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Brewers place Albers (shoulder) on 10-day DL

Lopez up from Triple-A; Kratz making strong impression quickly
MLB.com

MILWAUKEE -- Brewers reliever Matt Albers was placed on the 10-day disabled list on Tuesday, the day after surrendering five earned runs in the 11th inning of a 7-2 loss to the Cubs.

Albers (3-2, 3.45 ERA) has a right shoulder injury, and reliever Jorge Lopez was recalled from Triple-A Colorado Springs in a corresponding move.

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MILWAUKEE -- Brewers reliever Matt Albers was placed on the 10-day disabled list on Tuesday, the day after surrendering five earned runs in the 11th inning of a 7-2 loss to the Cubs.

Albers (3-2, 3.45 ERA) has a right shoulder injury, and reliever Jorge Lopez was recalled from Triple-A Colorado Springs in a corresponding move.

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"He reported some soreness after the game," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "He said it has been there for a little bit. We've got to just shut him down and try to get him better."

In his first year with the Brewers, Albers has allowed at least one run in three of his four appearances in June after not allowing a run in 18 of his first 21 games. Albers allowed a home run to Chicago's Anthony Rizzo on the first pitch of the 11th inning on Monday night, jump-starting a five-run outburst for the Cubs in the series opener.

The first sign of trouble for the veteran reliever may have been on Rizzo's homer, according to Counsell, who said in his postgame news conference he thought Albers threw a changeup. Instead, it was an 88 mph fastball -- down 2.5 mph from his fastest in his last appearance on Friday in Philadelphia.

"It is a very tough call," Counsell said. "Everybody's got something going on and you play with things. If you've played as long as Matt has, you know yourself pretty well. He got to the point where it was affecting him out there on the field, and it's just time to take a break."

Lopez has split time between the Major Leagues and Triple-A this season, last appearing with the Brewers on May 24 against the Mets. He was available to pitch in Tuesday night's game against the Cubs.

Kratz providing unexpected jolt on offense
Since making his Major League debut with the Pirates in 2010 at age 30, Erik Kratz has bounced around professional baseball. Kratz has Major League stops with Toronto, Kansas City, the Yankees, two stops each in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, and a bunch of stints in the Minors, before playing with the Yankees' Triple-A affiliate earlier this season.

Video: CHC@MIL: Kratz opens the scoring with a solo homer

It hasn't always been smooth-sailing for Kratz, who turns 38 on Friday, with all those teams -- especially at the start. So when he had three home runs and 10 hits in six games with the Brewers, it's pretty special.

Asked what it means to find some early success, Kratz said: "A lot. And that's for any player; first time traded or 10th time traded. I went into two different teams at two different times in my career and started both teams 0-for-15. I felt it. I got a hit in my 16th at-bat both times. ... I learned from that time, just like I'm learning from this stretch of at-bats, too. You're just trying to put together good at-bats all the time."

While those starts with the Astros and Pirates were not ideal, Kratz's first two weeks in Milwaukee have been on the other end of the spectrum.

Kratz hit his third home run in six games Monday, a third-inning blast that ended Cubs left-hander Jose Quintana's streak of 26 consecutive scoreless innings against the Brewers. After hitting one home run in 117 Major League plate appearances over the past three seasons, Kratz has three homers in 23 at-bats for Milwaukee.

"It's important for guys like Erik," Counsell said. "It just helps put everybody at ease and the player at ease. He's made a major contribution when he's been in there."

Milwaukee acquired Kratz from the Yankees for future considerations on May 25, looking for an upgrade over slumping backup catcher Jett Bandy. Kratz has certainly outperformed expectations, with an OPS of 1.370 in six games and a "really nice job" defensively, according to Counsell.

Counsell also believes Kratz will continue to improve his game-calling ability with the Brewers' staff.

"It's going to keep getting better because you've caught more pitches from the guys and you've been in the meetings more," Counsell said. "It's always harder when you're hearing it for the first time."

Stephen Cohn is a reporter for MLB.com based in Milwaukee. Follow him on Twitter @Stephen__Cohn.

Milwaukee Brewers, Matt Albers