Following debut, Hiura ready to settle in

May 15th, 2019

PHILADELPHIA -- ’s second day in the Majors was surely less hectic than his first, but as he woke up in his Philadelphia hotel, his new status as Milwaukee’s starting second baseman still hadn’t sunk in.

“It still kind of hasn’t fully hit me yet,” said Hiura, who was moved up a spot in Wednesday's lineup, hitting sixth. “It may take a few games, weeks, months, whatever. Ben Gamel said when he debuted, it didn’t really hit him until after the season was over.”

Hiura didn’t look overwhelmed in his debut, collecting a pair of hits and a walk in his four plate appearances. He celebrated his big night with his parents, girlfriend and longtime personal hitting coach, all of whom had made the journey east to witness his debut.

“I got a Philly cheesesteak; you have to get one when you’re out here,” Hiura said of his postgame activity. “I got one of those, and as soon as I got back to the hotel, I crashed. I passed out.”

The Brewers’ top-ranked prospect (No. 15 overall) per MLB Pipeline, Hiura is being viewed as a potential spark for a lineup that has been uneven throughout the first quarter of the season. Following the emotions that accompanied Tuesday’s debut, Hiura arrived at Citizens Bank Park on Wednesday with a sense of what to expect as far as a pregame routine.

“It’s the big leagues now,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “There’s a ton of excitement on the first day, and the game doesn’t get any easier or any harder -- it’s just the second day. Now you settle in and realize that it’s good baseball, and you just have to keep having good at-bats.”

Hiura will make his first trip to Atlanta’s SunTrust Park on Friday, after which the Brewers will return to Milwaukee for his home debut at Miller Park. Each week will be filled with new experiences for the 22-year-old, who was drafted less than two years ago. He is excited to take in each and every one of them.

“I’m still soaking it all in,” Hiura said. “I probably won’t get familiar for a little while more, but you’re living your dream now as a job. You were playing professional baseball, but now you’re in the big leagues.”

Start it up

will rejoin the Brewers’ rotation on Saturday in Atlanta, moving to the bullpen for the time being. Anderson has been out for more than two weeks after sustaining a laceration on his right middle finger, but he made a rehab start on Monday for Triple-A San Antonio, throwing 58 pitches in four innings.

That was enough for the Brewers to plan for his return. Anderson is 2-0 with a 3.20 ERA in seven appearances (two starts) this season, but Counsell said he liked what he saw from Anderson in a starting role prior to the injury, leading to this decision.

“Right now, we’re just going to go with Chase,” Counsell said. “I see the same number of innings from Chase and Freddy as the season goes on, but at this point, we’ll go with Chase and see where that game kind of leads.”

What happens after Saturday remains to be seen, as the Brewers have off-days next Monday and Thursday, followed by another the subsequent Wednesday.

“In general, we’re going to have some decisions with our pitching,” Counsell said. “It’s going to be a little flexible with everything. With our off-days, for all of our guys I think we’re in a little bit of a start-by-start thing. We’re maybe looking at some rest for some guys.”

Walk this way

had three hits in seven at-bats during the first two games against the Phillies, but it was his two walks on Monday that stood out to Counsell.

Arcia has already drawn 14 free passes this season, only one away from matching his 119-game total from 2018. Arcia’s career-high walk total is 36, which he reached in '17. His on-base percentage that season was .324, but it plummeted to .268 last year. This season, he’s back to .323 and getting rewarded for his increased patience at the plate.

“It’s something that we haven’t talked about much, but it’s been noticeable; he’s not chasing at nearly the rate that he did last year,” Counsell said. “Monday night, there were two walks that I talked to him about the next day. Those were not at-bats he had in 2018. There have been several of those recently where you just see him laying off a pitch, drawing a walk and keeping a rally going.”