The good news? Anderson met with Dr. William Raasch and he is doing well, according to Brewers manager Craig Counsell. Anderson will only be out in the range of 10 days to two weeks, putting him in position to return from his right knee contusion before the All-Star break.
The bad news? Vogelbach’s “significant” hamstring strain is going to keep him out of action for six weeks.
“I think after he did it, we knew it was significant,” Counsell said Friday. “I don’t really get into expectations [of how much time Vogelbach will miss]. We knew it was significant. We knew it wasn’t a minor thing. I mean, Dan could barely walk off the field. It’s not a minor injury.”
Vogelbach was in good spirits at American Family Field before Friday’s series opener against the Rockies, but he was also clearly frustrated at being put on the injured list for the first time in his Major League career.
“This is only my second time ever on the IL, including the Minor Leagues, and it stinks,” Vogelbach said. “I want to play with the guys, but [the] reality is, I can't. The only thing I can do is rehab and do what I can to get back out there.”
If it indeed takes Vogelbach the full six weeks to rehab, he likely won’t return to the big league lineup until mid-August. So in that time, with Milwaukee having few options to use to replace Vogelbach, it’ll turn to Keston Hiura in hopes that his third stint with the Brewers this season is a success.
Hiura’s struggles in the big leagues this year are well-documented. Entering play Friday, he was hitting just .127 with a .438 OPS and has been demoted twice. But he’s been tearing through Minor League pitching with Triple-A Nashville, slashing .403/.506/.722 with five home runs and 14 RBIs. So, what advice has Vogelbach given as Hiura tries to bring that bat with him to Milwaukee?
“I don't think Keston needs me to give him any pump-up talks or anything,” Vogelbach said. “I've said it all along: Keston's hit his whole career. He's gonna hit. I said it earlier in the year that we needed him, and he's gonna be just fine. He's gonna hit, and he's gonna do what he does.”
Hiura was one of the heroes of Friday's thrilling comeback win over the Rockies, a 5-4 affair that lasted 11 innings. He homered in the seventh to get the Crew on the board, and his sacrifice fly in the 11th scored Manny Piña as the game-winning run.
Am Fam finally "Re-Opens"
Opening Day on April 1 didn’t bring the fanfare the Brewers wanted, considering they could only host 25 percent of their ballpark's capacity at the time.
Loosening restrictions to allow 50 percent capacity didn’t quite do the job, either. That’s why Milwaukee dubbed Friday’s series opener with Colorado -- the first time it could host a full crowd since 2019 -- “Re-Opening Day” at American Family Field.
“Whenever you get the fans back in the stands and get them behind you, it’s awesome,” Friday’s starter, Corbin Burnes, said Wednesday. “Last year was tough with just no crowd noise and trying to generate your own adrenaline. It was definitely difficult. We’ve all been happy to have fans back in the stands.
“In Colorado, they were getting 33,000-34,000 [fans], so it’s not something that will be completely new to us. Obviously, 30-plus at home is a lot different than 30-plus on the road. So, definitely looking forward to getting back in that environment.”
More than anything, the return to full capacity is the closest the Brewers have been to “normal” in their home ballpark since it still had “Miller” in its name.
“I think what we’ve learned through this whole year-and-a-half odyssey is that sports [are] made to be played with people [watching], with lots of people there, and the great environment that lots of people creates is why we love it and is why fans go to it,” Counsell said. “So it’s fun, the atmosphere that’s created and the environment that’s created. We’re going to get that today.”