Hoskins (strained right hamstring) headed to IL

Bauers' grand slam proves he could provide power should star 1B miss time

May 15th, 2024

MILWAUKEE -- Rhys Hoskins left the Brewers' 8-6 loss to the Pirates Monday with a member of Milwaukee’s athletic training staff by his side, the first setback for the Milwaukee slugger after a promising return to action this season.

Hoskins tweaked his right hamstring and underwent an MRI scan on Tuesday. He was then placed on the 10-day IL with a strained right hamstring, which appeared a likely possibility given the tricky nature of hamstrings and that the 31-year-old missed all of last season following surgery for a torn ACL in the other knee. Owen Miller was recalled from Triple-A Nashville in a corresponding move.

Manager Pat Murphy said Tuesday the Brewers don't think the strain is "terribly bad," but they expect Hoskins to miss two to four weeks.

“It’s pretty typical to have things pop up post a pretty big surgery like that,” Hoskins said Monday. “We’ll just have to see where we’re at.”

Even without Hoskins, the Brewers did manage to power their way back into striking distance against Pittsburgh after trailing 5-0 in the seventh inning and 7-2 in the eighth. Jake Bauers hit a grand slam in the eighth as the Brewers briefly cut the deficit to one run, and then pushed the tying runner as far as third base.

But Christian Yelich struck out to end that threat, and the comeback bid came up short.

“Gotta love our team,” Murphy said. “The way we battled, that’s a sign. We did a lot of things not so good, but we had an opportunity to win the game.”

What is his level of concern about Hoskins?

“That’s a big blow,” Murphy said. “We lose one of our leaders. We just got [Yelich] back. … Usually hamstrings are not better in a few days.”

Hoskins missed all of 2023 in his final season with the Phillies while recovering from surgery for a torn ACL in his left knee. So far this season, he has been everything the Brewers had hoped after they signed him as a free agent, with Monday’s second-inning single pushing Hoskins’ OPS to .814 through 133 healthy at-bats. His nine home runs lead the team.

But when he reached first base after singling off Pirates starter Mitch Keller on Monday night, Hoskins took his time removing the various pads and guards he wears to home plate. Moments later, he was doubled over while a member of the medical training staff joined him for an on-field check.

“I felt a little grab in the hamstring and I’ve learned over the years not to push soft tissue stuff like that,” Hoskins said. “We’ll get some imaging and see where it’s at.”

After a quick discussion, Hoskins left the game.

Throughout his productive start, the Brewers have been mindful that Hoskins was coming off a major surgery.

“We’ve got to be mindful of getting Rhys days [off] here and there,” Murphy said after one of those off-days in Kansas City last week. “He’s been off for a year, a major injury to his leg. And he doesn’t [like] to come out of the game, ever. He wants to play 162. That’s not practical for a guy coming off that type of surgery. He’s doing great and I love the guy. He’s one of our pillars.”

Should Hoskins miss time, the Brewers would look for power elsewhere. One potential source is Bauers, acquired in an offseason trade with the Yankees for his power potential and ability to man first base.

Lately, Bauers has tinkered with a toe tap to boost an OPS that dipped as low as .508 on April 24 but has been moving up. His home run on Monday was his second in four games.

It wasn’t his only loud contact; with two outs and two runners in scoring position against Keller in the second inning, Bauers lined out to right field. With two on and two outs in the sixth, he lined out to right field again.

“I think there was a lot of hard contact for our lineup tonight that seemed to find guys standing right where they were,” Bauers said. “Sometimes that happens. That’s the game of baseball.”

But he’s pleased with his progress at the plate.

And it’s being noticed by teammates.

“I think we’ve been kind of seeing that over the last week or so,” Hoskins said. “He made a little adjustment with his swing that I think he’s starting to feel some confidence in and is starting to feel real comfortable. I’m not surprised he came up there with a big hit in a moment we needed it.”