Adames: Classic experience 'maybe above' World Series

Miller tested as he adjusts to center field; prospects Junk, Gasser shine

March 17th, 2023

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- If there were any doubt what the World Baseball Classic means to players from around the globe, listen to after he returned to Brewers camp on Friday morning after representing the Dominican Republic.

“For us, it’s in our blood,” Adames said. “We live for this. We love the game. This is what we do since we are babies. Since we were in the belly of our mother, we feel baseball.

“They have so many sports going on [in the United States]. They have basketball, they have American football. Dominicans, Puerto Ricans, Venezuelans, we have baseball. That’s what we have.”

Adames played in the 2020 World Series with the Rays. How did his Classic experience compare?

“I mean, it would have to be tied with the World Series. Maybe above. Maybe,” Adames said. “But it was just incredible. It was different, way different.”

The Classic didn’t go the way Adames drew it up. He played in only one of four games for the Dominican Republic, which juggled Adames, the Astros’ Jeremy Peña and the Rays’ Wander Franco at shortstop. With such a stacked roster, the Dominicans expected to play beyond the first round, but they were eliminated after going 2-2 in Pool D in Miami, with Venezuela and Puerto Rico advancing.

Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell convinced Adames to “chill” on Friday after he returned to camp. Adames said he anticipates playing against the Padres on Saturday.

Adames’ return was one of several this week as the tournament moves along. Righty reliever Javy Guerra (Panama) is scheduled to pitch for the Brewers on Saturday. Righty (Israel) is also back in camp. So is infielder (Canada), who played the first 5 1/2 innings in Friday’s 4-3 win over the Rangers at Surprise Stadium.

“It was such a competitive environment, and it’s a [first round] of just four games, so every at-bat is important,” said Toro, who was one of the more veteran players on a young Canadian squad. “I think playing those nine-inning games, playing in that competitive environment, is going to help me for the rest of spring and into the season.”

The Brewers also expect to get outfielder Sal Frelick, their No. 2 prospect per MLB Pipeline, back in the next day or two after Italy was eliminated from the Classic. Coaches were texting Frelick on Friday morning while he was on a flight back from Japan.

Miller gets a workout
, the career infielder who is getting a crash course in center field as the Brewers attempt to cover themselves against some recent injuries, had his best test yet Friday.

Wearing the outfield glove he borrowed from utility man Josh VanMeter, Miller navigated a windy day at Surprise Stadium. He charged a double to the right-center-field gap, made a sliding stop and threw quickly back to the infield. In the fifth, he made a running catch in left-center field at full speed before stopping himself against the wall.

That work could come into play early in the year. The Brewers expect to be without Tyrone Taylor (elbow) for all of April, and they have been careful of late with Garrett Mitchell after the rookie center fielder tweaked his right hamstring on March 9.

“It’s good to get game reps like that,” Miller said. “I’ll keep working every day to see as many balls out there as I can.”

The running catch at the warning track was particularly impressive considering that Miller has never played the outfield in the Majors, and that his professional outfield experience consists of one game in left field for Triple-A Columbus in 2021. 

“It looks probably easier on TV,” Miller said. “When you’re running full-speed for a ball like that, it’s kind of different. You have to control yourself. [Left fielder Joey] Wiemer was talking out there and letting me know; it’s just big to have communication out there and talk and do the best you can with guys.”

Last call
• Pitching prospects and  have already been cut from big league camp, but they’re still getting chances to make an impression. Junk, the Brewers’ No. 16 prospect, and Gasser, No. 10 on that list, combined for five innings of one-run ball Friday.

“[Catcher] Vic Caratini had high praise for [Gasser] coming out of the game,” Counsell said. 

• Also impressive was Rule 5 Draft pick , who got three called strikeouts in a perfect inning of work. By rule, the Brewers must carry Varland on the Opening Day roster or offer him back to the Dodgers.

“Today was a great outing, so it’s hard to do better than that,” Counsell said.