Thames' groin strain adds to Crew's injury list
NEW YORK -- "So annoying," is how Eric Thames described the Brewers' spate of minor injuries. After Thames left Sunday's 3-2 walk-off loss to the Mets with a mild left groin strain, manager Craig Counsell said reinforcements may be required.
Thames' exit in the third inning came at the same time Lorenzo Cain has been playing at slightly less than 100 percent on a sore quadriceps, while Ryan Braun was limited to pinch-hit duty because of a stiff back. Manny Pina also remained sidelined by a sore calf and Christian Yelich is still on the disabled with a right oblique injury.
Thames, Braun, Pina and Yelich should return to the lineup at some point during a seven-game homestand that begins on Monday night against the Reds. The question is how long the Brewers can continue playing banged-up.
"The challenging part is that we're in a lot of day-to-day injuries, even with the guys close to coming back," Counsell said. "These are not definite injuries. They are day-to-day injuries. That in itself is a little challenging. We may have to make some more permanent decisions here, pending the status of a couple of these guys."
Thames struck out looking against Noah Syndergaard in the first inning and went down swinging to end the top of the third before exiting the game. Jesus Aguilar took over.
"It's been sore for a little bit, but that first at-bat kind of aggravated it," Thames said. "Cold weather, that kind of stuff. Tomorrow, we'll do some [treatment]. The trainers did a great job of getting me heated up, so tomorrow we'll come back and see how it feels."
The Brewers' other first-base option, Braun, was already sidelined by a stiff back. Braun left Saturday's game in the middle of the fifth inning. His pinch-hit flyout ended the eighth inning on Sunday.
"He's a little stiff today, but it's something that he's dealt with off and on, so we'll assess it [Monday]," Counsell said.
The Brewers' depth continues to come in handy. They surprised some by deciding to carry Braun, Thames and out-of-options Aguilar on the Opening Day roster, with Braun expected to split time between first base and a crowded outfield that included Cain, Domingo Santana and Yelich. Two-plus weeks into the season, Yelich is on the DL and Braun, Cain and Thames have all had to exit games because of minor injuries. Santana had a scare on Friday when he banged thighs with Cain as they converged on a fly ball, but Santana did not miss any playing time.
Pina, the club's primary catcher, was available off the bench but unable to start for the fourth straight game on Sunday.
At some point, would the Brewers have to consider a DL stint for Pina?
"I don't think we're thinking about DL at all, actually," Counsell said. "I'm considering whether he can start [Monday]. That's the question I'm asking, not DL."
When Aguilar was called into action on Sunday, infielder Eric Sogard was the only healthy player left on the club's bench.