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Perez aspires to be a manager: 'I love the game'

Chacin to return Monday; Counsell open to more of Grandal at first base
@AdamMcCalvy
June 16, 2019

SAN FRANCISCO -- It was A’s manager Bob Melvin who “pulled back the curtain” on the intricacies of coaching for Craig Counsell when the two were together in Arizona, and now Brewers utility man Hernán Pérez is hoping Counsell does the same for him. Perez already knows he wants to

SAN FRANCISCO -- It was A’s manager Bob Melvin who “pulled back the curtain” on the intricacies of coaching for Craig Counsell when the two were together in Arizona, and now Brewers utility man Hernán Pérez is hoping Counsell does the same for him.

Perez already knows he wants to manage in the Major Leagues someday, and you’ll often find him perched next to bench coach Pat Murphy or base coaches Carlos Subero and Ed Sedar during games. All managed extensively in the Minor Leagues, and Murphy in the Majors with the Padres.

On Friday, Perez asked to sit in on the staff meeting that precedes each series.

Counsell playfully shooed him away and said not yet.

“I don’t like to get to close to Counsell [during games] because it’s hard for him to be thinking about situations while answering my questions,” Perez said. “If I’m going to ask him something, I wait until the game is over or the next game. But I ask everybody. Everybody thinks different, and I like to know what they think. Sometimes I ask the same question to everybody to get their responses. Sometimes you get different answers, sometimes everybody is on the same page. If you’re going to be a manager, you have to be open to listening to everybody.”

What about the job interests him?

“I love the game. That’s all,” Perez said. “I love to be here. I love what I do. I hear a lot of people say, ‘After I’m done playing baseball, I don’t want to be at the field.’ I don’t know if I love this too much, but I want to be a manager.”

Perez’s instincts for the game were on particular display on Friday night, when he covered a big swath of ground to get to first base and danced across the bag for a critical double play in a loss to the Giants.

“He is a player that’s thinking about what’s next all the time. A lot of times, that’s what instincts [are],” Counsell said. “It’s a player that can picture what’s next or what could happen and react really quickly. If you’re playing multiple positions, there’s two things you have to do. … He’s going to be a coach someday, there’s no question. It’s part of how he thinks about the game, like a coach does.”

Chacin to rejoin rotation
The Brewers plan to be somewhat flexible with their starting rotation in the run-up to the All-Star break, but the upcoming week is set. Jhoulys Chacin will come off the 10-day injured list to start Monday against his former team in San Diego, followed by Brandon Woodruff and Zach Davies in that series. Jimmy Nelson’s next start will be Thursday at home against the Reds.

Chacin’s start will be his first since May 31 at Pittsburgh, where he allowed seven earned runs in 2 2/3 innings and saw his ERA rise to 5.74. He was shelved with lower back stiffness two days later.

“I’ve been trying to get better and working on stuff, and finally [Monday] I’m going to have the chance to get back and start a game,” he said. “It is a little bit tougher after a bad start, and then the injury and have to wait two weeks. You want another chance to make all the adjustments and pitch good. But sometimes things happen and the only thing you can do is try to reset your mind, see what things you did well and try to go from there."

Chacin was able to resume throwing soon after hitting the IL, and he spent the time seeing mechanical fixes for his season-long funk, particularly with his usually deceptive slider. Like slumping third baseman Travis Shaw, he hopes the time off functions as a reset.

“Whatever happened in the season so far, put it behind me and just try to look at it as a new season starting tomorrow,” Chacin said.

Grandal fits at first
The Brewers are in a stretch of the schedule flush with left-handed opposing pitchers, including at least two of the three upcoming games at San Diego. That would usually mean starts for Jesus Aguilar at first base, but with Aguilar so unproductive this season (.196/.301/.304 entering Sunday), there’s a chance that switch-hitting catcher Yasmani Grandal will get more calls at the position.

That’s how Counsell aligned his position players Saturday against southpaw Madison Bumgarner, with Grandal at first and Manny Pina behind the plate. Pina hit a home run and missed another by about five feet.

Asked whether he might set the lineup that way in San Diego, Counsell said, “I think that’s a possibility, for sure. I think ‘Yaz’ has done a nice job at first base when we’ve put him out there. No concerns about putting him out there. He’s done everything fine. The way he’s conducting at-bats, you want him in there every day, and we’re going to try to keep his bat in the lineup, for sure.”

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