Vogt set for surgery; Braun, Thames updates
Veteran catcher expected to miss rest of season
PHOENIX -- A visit with renowned orthopedist Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles on Tuesday confirmed Brewers catcher Stephen Vogt's worst fears. He will undergo season-ending surgery this week to repair multiple structures in his right shoulder.
Vogt was clear-eyed about the likelihood he would need surgery, and what such a procedure would mean for the rest of his career. He is 33, and has already endured one major shoulder surgery in 2009 while playing in the Tampa Bay Rays system.
"Obviously, there's big implications here with a second shoulder injury like this that I don't like to think about, but I am thinking about," he said in a teary conversation with reporters during the Brewers' last homestand.
At the time, Vogt had just reinjured his throwing shoulder during a rehab assignment at Double-A Biloxi. Vogt was feeling strong before that setback.
At some point following surgery, the Brewers hope Vogt rejoins the team for the rest of the season, general manager David Stearns said.
Braun sidelined by back
Ryan Braun took batting practice Tuesday evening but missed a second straight start against the D-backs with tightness on the right side of his back. He's not out of the woods yet for a possible DL stint.
"We're in kind of a day-to-day mode," manager Craig Counsell said.
Braun has been in that mode more often than he would like this season. In addition to occasional discomfort in his surgically repaired back, he has missed games with a right calf injury. Counsell said the current back ailment, which presented itself while Braun was going 0-for-5 Sunday at Coors Field in the second four-strikeout game of his career, is a new issue.
While the focus was on Freddy Peralta's memorable Major League debut, Braun exited that game after striking out to end the eighth inning. He was 1-for-15 in the Colorado series and is slashing .222/.268/.413 after 138 plate appearances, career lows across the board, though Braun has delivered some critical hits including a pair of decisive last-inning home runs.
At 34, are his injuries attributable to age?
"It's hard to say. Is it age? Age is undefeated, we know that," Counsell said. "But I think he's at an age where he can still have some very productive seasons."
Thames making progress
Two and a half weeks removed from a left thumb surgery that was expected to sideline him six to eight weeks, first baseman Eric Thames said he was awaiting clearance from team doctors to resume hitting.
Once he takes that step, Thames said, he will have a better idea of a target date to return to active duty. He has been rehabbing amid construction at Maryvale Baseball Park in Phoenix, where the Brewers maintain a year-round operation.
"I'm working out, my legs are healthy, my core is strong," Thames said. "I'm playing the waiting game. The worst part of getting hurt is being patient and letting your body heal."