominent role for the Brewers in '18. He still could very well do that, but Phillips' path to the Opening Day roster was, shall we say, complicated by the late-January additions of Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich to an outfield that already included Ryan Braun and Domingo Santana. Phillips, it seems, is bound for Triple-A Colorado Springs.

He has said all the right things this spring about remaining optimistic and being a good teammate, with actions to match. But before he connected for his first spring homer against the Rockies on Tuesday, Phillips was hitting .098 after his first 41 Cactus League at-bats. He finally showed the first hint of frustration when he kicked the dirt on his way back to the dugout after striking out against the Dodgers on Sunday.

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So, back to the analogy. The squirrel.

"No, listen. Pay attention to detail here," Phillips said. "Imagine me as a squirrel, and in the fall he gathers up all his nuts and stores them away. I worked hard in the fall to gather all my nuts, and here comes the spring, and next thing you know, I forgot where I hid them. My hits, my nuts. So I'm just trying to un-dig them.

"It's looking like they're probably behind the dugout in Colorado Springs, or in the clubhouse. I don't remember being there in the offseason to bury them, but I think that's where they're probably going to be at. Which is fine. I'll go get them. I'll gather my nuts and I'll be eating again.

"That's basically where I'm at."

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Yes, Phillips concedes with a smile, there is frustration.

"As a competitor, I don't want to be where I'm at," Phillips said, "but thank God it's not going on the back of my baseball card."

That sentiment did not surprise Brewers manager Craig Counsell, who said he was surprised the other day when he noticed Phillips' low batting average. By the eye test, according to Counsell, Phillips' at-bats have not been that bad.

"If I were Brett I'd be saying, 'I'm glad this happened during the spring and not during the season," Counsell said. "He's 40 plate appearances into 2018, and I'll tell you this: Everyone wants to be locked in going into the first day of the season, and then on the first day of the season, everything that happened in Spring Training becomes irrelevant to the players."

Video: Top Prospects: Brett Phillips, OF, Brewers

Does Counsell think Phillips' poor results are tied to disappointment over the team's offseason additions?

"I don't really think it is," Counsell said. "Look, was he affected by our moves this winter? Certainly, he was affected. Regardless, would he have been a lock on the team? No, he would not have been a lock on the team. There would have still been a lot of considerations."

Phillips, the Brewers' No. 6 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, vowed to keep plugging away. Then he went out and smacked an eighth-inning go-ahead two-run home run off Colorado's Jairo Diaz in his first plate appearance on Tuesday.

"That guy was throwing absolute laser beams, missiles, probably from one of the newer generation-type model spaceships," Phillips said after the final out of a 4-4 tie. "Honestly, I couldn't see it. So it was a matter of swinging as soon as he got started. Luckily, I was able to square it up. Thank God."

He called it "something to build on." Even before connecting against the hard-throwing Diaz, Phillips was looking for reasons to stay positive.

"Obviously, it's not where anyone wants to be," Phillips said, "but I've still got six months ahead of me that actually matter. I'm just using this to grow through and get ready for my season.

"Like a squirrel."

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook.

Milwaukee Brewers, Brett Phillips

After strong spring, Hiura sent to Minors camp

Veteran reliever Frieri released; Vogt to begin season on 10-day DL
MLB.com

PHOENIX -- Keston Hiura, the ninth overall pick in last year's Draft, capped his first big league camp with two more hits in Sunday's 7-3 win over the Dodgers before the Brewers returned him to Minor League camp along with right-hander Michael Brady.

Hiura slashed .433/.452/.567 in 31 Cactus League plate appearances.

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PHOENIX -- Keston Hiura, the ninth overall pick in last year's Draft, capped his first big league camp with two more hits in Sunday's 7-3 win over the Dodgers before the Brewers returned him to Minor League camp along with right-hander Michael Brady.

Hiura slashed .433/.452/.567 in 31 Cactus League plate appearances.

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"I feel good right now," Hiura said. "I've had a great time learning more about the players and the organization ... and what it takes to be a big leaguer one day."

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An advanced hitter out of UC Irvine, Hiura will most likely begin the regular season in Class A Advanced Carolina, but the Brewers plan to push him. He lasted as long as he did in big league camp in part because the Brewers had a need in the infield, said manager Craig Counsell, who conceded that Hiura's performance didn't hurt.

"He's had a really good spring," Counsell said. "The point for him was really to observe, but he also played very well -- not only hit well but played a good second base. He had a great camp, a great experience, and the trick for him right now is to go over there and realize that this is something to build on. Build on this."

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Did Hiura last longer than he expected in the big league clubhouse?

"I didn't know, really, how it worked," Hiura said. "It pretty much was, 'Come here until they tell you to go back the other way.'"

Frieri released
The Brewers on Sunday released veteran reliever Ernesto Frieri, who left a positive mark on younger pitchers in big league camp but did not perform on the mound, scuttling his bid to make the team as a non-roster invitee.

"I didn't pitch good. I'm honest to myself," Frieri said. "I'm going to call my agent, and hopefully I get a chance somewhere else. I have a family to support, so I have to do something. ... I'm going to keep trying. I won't quit baseball."

