Crew boosts social justice in final intrasquad

July 21st, 2020

MILWAUKEE -- Craig Counsell said he hoped it was the start of a conversation. It began with three words: Justice. Equality. Now.

It was the players, Counsell said, who created black T-shirts with white lettering to display those words, which the manager said he was proud to wear during Tuesday’s finale of the Blue-Gold Series of intrasquad games at Miller Park. It was the Brewers’ final tune-up at home before bussing to Chicago on Wednesday for an exhibition at the White Sox, to be followed two days later by Opening Day at the Cubs.

"Today is our first day to send a message, and we will continue to do so in different ways throughout the year,” said Counsell on the Brewers.com live stream of Tuesday’s game. “It's important to us. ... It's a great statement. It's our take on it.”

Counsell added, "I think anytime we're trying to create some change, the message has to be consistent and it has to last. It can't just be a one-day thing. Our goal in this is to create some consistency, and today is the first day of it.

"[Change] has to start somewhere, and today is the jumping-off place for us. I'm proud of the guys. I'm happy to be a part of it, and I'm hoping we can be, as much as anything, a part of a conversation. I think we're hopefully helping to start do that today."

Next stop, Chicago
The Brewers did their part to get through the Miller Park portion of Summer Camp with minimal interruptions. Three players are on the COVID-19 related injured list, but they were all from either pre-intake positive tests (Luis Urías, Angel Perdomo) or contact with an individual who tested positive (Eric Lauer).

Now comes the next challenge: Travel.

“I think we were all definitely unsure and uneasy about how this was going to work, but since we've been out here, everything's been great,” said infielder Jedd Gyorko, one of Milwaukee’s many new players in 2020. “Our training staff, the doctors, the front office -- everyone associated with the Brewers has done an unbelievable job of making us feel as safe as we possibly can. Another wrinkle is coming with all the traveling that's about to happen. We have to make sure we're staying safe and making sure we're doing everything we can to protect each other. Safety is No. 1. If we want this thing to work, everybody has to be on board and do the right things.”

Wednesday will mark the first true broadcasts since the Brewers restarted for Summer Camp. The 7 p.m. CT game against the White Sox will air on the Brewers Radio Network and on Fox Sports Wisconsin, with broadcasters calling the game remotely from Miller Park.

Adrian Houser will start Wednesday’s game for the Brewers.

Black to IL; Grimm, Morrison officially added
The Brewers formally selected the contracts of non-roster invitees Justin Grimm and Logan Morrison on Tuesday, cementing their spots on the team’s Opening Day roster. But reliever Ray Black, whose most recent intrasquad appearance ended abruptly after he complained of tightness in his right shoulder, was placed on the 10-day injured list with a rotator cuff strain.

Black is out of Minor League options and thus had an inside track to the Opening Day roster. A hard thrower who can touch triple digits on the radar gun, but who continues to work on his command, Black made 15 appearances for the Brewers late last season following a trade from San Francisco.

Last call
• Ryan Braun took batting practice on the field Tuesday but he did not play. He didn’t appear in any of the seven games of the Blue-Gold Series because of a number of nagging physical issues, including his left oblique. His availability for Opening Day is in question. All teams must submit a 30-man roster to Major League Baseball by 11 a.m. CT on Thursday.

• Christian Yelich completed a quiet Blue-Gold Series on Tuesday, going 0-for-3 with a flyout, a strikeout and a series-ending double play. Unofficially, he had two hits and 13 strikeouts in 23 at-bats over the seven games. During the at-bat in which he struck out against Freddy Peralta, Yelich released some of his frustration by yelling toward the empty seats.

“I think y'all are way [more] worried about Yeli than we are,” Gyorko said. "We know what Yeli is capable of. Even if he struggles out of the gate, which I'd be shocked if it happens, this game is tough. Everybody goes through it, but we're all confident that Yeli is gonna be Yeli once this all starts.”

• With Peralta having pitched Tuesday, Houser scheduled to start Wednesday against the White Sox and Josh Lindblom scheduled to get work Wednesday at the team’s alternate training site in Appleton, Wis., the Brewers’ starting pitchers are currently lined up this way: Brandon Woodruff, Corbin Burnes, Peralta, then Houser and Lindblom in some order. Counsell has not announced any probable pitchers beyond Wooduff in Game 1 and Burnes in Game 2, however.