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Brinson walks twice, steals base in debut

MLB.com

PHOENIX -- When Lewis Brinson got the phone call Saturday that the Brewers wanted him in the Majors, he was taking a nap at the apartment in Colorado Springs he had only recently shared with fellow prospects Josh Hader and Brett Phillips, who both joined the club Friday.

"My Triple-A manager, Rick Sweet, called me and told me to pack my bags, I was going to the big leagues," Brinson said after the Brewers lost 11-1 to the D-backs at Chase Field in his debut. "I thought I was dreaming for a second. Obviously I wasn't, and I just started packing my stuff."

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PHOENIX -- When Lewis Brinson got the phone call Saturday that the Brewers wanted him in the Majors, he was taking a nap at the apartment in Colorado Springs he had only recently shared with fellow prospects Josh Hader and Brett Phillips, who both joined the club Friday.

"My Triple-A manager, Rick Sweet, called me and told me to pack my bags, I was going to the big leagues," Brinson said after the Brewers lost 11-1 to the D-backs at Chase Field in his debut. "I thought I was dreaming for a second. Obviously I wasn't, and I just started packing my stuff."

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Brinson, Milwaukee's No. 1 prospect and 13th overall, according to MLB Pipeline, had a whirlwind travel day. He arrived in the middle of Saturday night's 3-2 loss, and as a member of the active roster, he immediately pulled on his uniform and headed to the bench.

Video: MIL@ARI: Brinson makes an appearance in the dugout

Brewers manager Craig Counsell didn't waste any time putting Brinson in the starting lineup. When Brinson arrived at the ballpark Sunday, he was listed at the leadoff spot, playing left field.

"I wanted to find a spot for him today. That's what I like to do," Counsell said. "I think it's important to do that, and it's best for the player to do that. So it fit well for us today."

Brinson went 0-for-2 with a pair of walks and was credited with his first steal on the back end of a double-steal in the third inning. In his first at-bat against left-hander Robbie Ray, D-backs shortstop Nick Ahmed made a diving stop, barely nabbing the speedy Brinson at first. He's still looking for his first Major League hit.

Video: MIL@ARI: Ahmed lays out to take a hit from Brinson

The second walk was in the seventh, loading the bases with two out with the Brewers trailing, 1-0. Eric Thames then struck out.

"That's baseball, man, that's what happens up here," Brinson said about being robbed in his first at-bat. "Guys catch that up here. I'm happy with that at-bat. Making hard contact, I could try to relax after that."

On what could have been the key walk in the seventh, Brinson almost swung at J.J. Hoover's full-count offering, but plate umpire Dan Iassogna deferred to Brian Gorman at first base.

"I was hoping he didn't bang me on that," Brinson said. "But I held back and got the walk."

Brinson replaced injured second baseman Jonathan Villar, who was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a strained lower back after making a diving play that saved Friday night's 8-6 win, Milwaukee's only victory of the three-game series.

Brinson followed Hader and Phillips, who all had opportunities this weekend. Phillips, the team's No. 10 prospect, started in left field Friday and Saturday and had a game-ending pinch-hit appearance Sunday, went 1-for-7.

Hader, MLB's top left-handed pitching prospect, made his big league debut in the seventh inning Saturday, walking two and freezing Jake Lamb with a called third strike to end his outing.

Hader called the outing, "one of the best experiences I've ever experienced."

Counsell made it clear before Sunday's game that all three players are with the Brewers to contribute, not as a stopgap measure.

Video: MIL@ARI: Brinson and Hader's families join broadcast

"This is all part of what we're trying to do here," he said. "The guys close to the big leagues are definitely athletic kids. This is what our organization is going to look like. We have to be able to go to younger players, and they have to be the guys who supplement us and provide depth. And they have to be able to perform, obviously, in spots like this."

Brinson, 23, appears and sounds self-assured, even in this setting.

"I didn't have as many butterflies as I thought," he said.

Perhaps here's why: At Triple-A, he had a nice slash line of .312/.397/.503 with six home runs in 45 games. In nine games this month preceding the callup, his numbers were a sweet .342/.405/.579. A first-round pick by the Rangers in the 2012 Draft, he was acquired by Milwaukee in the trade that sent Jonathan Lucroy and Jeremy Jeffress to Texas last season.

Now, perhaps, those Minor League days are behind him, apartment and all.

"Now there's nobody in there," he said. "I just gave the keys to a clubbie. We left everything. I hope he can get rid of some of our stuff."

Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter.

Milwaukee Brewers, Lewis Brinson