Why Moustakas turned down the HR Derby

July 14th, 2019

MILWAUKEE -- It was one week ago that Christian Yelich withdrew from the T-Mobile Home Run Derby and was replaced by Matt Chapman of the Oakland A’s. At the time, a common question was “What about Yelich’s own teammate, ?”

The answer is that Moustakas was asked, but opted to pass.

Moustakas said he received a text from the Major League Baseball Players Association that morning asking if he’d like to take Yelich’s spot. Moustakas was a natural choice with 25 home runs before the break, but after participating in the event in 2017 in Miami -- he was edged by the Twins’ Miguel Sano in the first round, 11-10 -- Moustakas decided to decline, even with $1 million up for grabs if he won.

“I just wanted to go and enjoy my time,” said Moustakas. “I got to sit there and watch the Home Run Derby with my daughter. I did it in Miami and I felt like one was good for me. It was fun, but it was a lot going on. Everybody in the clubhouse wanted me to do it. It would have been fun, but I didn’t really feel like doing it.”

Maybe it was a good call. Chapman took Yelich’s spot in the bracket and watched his opponent, Blue Jays rookie Vladimir Guerrero Jr., smash a single-round record 29 homers in the opening round.

“It was an unbelievable show,” Moustakas said. “For me, it was cool to just watch.”

Gonzalez to begin rehab assignment

Left-hander will make the second start of a Minor League rehabilitation assignment on Monday night for Triple-A San Antonio, at home against Nashville. He’s expected to throw as many as 70 pitches as he continues a comeback from left shoulder inflammation.

Are more starts scheduled after that?

“Not necessarily,” said Brewers manager Craig Counsell. “I think if we can get him up to a pretty good number, then we should be in a pretty good place.”

The Brewers plan to restore Gonzalez to the starting rotation when he’s ready, so his return could help fortify the bullpen. His start lines up with Adrian Houser’s scheduled start against the Braves on Monday at Miller Park; Houser posted a 1.04 ERA in 14 relief appearances but was 0-3 with an 8.47 ERA as a Major League starter in the first half.

Aguilar surging

has multiple hits in each of his last three starts, continuing a surge that has lifted his OPS to a respectable .732 entering Sunday after a 27-game stretch from June 7 through Saturday in which he hit .380 (19-for-50) to raise his season average by 49 points.

“He has definitely looked like the Aggie of old. Using the whole field, impacting the baseball the way we know he can,” said hitting coach Andy Haines. “He is the prototype for how to handle struggles. He was a great teammate, he had the same energy, which is easier said than done. And he’s being rewarded for that now. The blessing for him, and the message, is, ‘Be thankful that there is a lot of season left.’”

Asked whether Aguilar made specific adjustments, or whether it was just a matter of time, Haines said, “I would say a little of both. Aggie is not a mechanical guy. He is a feel and rhythm-type hitter. That’s who he is. For him, it’s been this perfect storm of we needed production out of first base, [Eric] Thames was giving it to us, so [Aguilar] has kind of had to grind through this with sporadic opportunities. For a rhythm and feel guy, that’s a real meat grinder for him offensively, and he’s handled it as well as anybody can handle it. We’re proud of him.”

Injury notes

The Brewers placed two high-profile prospects at their complex in the Dominican Republic on the 60-day disabled list last week, ending their seasons. Shortstop Eduardo Garcia, No. 19 on MLB Pipeline’s list of Milwaukee’s top prospects, fractured his right ankle on a slide at second base in a game and underwent surgery on July 2 in Milwaukee with Dr. William Raasch, the Brewers’ head physician. Garcia, who signed with the Brewers for $1.1 million on his 16th birthday last July, just turned 17 last week and is rehabbing in Phoenix. He is expected to be ready to go for Spring Training 2020, Brewers farm director Tom Flanagan said.

Another shortstop, Carlos Roa, who signed for $300,000 last July, dislocated his left (non-throwing) shoulder on a swing. He is still being evaluated for the best course of action, but will miss the remainder of the Dominican Summer League season.