Frieri, 32 and best known for his run as the Angels' closer from 2012-14, posted a 7.94 ERA and a whopping 3.18 WHIP in eight Cactus League appearances for the Brewers. The last was on Saturday in the ninth inning of a 4-3 win over the Dodgers, when he loaded the bases on a double and a pair of walks, struck out the next batter and then was lifted from the game.

Frieri said he feels healthy. He simply was not producing.

"Like I said, I'm honest. I didn't show any signs that I was getting better," he said.

"It was just a struggle for him this spring," Counsell said. "Just in talking to him, he knows it was a struggle. He struggled throwing strikes, more than anything. That was the big issue. This is a guy who's had a lot of success, and he had a really good [Minor League] year last year that made us interested in signing him. He says he feels good, but he just wasn't throwing enough strikes."

Video: Counsell comments on Frieri getting released

Injury update
Catcher Stephen Vogt will begin the regular season on the 10-day disabled list, club officials said, ending speculation that the Brewers might attempt to release him to avoid paying his full $3.065 million salary in 2018.

Vogt is in the middle of a two-to-four-week shutdown from throwing because of a strained right shoulder. At the moment, he and starting pitcher Jimmy Nelson (shoulder) are the only two players expected to begin the season on the Major League DL.

Video: Counsell provides an update on Vogt's injury

"Frankly, we want him here," general manager David Stearns said. "Stephen brings a lot to this team. Part of it is what he does on the field, and part of it is what he does in the clubhouse and the type of presence he has become here."

Last call
• The Brewers have signed former closer Jim Henderson to a Minor League contract with a "player/coach" role in mind. The idea is for Henderson, who pitched parts of three years in Milwaukee -- including a 28-save season in 2013 -- to mentor pitching prospects and perhaps add some scouting to his duties down the road.

"He can be an asset as a coach, help the kids around the complex," Brewers farm director Tom Flanagan said. "He's a sharp guy. How better to relate to a player than with his background?"

• The Brewers are nearing decision time on non-roster invitee Wade Miley, the left-handed rotation candidate who has an "out" in his contract on Thursday. If the Brewers do not inform Miley by that day he's made the team, he can ask for his release. The team would then have 48 hours to either grant that release, or change course and add him to the roster.

Brandon Woodruff got his work in a Minor League game on Sunday, but don't read anything into that, said Counsell, as he has not eliminated Woodruff from the race for the big league rotation.

Up next
After their final Spring Training off-day on Monday, the Brewers begin the home stretch on Tuesday in Scottsdale, Ariz., against the Rockies. Rotation hopeful Junior Guerra is scheduled to start the 3:10 p.m. CT game, which will air on an exclusive MLB.com audio webcast.

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook.

Milwaukee Brewers, Ernesto Frieri, Keston Hiura

Kirby takes step forward with no pain in arm

Brewers' 2015 first-round pick has missed last two Minor League seasons
MLB.com

PHOENIX -- Last March, MLB.com took note when Brewers pitching prospect Nathan Kirby made an exhibition start against the Korea Baseball Organization's LG Twins. Kirby, the 40th overall pick in the 2015 Draft, was coming off Tommy John surgery then, hopeful of a healthy year ahead and eager to face hitters wearing a different uniform for the first time in a year and a half.

At 24 years old and coming off a second straight lost season, Kirby did it all over again. This time, a Class A Advanced game against Rockies Minor Leaguers on a back field in Scottsdale, Ariz., on Saturday marked another unofficial stop on Kirby's long road toward health.

PHOENIX -- Last March, MLB.com took note when Brewers pitching prospect Nathan Kirby made an exhibition start against the Korea Baseball Organization's LG Twins. Kirby, the 40th overall pick in the 2015 Draft, was coming off Tommy John surgery then, hopeful of a healthy year ahead and eager to face hitters wearing a different uniform for the first time in a year and a half.

At 24 years old and coming off a second straight lost season, Kirby did it all over again. This time, a Class A Advanced game against Rockies Minor Leaguers on a back field in Scottsdale, Ariz., on Saturday marked another unofficial stop on Kirby's long road toward health.

"I was telling one of the guys, it feels more weird feeling healthy than it did feeling sore all the time," Kirby said.

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One must look back to understand the meaning of Kirby's trip to the mound on Saturday, when he threw 41 pitches over three pleasantly uneventful innings, all the way back to 2015 and his days pitching for the University of Virginia in the College World Series. Kirby came back from a lat injury just in time to pitch the Cavaliers to a national championship, handling the final two innings of the clincher himself.

It was the highlight of his pitching life, but it came at a price. The Brewers renegotiated Kirby's signing bonus over health concerns, delaying Kirby's assignment to Class A Wisconsin. Five professional appearances later, he was shut down and sent for surgery. And after working all the way back to the start of 2017 Spring Training, Kirby developed more discomfort in that elbow and required another surgery, this time to remove a nerve.

