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No. 5 prospect Dubon heads to Minors camp

Outfielders Taylor, Stokes also optioned; Jeffress to resume flat-ground throwing
@AdamMcCalvy
March 13, 2019

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- To paraphrase infielder Mauricio Dubon, who was one of three Brewers prospects cut from camp on Wednesday: No regrets. Dubon, fresh off rehabbing a left knee injury, took three hitless at-bats in one Cactus League game before going down with an intestinal illness that required a four-night

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- To paraphrase infielder Mauricio Dubon, who was one of three Brewers prospects cut from camp on Wednesday:

No regrets.

Dubon, fresh off rehabbing a left knee injury, took three hitless at-bats in one Cactus League game before going down with an intestinal illness that required a four-night hospitalization and essentially ended his participation in big league camp. He was optioned to the Minor Leagues along with outfield prospects Tyrone Taylor and Troy Stokes Jr.

“Those are the cards you’ve been dealt,” said Dubon, No. 5 on the Brewers' prospects list according to MLB Pipeline. “I still learned a lot from being around these guys. I’ve got [Christian] Yelich next to me, and I asked him a lot of questions, talked to him a lot. It was a learning experience.

“Just because I didn’t play, doesn’t mean it wasn’t a good camp for me. … My whole life has been ups and downs. This is one of the downs.”

Dubon has resumed baseball activities and should be ready for the start of the season at Triple-A San Antonio, where Taylor and Stokes also appear destined. Dubon is likely to form a double-play duo with second baseman and top Brewers prospect Keston Hiura, who had a three-run homer for Milwaukee in the fifth inning of Wednesday’s game against the Indians.

“What is important to understand is that it is Spring Training. The season is what is important for Mauricio,” said Brewers manager Craig Counsell. “The season is what is important for Jimmy Nelson, for JJ [Jeremy Jeffress]. We have to prioritize the most important things and get you ready for the most important parts of the year. For Mauricio, it could be, from a big league perspective, a little bit down the road, even. Let’s get you ready for the Minor League season -- and we have been conservative with him.”

What advice did Dubon get from Yelich?

“Don’t get frustrated. Don’t get anxious about getting called up. You’re a good player, and you’re going to get called up eventually,” Dubon said.

Taylor, Stokes sent down, too
Talk about the highs and lows of professional baseball. Taylor had just hit a two-run home run off Giants ace Madison Bumgarner in the final half-inning of Tuesday’s rain-shortened loss at Scottsdale Stadium when he was summoned for a chat with Counsell.

“He was on a real high. And I said, 'Nice homer. We're sending you to Minor League camp,’” Counsell said. “He kind of laughed at that, even. He literally hit the homer and the game was over. It was a little bit of a thrill for him, for sure. As it should be.

“But Tyrone did a nice job. He's moved himself into consideration, definitely, for a callup. If we need a player right away I think he'll be in the conversation for that. So that's where he's at right now, and he's still got room to get better. I think he had a nice camp.”

Taylor went 9-for-29 (.310) with three doubles and a homer in 14 Cactus League games. Stokes, the Brewers' No. 13 prospect, was 5-for-26 (.192) with one home run.

“I don't think Troy swung the bat as well as he's completely capable of,” Counsell said. “We really believe Troy is a hitter and can really swing the bat, and that's how he's going to get to the big leagues -- by swinging the bat. He's going to do damage, and I'm interested to see how his season goes. He probably had a little better season than his numbers showed last year in Double-A, and as he gets into a better hitting environment in Triple-A, it'll be interesting to see where his numbers go.”

Work in progress
There were sequences within Chase Anderson's four innings during Wednesday’s 9-3 loss to the Indians in windy Goodyear, Ariz., that felt just right. But with two exhibition starts remaining, Anderson is still seeking the consistency in his new delivery that will be required to navigate the regular season.

“That’s what I did so well in ’17. I found that rhythm and stuck with that rhythm and that tempo, and the velo was there and all of my pitches felt crisp,” Anderson said. “I threw one pitch today that was 94 [mph], and I was like, ‘I didn’t feel like I threw that pitch. It just came out.’ Then I threw one 91 and it really felt like I tried to throw it hard.

“It’s really just about syncing your body and your hands to really get ‘down’ the mound and let your body work. [Pitching coach Chris] Hook always tells me, ‘Be athletic. Let your body do the work. When you do that, your velo is where it’s supposed to be.' … As the game got going, I got to that point. But I’m still not happy.”

Most of the Indians’ damage against Anderson came in the first inning, when the first five batters reached safely on two walks and three singles. A bases-loaded walk to Carlos Santana put Cleveland on the board before Hanley Ramirez’s two-run single made it 3-0.

“We’ve been out there, each guy, 4-5 times now, and when you’re trying something new, we’ve got to get that locked in or go back to what we were doing,” Counsell said. “I think he got it going today the last two innings pretty good, but you come out and you’re not in sync, then you’ve got three runs on the board.”

Counsell said Anderson and Josh Hader were among the pitchers having trouble getting a grip on the baseball in the windy, dry air. Hader allowed his first runs of the spring in his fourth appearance, but a wind-blown infield popup that fell for an error played a significant role, and “the Spring Training manager in me,” Counsell said, was pleased to see the left-hander have to grind through an extended inning.

Last call
Counsell reiterated what he said Tuesday night about Jeffress: That the right-hander is trending toward beginning the regular season on the injured list. Jeffress, sidelined by right shoulder weakness, took Wednesday off and will resume flat-ground throwing on Thursday. Considering he has to get back on a mound, then into a game, then into multiple games, it seems unlikely he can pass all of the tests ahead of him by the Brewers’ March 28 opener against the Cardinals at Miller Park.

Up next
Freddy Peralta, who has been particularly impressive of late in his bid to crack Milwaukee's starting rotation, is scheduled to start Thursday against the Angels at American Family Fields of Phoenix. Yelich and Ryan Braun will be back in action for the Brewers after having Wednesday off. The 3:05 p.m. CT game will air on Fox Sports Wisconsin and MLB.TV as well as Brewers Radio Network.

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