"I always think of Hernan as a guy who can help us win," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said Saturday before the club's Players Weekend matchup at Dodger Stadium. "I know he's going to help us win. I don't know how, or where, or when, but there's so many places that he has the ability to help you win that you know he'll make an impact. And that's a credit to him. He's the essence of versatility. He can do it in a lot of different ways."
On Saturday, Perez led off for the first time this season and started in center field. He went 1-for-4 and scored a run on Neil Walker's RBI double in the eighth inning during a 3-0 win over the Dodgers.
The Brewers have used eight players in the leadoff spot and entered Saturday ranked 25th in the Majors with a .239 average and .312 on-base percentage from that slot.
"We've kind of scuffled in that spot this year," Counsell said.
Perez is not a longterm option at the top of the lineup. Counsell said he wanted to "balance" the lineup Saturday with the Dodgers likely to use a number of relievers Ross Stripling, who came out of the bullpen to make his first start of the season.
Still, the Brewers would like to see more production from their leadoff hitters. In addition to Perez, the Brewers have used Jonathan Villar, Eric Sogard, Eric Thames, Keon Broxton, Domingo Santana, Lewis Brinson and Nick Franklin at the top of the lineup.
"It's an important spot in your lineup," Counsell said. "It's the guy who hits the most, for sure. It's an important spot. It's the guy hitting ahead of the hitters who are probably doing the most damage for you offensively. It's an important spot. It's going to help to score runs, there's no question. You are leaning on that guy a lot."
Suter, Susac near return to Majors Brent Suter continues to make progress in his return from a left rotator cuff strain and threw a bullpen session at Dodger Stadium on Saturday. It was the left-hander's second bullpen session since being placed on the 10-day disabled list on Aug. 13.
Meanwhile, catcher Andrew Susac is set to begin a Minor League rehab assignment next week, Counsell said. The Brewers are not sure where Susac will rehab because of potential scheduling issues with their Minor League affiliates in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. Susac is on the 10-day DL with a right trapezius strain, retroactive to Aug. 15.
Counsell said both Suter and Susac are likely to join the Brewers once rosters expand on Sept. 1.
Brewers trade Espino The Brewers traded right-handed pitcher Paolo Espino to the Rangers in exchange for cash on Saturday. Espino had been designated for assignment by the Brewers on Wednesday.
Espino, 30, made two starts and four relief appearances with Milwaukee, posting a 6.11 ERA over 17 2/3 innings. He made his Major League debut in a May 19 start against the Cubs. Espino had four stints with the Brewers and had been with Triple-A Colorado Springs since being optioned on Aug. 1. He went 4-2 with a 4.76 ERA in 16 games (14 starts) with the Sky Sox.
Austin Laymance is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles. He covered the Brewers on Friday.