Day after tweaking back, Yelich sits vs. Rockies

Wilson designated for assignment; Perallta set for return to rotation

April 30th, 2019

MILWAUKEE -- A chance for history was on hold Monday for Brewers outfielder , who was out of the starting lineup for Milwaukee's series opener against the Colorado Rockies.

The National League's reigning Most Valuable Player Award winner, Yelich experienced lower back discomfort during the top of the fifth inning of the Crew's 5-2 loss to the Mets on Sunday afternoon. He reported feeling “a little better” on Monday but remained day-to-day, sitting one home run shy of the all-time record for homers before the end of April.

“When it’s ready, it’s ready,” said Yelich, who dealt with something similar just before the start of last year’s All-Star break, when he caught a hot streak that carried him to the MVP Award.

“Obviously, we’re going to be cautious,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said.

Yelich has followed up his MVP campaign last year with a fast start, hitting .353 with 1.264 OPS. He entered Monday in a tie with Dodgers slugger Cody Bellinger for the NL lead with 14 homers -- which tied Albert Pujols and Alex Rodriguez for the MLB record for most long balls before May 1. Yelich and Bellinger, it should be noted, had a head start thanks to four games in March, but it’s still quite a feat.

Yelich's absence meant another day with the Brewers’ offense at less than full strength. Second baseman Mike Moustakas missed a series in St. Louis last week because of a fractured right ring finger, but he returned over the weekend in New York, where Yelich went down.

“We probably haven’t been as consistent as we would like, but there’s definitely been flashes of it,” Yelich said. “We’re not going to score 10 every night, but we’re definitely capable of doing more than we’ve been doing.”

Asked whether he expected to miss any games beyond Monday, Yelich said, “We’ll see. I don’t really want to put a timetable on it. It’s one of those things that when it’s better, it’s better.”

Wilson designated for assignment amid roster moves
The Brewers reset their bullpen again on Monday with a series of moves, most notably designating Alex Wilson for assignment after the veteran right-hander was charged with multiple runs for the third time in his last five outings.

That 40-man roster spot was needed for right-hander Jay Jackson, whose contract was purchased from Triple-A San Antonio. The Brewers also recalled left-hander Donnie Hart from San Antonio and placed Aaron Wilkerson on the 10-day injured list with a bruised left ankle that was suffered on a comebacker in Sunday’s loss to the Mets.

“We’ve got to get Alex straightened out,” Counsell said. “I think he has a chance to get straightened out, and if he does get through [waivers] and remains with us, I think there’s a good chance to see Alex again.”

Wilson, picked up at the end of Spring Training after getting his release from a Minor League deal with the Indians, looked like a promising addition at the start of the regular season. He had a blow-up outing against the Cubs but otherwise held opponents scoreless in seven of his first eight appearances. Lately, however, Wilson struggled.

“I don’t think we have an answer to what’s happened. He really got hurt a lot on his best pitch, which is his cutter,” Counsell said. “He made some mistakes with it and he got hurt on it. We’ve got to get that straightened out.”

When a player's contract is designated for assignment -- often abbreviated "DFA" -- that player is immediately removed from his club's 40-man roster, and 25-man roster if he was on that as well. Within seven days of the transaction (it was previously 10 days), the player must either be traded, released or placed on irrevocable outright waivers.

Jackson and Hart each appeared in the Brewers' 5-1 win over the Rockies on Monday. Jackson struck out the only batter he faced -- All-Star third baseman Nolan Arenado -- while Hart sealed the Milwaukee win with 1 1/3 flawless frames.

For Jackson, it marked his first stint in the Major Leagues since 2015, before he departed for three seasons in Japan. He didn’t allow a run in any of his seven appearances in San Antonio to begin the season.

“I think he’s capable of stepping right in and pitching some important innings,” Counsell said.

“Definitely worth the wait, worth the journey,” said Jackson, 31, who last pitched in the Majors for the Padres. “I’m glad to be here, glad to be on this team, glad to see these guys again from Spring Training. I didn’t make [the team] out of spring, but I’m glad to be here now to help.”

How far away did this moment feel while he was in Japan?

“Forever," Jackson said. "It feels like the longest journey possible a lot of times, because you never know if you’re going to get back. There’s a lot of things that can happen, especially in baseball. For me, you just go out there and keep grinding. Take every day and every moment the best you can and keep enjoying it.”

Peralta ready to return
Freddy Peralta has rejoined the team and will slot back into the starting rotation later this week, said Counsell, though the precise day is not set yet. The Brewers are likely to employ six starters for this turn of the rotation before deciding who to move out.

The 22-year-old Peralta is on the 10-day injured list with irritation of the joint where his right collarbone meets his sternum.