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Crew's trio honors Skaggs for Players' Weekend

@AdamMcCalvy
August 23, 2019

MILWAUKEE -- The idea, Ryan Braun said, came from a text chain of friends and offseason workout partners of Tyler Skaggs, the Angels pitcher who died suddenly in early July. How could they honor their friend? Players’ Weekend offered one way. So it was that three Brewers players -- Braun,

MILWAUKEE -- The idea, Ryan Braun said, came from a text chain of friends and offseason workout partners of Tyler Skaggs, the Angels pitcher who died suddenly in early July. How could they honor their friend? Players’ Weekend offered one way.

So it was that three Brewers players -- Braun, Mike Moustakas and Christian Yelich -- took the field for Friday's game against the D-backs wearing “LOVE YOU TY” across their shoulders. They were among nine Major Leaguers who paid tribute to Skaggs, along with Nationals starter Patrick Corbin, White Sox starter Lucas Giolito, Cardinals starter Jack Flaherty, Braves starter Max Fried, and Rangers reliever Jesse Chavez and first baseman Scott Heineman.

“When Ryan asked if we wanted to do it, I said, ‘Of course,’” said Yelich, who got to know Skaggs through Braun. “I knew him a little bit, not as well as Ryan did. It’s a great tribute. … Any time you lose a friend, it’s tough. People deal with it in different ways, and any time it hits you, it’s tough.”

Braun said he communicated with Skaggs’ widow, Carli, on Friday before donning the jersey for the Brewers’ series opener against the D-backs at Miller Park.

“She’s really appreciative of it. It means the world to her,” said Braun, who missed a game in July to travel to Southern California for Skaggs’ funeral. “It’s cool for the three of us to be able to do it. … It’s a way for us to honor him, to let his family and friends know we’re thinking of him always.

“For all of us, it’s something that’s very meaningful. And emotional, just to have a chance to represent him.”

Said Moustakas: “He was such a great person, such a great friend. It was a huge loss for the baseball community, and obviously his family and friends. Any way we can keep him alive in our hearts and thoughts, that’s what we’re going to do.”

Progress for Woodruff

Brandon Woodruff was scheduled to throw from 120 feet on Friday afternoon, a milestone in that it is the final distance of flat-ground throwing prior to a pitcher getting back on a mound. Woodruff is itching to do so as he continues a comeback from a left oblique injury.

He will have to navigate several throwing sessions from that distance before he’s cleared to get on a mound, but it’s progress.

“It’s been going pretty good,” Woodruff said. “There’s been a few days where you have your ups and downs. Some days when you start incorporating new exercises, you might be a little sore. But it’s been progressing pretty good. … From what I hear from the trainers, I’m on a good schedule. Everything is going how it should be.”

Sunday marks five weeks since Woodruff was injured in a start against the D-backs, interrupting a breakthrough season that took him to the All-Star Game.

“We’re getting to a spot where we hope a lot of healing has taken place and we can start to push it,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said.

Another injured starter, Jhoulys Chacin, said he expects to throw two simulated innings totaling 45-50 pitches on Saturday. He is on the injured list with a right lat strain.

Nelson performing

Jimmy Nelson is “absolutely” a candidate for a September callup, Counsell said on Friday, a day after Nelson struck out five batters without allowing a walk or a hit in three innings for Triple-A San Antonio. Nelson, who struggled for the Brewers after returning from a long rehab following shoulder surgery, has been unscored upon in five of his last six appearances.

Counsell reported that Nelson has sitting comfortably at 94 mph with his fastball.

“He’s been pitching well,” Counsell said. “This has been a long road, and it has been a frustrating road for Jimmy. But at the same time, if we can still remain patient -- and that sounds hard to do, but you’re getting farther away from an injury. You are getting used to pitching with just a different shoulder. There’s no exact timetable for this one. This is very unique and serious injury and the farther he gets from it, along with pitching and gaining some experience with this new shoulder, the better he’s getting. That’s a credit to him.

“The velocities have been really solid and steady and consistent which is a sign of health. A lot of good things are happening. It’s a smaller sample, but the fact that it is going in the right direction is a really good sign.”

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