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Arcia available off the bench, Yelich gets rest

@AdamMcCalvy
July 7, 2019

PITTSBURGH -- The Brewers were breathing a collective sigh of relief Sunday about shortstop Orlando Arcia, who emerged mostly unscathed from a scary collision with second baseman Keston Hiura in the eighth inning of Saturday’s loss to the Pirates at PNC Park. Arcia wasn’t in the starting lineup for the

PITTSBURGH -- The Brewers were breathing a collective sigh of relief Sunday about shortstop Orlando Arcia, who emerged mostly unscathed from a scary collision with second baseman Keston Hiura in the eighth inning of Saturday’s loss to the Pirates at PNC Park.

Arcia wasn’t in the starting lineup for the first half finale but he was available off the bench and pinch-hit in the fifth inning of Sunday's 6-5 loss, a best-case scenario for the club.

“It was more the shock of it,” Arcia said via translator Carlos Brizuela.

The Brewers promoted infield prospect Mauricio Dubon from Triple-A San Antonio for Sunday’s game against the Pirates to insure themselves against worse news on Arcia. Dubon is the Brewers’ No. 5 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline, but with Arcia expected back to his regular duties at short immediately following the All-Star break, Dubon’s first stint in Major League Baseball will likely be short.

“The news just kind of got better the farther away we got from being on the field, really,” Counsell said. “He improved very rapidly. By the time we left, the medical staff was pretty confident that he was going to be OK. We just wanted to check on him this morning, and he reported this morning doing really well. So, we’re in good shape. He’s going to be OK. It’s not going to be an injured list placement …

“It’s a good thing. It was a scary collision. It ended up looking worse than the guys came out of it, so we’re fortunate there.”

To make room for Dubon, the Brewers optioned right-hander Burch Smith back to San Antonio. He was on the mound when Arcia and Hiura collided, and wound up being charged with five runs on six hits in two innings.

Yelich reaches “red line”

Under normal circumstances, right fielder Christian Yelich would have started Sunday’s first-half finale despite his All-Star Game participation this week because it was an important game against a National League Central rival in MLB’s tightest division. But the Brewers determined that Yelich required a break, Counsell said.

“Just looking at him, I felt like we were at the red line with him, so to speak, and that a day here, he needs it,” Counsell said. “It’s important that we don’t get past that red line. So that’s where we’re at.”

Asked whether Yelich attempted to negotiate that decision, Counsell said, “I mean, I think it’s just the right decision.”

Yelich has missed a handful of games this season with back tightness, and it was announced Sunday he would no longer be participating in the T-Mobile Home Run Derby on Monday night as planned. Yelich was the top seed in the Derby bracket, and was replaced by A's third baseman Matt Chapman.

Hader managing back tightness

Josh Hader's decision to attend the All-Star Game but not participate was mostly precautionary, said Counsell, who described the “back issues” that have bothered Hader between outings recently. Brewers starter Brandon Woodruff was named to fill Hader’s roster spot on Saturday.

“[Hader] has been having some back issues for most of this week, maybe a little longer. He’s been fine pitching, but it’s there,” Counsell said. “It’s really a, ‘Once I get loose, I’m good.’ So that’s where he’s been. I thought he threw the ball really well [Friday against the Pirates]. I thought his arm looked really fresh the other night.

“But Josh, in kind of looking where he’s at, we all think the break is going to help him with this, so this doesn’t become an issue with him when he’s in the game. That’s why the decision was made.”

Woodruff to get breather out of the break

Hader’s disappointment about sitting out the All-Star Game was tempered by the fact that a teammate, Woodruff, got his spot. The Brewers already planned to give the 26-year-old Woodruff a bit of extra rest by holding him until the team’s second series of the second half against the Braves, so the prospect of pitching an inning for the NL in Cleveland on Tuesday did not impact Counsell’s plan for the second half rotation.

“Woody earned this, for sure,” Counsell said. “Look, he took [his success in] September and October last year and came here this year and really improved on it, is what I see. Starting and covering the number of innings that he’s covered. We’re really proud of him, and he’s handled it in such a great way. Taken such a big step forward, even in-season. We’ve talked so much about how he’s improved in-season. He’s getting better, is what you feel like. To watch that evolve in front of your own eyes is when you appreciate it.”

Counsell wasn’t ready to name his starters for the first series out of the break against the Giants, but did confirm that right-hander Adrian Houser, who is winless in his first five starts this season, would remain in the rotation.

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