Notes: Piña off IL; Urías staying 'aggressive'

May 8th, 2021

It’s been a rough week for the Brewers in the win-loss column, but things are improving on the health front.

Milwaukee got catcher back from a left big toe fracture for Saturday’s game in Miami, with left-hander Brett Anderson due to return from a right hamstring injury for Sunday’s series finale against the Marlins. And staff ace Corbin Burnes, whose last start was April 26, should be ready to return from his unspecified issue at some point next week, manager Craig Counsell said.

Piña was in the lineup Saturday after missing 11 days, while Anderson’s start will be his first since April 23.

“That’s a good sign,” Counsell said. “We’re happy to have those guys back.”

Left-hander Brent Suter was placed on the bereavement list as the corresponding move for Piña’s return.

Counsell did not give specifics on which game Burnes, who has a 1.53 ERA and 49 strikeouts against no walks, will start on the upcoming homestand against the Cardinals and Braves. Counsell only confirmed that Burnes will throw a bullpen session Monday. Burnes is two strikeouts shy of the all-time record for most strikeouts without a walk in a season.

The timetable is also not yet certain for when regular catcher Omar Narváez, who is progressing with his running in his rehab from a left hamstring strain, will come off the IL. So Piña, who entered Saturday with a .681 OPS in 29 plate appearances, will have a more pronounced role in the catching duties in the interim.

Piña said he fractured the toe on April 26 when Marlins batters hit foul tips that struck him in the foot in both the third and sixth innings.

“It was very sore, very painful,” Piña said. “Two foul balls in the same spot in the same game.”

The Brewers had lost six straight going into Saturday’s game, so an improving roster outlook -- particularly with star outfielder Christian Yelich back on the IL with back issues -- was especially welcomed.

Urías succeeding with less selectivity
A bright spot amid the Brewers’ recent offensive struggles has been shortstop , who entered Saturday with a .333/.357/.487 slash in his previous 13 games. Interestingly, he walked just once in that span.

In his first 17 games of the season, Urías had gone just 7-for-47, but with 13 walks.

“I was walking too much,” Urías said, “because probably I wasn’t feeling really good swinging my bat at the beginning of the year. I was trying to see more pitches. Right now, I feel pretty good with my swing, and I’m always trying to stay aggressive to make damage. If I walk, that’s fine. But I’m always trying to stay aggressive.”

Urías said landing the everyday opportunities at shortstop has helped him improve offensively.

“It’s really helped,” he said. “I fee like it slowed everything down.”

Worth noting
• Infielder Daniel Robertson, who has been on the concussion injured list since April 27, has improved but still has not been cleared for full activity.

“There’s going to be a process,” Counsell said. “We’re making progress there but have a ways to go because he was completely shut down for 10 days.”

• Jackie Bradley Jr. entered Saturday with the 13th-lowest OPS (.574) of any qualified hitter in MLB. Counsell expressed confidence that the struggling outfielder, who has a career .610 OPS in March/April and .761 OPS in May, will turn things around at the plate.

“Jackie’s been a slow starter,” Counsell said. “It’s actually optimistic because he does get going as the season gets going. He’s pretty consistent with that.”

• Counsell also said perspective is important during a losing skid like the Brewers have endured this week.

“There’s storms in every baseball season,” he said. “Sometimes when they happen, we forget that they happen. We have to weather them. It’s about just staying the course, not losing focus on what makes us good, not changing things haphazardly. And I think experience helps you with that. That should lead us through, and it’s one of the things that will lead us through.”