Healthy Vogelbach eager for return to Crew

First baseman likely to be called up when rosters expand Wednesday

September 1st, 2021

SAN FRANCISCO -- It took longer than he would have liked, but Daniel Vogelbach was happy to be back with the Brewers on Tuesday.

Vogelbach and reliever Justin Topa were up from Triple-A Nashville, and while nothing is official until active rosters expand from 26 players to 28 when the calendar flips to September on Wednesday, it appears those two are poised to be the team’s callups. This is the first year that MLB teams cannot expand all the way to 40 active players for September.

“It tested some patience,” said Vogelbach, whose last act in the Majors was limping home with a strained left hamstring on June 22 at Arizona. “But I’m happy to be back. That was the ultimate goal, to be back healthy. The swing feels good and I feel good, and I’m ready for the final push.”

Vogelbach’s absence was extended when, nearing the end of his rehab from the hamstring injury, he jammed his right foot sliding into second base in a game for Nashville.

That allowed the Brewers to restart his rehab with another 20-game assignment, which extended Vogelbach all the way to the start of September. He will join a Brewers roster that includes a player with a similar profile in Rowdy Tellez -- a left-handed hitter who is limited defensively to first base. Milwaukee acquired Tellez in a trade with Toronto in early July.

So, how will the Brewers fit both on the roster? They have a week of Interleague road games coming up in Detroit and Cleveland in which the designated hitter will be in play, and they also think Vogelbach’s strike-zone discipline will play off the bench.

“When you have two good left-handed bats, especially with the amount of Interleague games we have coming up, it’s something that we can definitely take advantage of,” Brewers general manager Matt Arnold said. “That definitely plays a factor in it.”

Said Vogelbach: “I don’t have any expectations in this game. I don’t think you ever do. You do what you can, you control what you can control and every night something is different. Each and every night, whatever is called [for], you do what you can to help your team win.”

The Brewers have done a lot of that in his absence. The game in which Vogelbach injured his hamstring started an 11-game winning streak, and Milwaukee went from eight games over .500 to 28 games over while he was getting healthy.

“Just because you’re not here physically doesn’t mean you can’t follow the games and follow the guys," Vogelbach said. "The players have changed and other things have changed, but the one thing that hasn’t is the wins and losses. That’s the ultimate goal. I’m excited to be back.”

Vogelbach posted a .977 OPS in 18 games at Nashville and batted .216/.323/.386 with seven home runs in 67 Major League games this season.

Topa missed much of this season after sustaining a right forearm injury at the end of Spring Training. But he impressed last season with a power fastball-slider combination. He’s made two appearances for the Brewers this year.

Last call
Willy Adames returned to shortstop for Tuesday night's game in San Francisco as expected after being limited to a couple days of DH duties over the past week. Adames spent the past week getting treatment for a stiff left quadriceps.

Manager Craig Counsell spoke of the imperative of keeping Adames healthy, saying, “There will be days off here, yes. There's nothing formal, I don't think, but there will be days off here.”