MILWAUKEE -- Lorenzo Cain's message on Saturday was short and sweet to the Brewers fans who have missed the Brewers' most valuable player, statistically, while he's nursed a left groin strain over the past two weeks."I'm playing tomorrow," Cain said.He made that declaration after a final test that included batting
MILWAUKEE -- Lorenzo Cain's message on Saturday was short and sweet to the Brewers fans who have missed the Brewers' most valuable player, statistically, while he's nursed a left groin strain over the past two weeks.
"I'm playing tomorrow," Cain said.
He made that declaration after a final test that included batting practice, running in the outfield and shagging fly balls. Before taking the field, Cain said that if he felt "great," he would be back in the Brewers' lineup for Sunday's series finale against the Braves at Miller Park.
The plan calls for Cain to play Monday in Miami as well, manager Craig Counsell said.
"You try to get this thing as close as you can, but once you injure something, you're going to play with it for a little bit," Counsell said. "He feels really comfortable right now and is doing really good."
Coincidentally, Sunday is also the day Major League Baseball announces the All-Star rosters. Cain -- the leading National League position player in the Baseball-Reference's wins above replacement and second to Colorado's Nolan Arenado in the Fangraphs version -- is a strong candidate to be one of the Brewers' representatives.
Besides Cain's .291/.394/.438 slash line at the plate, the Brewers are getting back their best defensive outfielder, which will allow Christian Yelich to return to one of the corner spots and could ease the load on Eric Thames, who has been playing a lot of right field after manning first base in his first season with the Brewers and the three years before that in South Korea.
Just as Cain was getting healthy, fellow outfielder Ryan Braun was hurt again. The Brewers scratched Braun about 90 minutes before Saturday's first pitch with tightness in his right side and started Hernan Perez in left field instead. Braun appeared as a pinch-hitter in the Brewers' 5-1 loss to the Braves and struck out looking to end the game.
Braun has been in and out of the lineup this season with back tightness, including a minimum DL stint in May. He also missed a handful of games last month while getting treatment for a chronic nerve issue in his right thumb.
Report: Brewers made offer for Machado
The Baltimore Sun reported Saturday that the Orioles "continue to move quickly" in negotiations with teams about shortstop Manny Machado and included the Brewers among seven teams with offers on the table. The report went so far as to rank the offers in order of appeal, putting Milwaukee's third behind the Dodgers and D-backs.
The Phillies, Braves, Indians and Cubs have also made offers for Machado, according to the article. He will be a free agent after the season but would fill an immediate need for the Brewers, who recently demoted slumping Opening Day shortstop Orlando Arcia to the Minors for a second time.
Lopez recalled; Orf sent back to Minors
Desiring a fresh bullpen arm on Saturday as reliever Aaron Wilkerson made his first 2018 start, the Brewers recalled right-handed reliever Jorge Lopez from Triple-A Colorado Springs and optioned infielder Nate Orf back to that affiliate.
It's Lopez's fifth stint with the Brewers this season. He pitched the final two innings of Saturday's loss and allowed an inherited runner to score, but yielded no runs of his own.
Orf, the former undrafted free agent who quickly found a cult following at Miller Park, went 1-for-9 in his first taste of the Majors. The lone hit was a home run in Wednesday's 3-2 win over the Twins.
"The little bit of energy boost everybody gets from Nate, that's part of who he is. The home run, he's a good hitter," Counsell said. "We expect some offense from Nate. We think he can hit, and I expect him to do something offensively when you put him in there, because he's shown that's what he can really do."
If the Brewers weren't winning lately, Brewers right-hander Zach Davies might be in a much darker mood. Davies described his frustration on Saturday after his latest setback in trying to escape the DL, first for a right rotator cuff injury and now for a stiff back.
Davies was nearing a return when his back flared up in a Minor League rehab start on June 28. When he tried to throw Thursday, it flared up again.
"It's kind of locked everything up," he said. "I don't have any other symptoms of, like, shooting pain down my leg or some other nerve stuff. It's just something that I feel pain whenever I throw."
The prescription at this particular point in time is simple: rest and treatment.
"It's frustrating," Davies said. "My shoulder felt great. I felt like I was starting a brand new year."
Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook.