Why Yelich agreed to bare all for The Body Issue

August 26th, 2019

MILWAUKEE -- Why did agree to bare all for ESPN The Magazine’s annual The Body Issue? For the same reason he said yes to a slew of other opportunities after winning last year’s National League MVP Award.

Why not? It gives fans a chance to see a different side of him.

“Yeah, basically everything,” Yelich said with a grin.

The offer was first presented in passing during the offseason, Yelich said, but he forgot about it until it came back around once the season began. After mulling the offer for a few days and consulting friends and a teammate or two, he said yes, which is how the Brewers’ best player found himself standing in the buff for four hours in what he described as an abandoned warehouse in downtown Milwaukee on July 25, an off-day for the team.

There were about 20 ESPN staffers on hand, said Yelich, who posed for a variety of photographs. There was even a slip and slide involved, he said.

“It was probably my favorite shoot I’ve ever done,” Yelich said. “I had that good of a time.”

What convinced him to say yes?

“I’m just at a position in my life that I felt it was something I wanted to do,” Yelich said. “I was not really worried about the whole being naked thing. I was kind of ‘whatever’ about that -- surprisingly. I didn’t know how I was going to be about that, if I was going to be nervous or not. I was super comfortable with it and had a great time.

“I don’t get to choose which [photographs] they use. It was about a four-hour shoot, so there are a lot of pictures, a lot of things that we ended up doing. I’ll probably see them just before you guys do.”

Prince Fielder graced the cover of The Body Issue in 2014, but he’d departed the Brewers by then. Yelich is the first current Brewers player to take part.

The gallery will appear online Sept. 4 and the issue hits newsstands Sept. 6.

“You go into it knowing that hey, a lot of people are going to see these pictures,” Yelich said. “You can’t really be shy. You’ve got to be confident in yourself and the whole process. It’s not necessarily something I think I would have done a few years ago. I feel like I’ve come a long way as a person in the last few years. It’s something that I’m actually really, really glad I did now that it’s done with and looking back on it. It’s a great opportunity.

“And I’m sure the guys in here are going to have a great time with it. It’s going to be all over this place, and I’m going to get a pretty hard time for it. I regret nothing.”

Last call

• The Brewers released right-hander Jhoulys Chacin on Monday, a formality that came two days after the veteran was designated for assignment. He’s said to be hopeful about hooking on with another team and may be closer to returning than the mid-September range mentioned previously, assuming a club is willing to pitch him in shorter stints. Chacin, who has been on the injured list since July 25 with a right oblique strain, was on the cusp of facing hitters when the Brewers let him go.

• Brewers manager Craig Counsell conceded that second baseman has endured some issues with throwing accuracy during his rookie season. But Hiura is healthy, which is important considering the Brewers drafted him in 2017 despite concerns about his right elbow.

“I guess what I’m very satisfied with is he has kind of answered, to me, questions of, ‘Can he play the position?’” Counsell said. “There’s no question he can play the position. I think he can play it at a really high level. The throwing-accuracy issues have really been on plays he can complete, and I think it’s well within the realm [of possibility] that he can improve to complete those plays. I’d worry about this more if it was a hands issue or a range issue or a flat-out arm-strength issue. Nobody likes the errors and Keston doesn’t like them either, but I think we can keep working on it and get this solved and improve on it as we go.”

• Triple-A San Antonio catcher David Freitas was named a Pacific Coast League end-of-season All-Star on Monday amid a bid to win the league’s batting title. He currently leads the way with a .386 batting average but is sidelined by an intercostal strain. He’s a candidate for a September callup if he can get healthy. Another potential callup, infielder Tyler Saladino, was in Milwaukee on Monday for an MRI on his injured left shoulder, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

• As All-Star right-hander continues his throwing program, the Brewers’ plan for returning him to game action is becoming clearer. Since the Minor League season will be over, Woodruff may pitch in short stints for the Brewers as he builds his arm strength, Counsell said.