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"The past two and a half, three years, I've been down," Kirby said. "But I feel like a lot of our paths in life, and especially in the Minor Leagues, are not straight."

Kirby feels like "the table has been completely flipped" from the past three frustrating seasons. There have been times this spring, he said, that he has had to take a step off the mound and tell himself to slow down.

"I get excited to wake up the next day and be able to straighten my arm with no pain," Kirby said.

Fellow pitching prospect Taylor Williams understands. He had Tommy John surgery three weeks before Kirby, and the two shared an apartment in neighboring Avondale, Ariz., while rehabbing together at Maryvale Baseball Park in 2016.

Those were long days.

"We spent a lot of our summer nights up in the press box here, doing the scoreboard and the music for Rookie League games," Williams said. "That was the rule if you didn't have any Double-A time. You had to come to home games."

Usually, Kirby ran the scoreboard and Williams handled disabled-list duty.

"You don't get a ton of fans, so it's more so to please the guys," Williams said.

Said Kirby: "I think we helped each other in a lot of ways. It was awesome to have someone to complain on the days we needed to complain and have someone understand what you're going through."

Kirby said Williams taught him how to listen to his body, when to push in the weight room and when to back off. Williams said he fed off Kirby's positive energy on the occasional bad day.

"I'm excited for him to get back out there," said Williams, who rose all the way to the Major Leagues last September. "A weight might sit on him that he's only thrown 12 innings and he was a supplemental first-rounder. But the talent that he has is unbelievable. I played catch with him almost every day throughout that process, and this kid's got life on his fastball, a nasty curveball, a nasty slider and a good changeup. And his makeup is what makes him most special. He's mentally tough. It's unfortunate how things have gone, but I think the future is bright for him."

Kirby has to fight the urge to make up for lost time.

"My biggest thing right now is not worrying about what happened yesterday or what could happen tomorrow," he said, "and focus on what's happening today."

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook.

Milwaukee Brewers

Prospect Ray healthy, looking for results

After tough 2017 season, outfielder feels improved entering '18
MLB.com

PHOENIX -- Corey Ray is healthy at the start of Spring Training. That marks significant improvement over last year for the former Brewers first-round Draft pick, who was still recovering from knee surgery at this time a year ago and did not feel completely healthy until June.

"Last year, I was swinging at this time, but the knee was still bothering me," Ray said. "Trying to catch up, taking those swings with my knee bothering me, created bad habits that ended up carrying over to the season.

PHOENIX -- Corey Ray is healthy at the start of Spring Training. That marks significant improvement over last year for the former Brewers first-round Draft pick, who was still recovering from knee surgery at this time a year ago and did not feel completely healthy until June.

"Last year, I was swinging at this time, but the knee was still bothering me," Ray said. "Trying to catch up, taking those swings with my knee bothering me, created bad habits that ended up carrying over to the season.

"Now, I'm able to take the right reps. Perfect practice makes perfect performance -- or better performance. Now that I'm getting the reps and doing it the right way, I feel much more efficient and much better."

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Ray, the No. 5 overall pick in the 2016 Draft out of the University of Louisville, underwent surgery that fall for a torn meniscus in his left knee, but he entered '17 at No. 30 on MLB Pipeline's Top 100 Prospects list. He was briefly ranked as the Brewers' top prospect after the team traded Lewis Brinson to the Marlins in January.

But Ray slipped to No. 7 on Milwaukee's prospects list and fell out of the overall Top 100 when the rankings were redone for 2018. The update reflected a second straight disappointing season for Ray, who has a .238/.310/.368 slash line through his first 773 professional plate appearances. At Class A Advanced Carolina in '17, while still regaining strength and confidence in his surgically repaired knee, Ray struck out 156 times and had a .679 OPS in 503 plate appearances.

Video: Top Prospects: Corey Ray, OF, Brewers

But a late-season adjustment at the plate produced positive results in the Arizona Fall League, where Ray produced an .893 OPS over his final 42 at-bats.

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"He was a model rehabber down here. Our medical staff couldn't say enough positives about him, and I think that kind of carried forward to the way he does his work," Brewers farm director Tom Flanagan said. "He's not going to get beat in terms of putting in the effort.

"Maybe he did too much last year heading into the season, where this year, he appears to be in a really good place swinging the bat. I think he is comfortable with his swing. We're excited to get a look at him in games."

That opportunity comes soon. Minor League Spring Training games begin Friday.

Ray said he is "starting to speed up with the game." He made an appearance in a Cactus League game on Monday against the Dodgers, but he has not been among the regulars called over from Minor League camp, because Milwaukee, stocked with outfielders, doesn't have much opportunity to offer this camp.

Ray is in the mix to begin the regular season at Double-A Biloxi. He is a natural center fielder, but he will play all over, part of the Brewers' effort to prepare as many of their Minor League outfielders as possible to play wherever the big league club has a need.

Asked about his goals for the coming season, Ray said, "to, wherever I go, be the best player on the field. Be the most consistent player that I can possibly be. Get in a routine, and stick to that routine every single day. Wherever the chips fall is where they fall."

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook.

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