Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News

Cain, Crew 'coming together' vs. injustice

@AdamMcCalvy
July 12, 2020

MILWAUKEE -- A little more than a month after speaking out about the death of George Floyd, who lost his life under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer, Brewers veteran outfielder Lorenzo Cain said he remains committed to advancing social justice, one teammate and one conversation at a time.

MILWAUKEE -- A little more than a month after speaking out about the death of George Floyd, who lost his life under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer, Brewers veteran outfielder Lorenzo Cain said he remains committed to advancing social justice, one teammate and one conversation at a time.

“You see it all over the country, everybody is standing up,” Cain said Sunday. “There’s been a lot of rioting. There’s been a lot going on over the last few months. Actually, me and a few guys from the team have been holding Zoom calls about the issue. ... We’re all coming together, talking about it. I’m educating them, I’m educating myself, on everything that’s going on. We all just want things to change. We want things to get better. Everybody wants to be treated equally at the end of the day.

“I feel like we can get back to respecting each other. Finding a way to love each other. At the end of the day, things will change. Hopefully, things get better and we continue to learn and grow from this. That’s my main goal and my main focus, for people to understand what’s going on and not only look at it from one side; look at it from both sides and grow, learn.”

One of those Zoom sessions occurred June 17, hosted by Brewers Minor League coach Quintin Berry and including current and former players like Cain, Prince Fielder and Tony Gwynn Jr.

“There is a growing awareness of racial inequalities in this country,” Berry wrote on Twitter that day, “and it is important to have a space to freely discuss stories and get support from others who may understand the challenges ahead.”

In another Zoom session that aired on MLB Network Radio in June, Cain expressed regret about not being more outspoken in support of San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in 2016, when Kaepernick began protesting police brutality by kneeling during the national anthem prior to a preseason game against the Green Bay Packers.

At the time, Cain was with the Kansas City Royals and said he was unsure whether to stand or kneel. He stood.

“Now I feel like everybody fully, fully understands what is happening, why he kneeled,” Cain said. “I feel like from now on, we all should use our platform to push to do the right thing."

“I’m glad Lorenzo is talking about it,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “He can teach everybody to be better. This is a challenging topic for all of us. Something we can all do better at and need to do better at, be educated about. And we need to do it. I encourage our guys who want to speak up to speak up. It’s important; it’s necessary. We come from different places, but his opinion and perspective on this has always been really valuable to me.”

Counsell gave Cain the day off from the Brewers’ scrimmage on Sunday ahead of another light day on Monday, a break meant to rest Cain’s legs ahead of a seven-game intrasquad series beginning Tuesday. The aim is to increase the Brewers’ intensity ahead of a July 22 exhibition at the White Sox and July 24 Opening Day at the Cubs.

For Cain, it has been an abrupt return to action. He said he did a lot of running on his property in Oklahoma while baseball was paused due to the coronavirus pandemic, but he didn’t have access to a gym and was limited to taking swings off a tee. Cain didn’t see any live pitching until the week before the formal start of Summer Camp, when he was one of a group of players who took the field at Concordia University, the suburban Milwaukee home of the Lakeshore Chinooks. They play in a collegiate wooden bat league and are partially owned by Hall of Famer Robin Yount.

Among the first pitchers Cain faced after the long layoff: Brewers All-Star starter Brandon Woodruff.

“It didn’t go well for me,” Cain said.

He did have three factors in his favor. Young sons Cameron, Jayden and Landyn kept dad active, to say the least.

“They kept me busy every day, going outside and playing catch or chasing them around,” Cain said. “It definitely helped out a lot. They got used to their dad being home for the summer. That was definitely weird for me, because I don't think I've been home for the summer since I was 18. We tried to kind of enjoy it as much as possible, and just take advantage of spending time with my family. We had a blast, but it's back to work now.”

It’s a work in progress.

“I’m definitely not in the shape I was in when I got to Spring Training but I'm trying to get back there,” Cain said. “The legs, the swing -- just trying to get it all back to where it was.”

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram and like him on Facebook.