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Shaw discovers his power stroke for Brewers

MLB.com @AdamMcCalvy

PHOENIX -- It's Spring Training, so Travis Shaw didn't mind when D-backs right fielder Steven Souza Jr. went all highlight reel on Thursday to rob him of more than a sacrifice fly. Plus, Shaw would get another opportunity to put one where Souza couldn't catch it.

Shaw, the Brewers' co-home run leader with Eric Thames last season, homered for the third time in a span of five Cactus League plate appearances as part of the club's three-run fifth inning at Maryvale Baseball Park. Catcher Manny Pina homered twice, but the D-backs rallied for seven runs in the sixth inning and an 11-6 win.

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PHOENIX -- It's Spring Training, so Travis Shaw didn't mind when D-backs right fielder Steven Souza Jr. went all highlight reel on Thursday to rob him of more than a sacrifice fly. Plus, Shaw would get another opportunity to put one where Souza couldn't catch it.

Shaw, the Brewers' co-home run leader with Eric Thames last season, homered for the third time in a span of five Cactus League plate appearances as part of the club's three-run fifth inning at Maryvale Baseball Park. Catcher Manny Pina homered twice, but the D-backs rallied for seven runs in the sixth inning and an 11-6 win.

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"I've just searched for a rhythm," Shaw said. "I'm honestly not looking for results right now, just looking to hit the ball hard. The last two days, my 'takes' have felt a lot better. I don't feel as jumpy at the plate. I'm letting the ball come to me a little bit more."

This is typical for a power hitter in Spring Training, Shaw said. When that good feeling comes, it tends to come fast.

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"It usually happens within two days," said Shaw, who expects to play again Friday for his first back-to-back games this spring. "One hit falls in, or one swing, and it's like, 'That's what I'm looking for.'"

For Shaw, that one swing came Tuesday against the White Sox, when a "reactionary" swing produced the first of his two home runs that day.

He put another good swing on the baseball in his first at-bat on Thursday, when Shaw batted with two on and none out, and smashed a fly ball to the right-center-field gap. Souza cut it off with a leaping, diving catch, and threw to first base to double up Lorenzo Cain while the Brewers' first run scored.

Video: ARI@MIL: Shaw nets sac fly after Souza robs him

"That's a good Spring Training out," Shaw said. "That gets the karma on my side for the season. That's plus-one in the bloop category for me."

Injury updates
Catcher Stephen Vogt believes he took "a huge, huge step in the right direction" on Thursday, and Brewers starter Zach Davies hopes to do the same on Friday.

Vogt, dealing with a sore right shoulder for most of the past two weeks, completed plyometric throwing drills early Thursday morning with no pain. If a team doctor approves, his next step will be picking up a baseball again and re-joining a battle with Jett Bandy for the Brewers' No. 2 catcher spot.

"[On Wednesday] we started doing a little bit, and it was still very sore. Today, no pain," Vogt said. "So we're progressing well. Obviously, there is going to be pain along the way, and I am aware of that, but there's a difference between pain and soreness."

Video: Counsell on Davies' strained oblique, prognosis

Davies played catch with no discomfort for a second straight day on Thursday, when he originally was scheduled to pitch against the D-backs. That start was skipped after Davies developed what manager Craig Counsell characterized as a minor left oblique strain.

Barring a setback, Davies will get back on the mound on Friday for a bullpen session. His next scheduled start is Tuesday against the Rangers.

Does Davies have concern about the tricky nature of oblique injuries?

"You know, I don't," he said. "I'm progressing really well. I don't feel it anymore. It's not hindering a regular throwing program day for me. I'm not going to be one of those guys who's going to be reserved about it. I want to know what it is. I'm not going to give it a few more days being reserved and then having a setback from there. I'd rather test it out now and make sure it's ready to go."

Sick ward
Ryan Braun was scratched from a scheduled start against the D-backs after becoming the latest Brewers player struck by the same flu-like symptoms that hit reliever J.J. Hoover recently. Counsell hopes Braun returns to action on Friday against the A's. Hoover returned from quarantine to pitch on Thursday.

The aim is to prevent a wave of illness like the one that struck a significant segment of Dodgers camp earlier this month.

Up next
Watch live on MLB.TV as right-hander Yovani Gallardo, who hasn't fared well in three relief appearances this spring, aims for better success in his first Cactus League start at 2:05 p.m. CT on Friday against the A's and top prospect A.J. Puk at Maryvale Baseball Park. Gallardo has a 7.20 ERA and a 2.40 WHIP in five spring innings, but Counsell praised the veteran's commitment to the club's suggestion that he throw more fastballs at the top of the strike zone.

"I almost foresaw some walks happening because we're asking him to pitch differently," Counsell said after Gallardo's most recent appearance. "But I'm happy to see him continue on this path. ... I don't think they're getting good swings off him."

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

Milwaukee Brewers, Zach Davies, Yovani Gallardo, Travis Shaw, Stephen Vogt