WASHINGTON -- Top Brewers prospect Lewis Brinson is back in the big leagues and determined to have more fun the second time around.
Brinson connected for his first Major League home run in an 8-5 loss to the Nationals after being recalled from Triple-A Colorado Springs when the Brewers placed pitcher Matt Garza (right calf strain) on the 10-day disabled list. Michael Blazek will start in place of Garza on Thursday opposite Max Scherzer and the Nationals.
Brinson, the Brewers' top-ranked prospect and No. 15 overall according to MLBPipeline.com, went 3-for-31 during his first stint on the Major Leagues last month, but went on an offensive tear after returning to the Minors. He was slashing .411/.465/.711 with 16 extra-base hits in 21 games before exiting Tuesday's game before he could take an at-bat, and continued that hot streak with a walk and a two-run home run at Nationals Park.
At 461 feet, per Statcast™, Brinson's tied for the third-longest for a player's first career homer since the tracking system debuted in 2015.
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"It would have been a lot sweeter if we would have won," Brinson said. "But it's good to get that first one out of the way. Hopefully that's the first of many."
When Brinson was replaced by a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the first inning a day earlier in the Minors, it fueled speculation at the time he might have been traded. Instead, he was on his way back up.
"First time up, I was a little 'jitterish,' a little anxious, wanted to do too much, wanted to contribute early," Brinson said. "It's tough. When you first get up here, it's a lifelong dream. As a little kid, you want to get to the big leagues and hit that five-run homer your first at-bat, and it's impossible. You just have to tell yourself to calm down. I went through that. I'm human.
"Second time around, I'm a little more relaxed. I know what to expect. I can go out there and have fun."
Brinson arrived just in time to help the Brewers against tough left-handers, beginning with a start in center field against the Nationals' Giovany Gonzalez on Wednesday night. The Brewers also face Cubs southpaw Jose Quintana on Friday at Miller Park.
Garza, meanwhile, was beginning his third stint this season on the 10-day DL. This one was backdated to July 23, so he will be eligible to return Aug. 2. He's hopeful to be ready by then.
He said he strained his calf doing running drills after his most recent start in Philadelphia, an outing that lowered Garza's ERA over his past five starts to 2.63. He tried throwing bullpen sessions Sunday and Tuesday with subpar results.
"It's not painful to pitch, but making a pitch with authority or reacting afterwards, I don't think I would be able to perform at the level they need me to," Garza said. "It was more for not trying to injure it any further. Hold it to a one-start thing and that's it."
Calf strains have been the club's injury of the year as Opening Day starter Junior Guerra, left fielder Ryan Braun, starter-turned-reliever Wily Peralta and now Garza all have required DL stints for that ailment.
"What are you going to do? It's not like I was fooling around," Garza said. "I was getting my work in and I guess everything was right for something wrong to happen. Just try to get better and be as much help as I can. I'm hoping it's a one-start thing. I'm hoping, praying it's a one-start thing."