Struggling Brewers will be without Gomez for at least one week

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By Tom Haudricourt
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Wednesday, September 3, 2014

CHICAGO--Already sagging badly as the playoff race heats up, the Milwaukee Brewers learned Tuesday that centerfielder Carlos Gomez likely will be out of action a couple of weeks.

Gomez went to Milwaukee to have his ailing left wrist examined by team physician William Raasch. The good news was that an MRI revealed no structural damage, but Gomez was diagnosed with a significant sprain and the wrist was put into a brace.

Gomez, who was batting .282 with 21 homers, 65 RBI and 29 stolen bases, will be shut down completely for a week, then resume baseball activities as the wrist allows. That could mean a total absence of two weeks, with less than four weeks remaining in the season. He injured the wrist swinging the bat Sunday in a game at San Francisco.

“It is going to take some time,” manager Ron Roenicke said. “He’s not going to swing a bat for a week from two days ago when he hurt it. After a week of doing nothing, he’ll start some light swings and see how it feels. If it’s OK, then we’ll progress with it.

“In the meantime, whenever he’s comfortable, he’ll be OK to be used as a pinch runner or defensive replacement late in games. Then, we’ll see how long it takes. The tough thing with Carlos is because of the way he swings. How long is it actually going to take before he feels like it’s full strength?”

In Gomez’s absence, Roenicke said he would play Gerardo Parra and Logan Schafer in center field, depending on whether the corner outfielders need a day off at times. Roenicke said he hadn’t seen enough of Parra, a Gold Glove corner outfielder, in center yet to make a total judgment on his defense there.

“We saw him in 2011 quite a bit in center,” Roenicke said. “He’s a bigger guy now than he was a few years ago.”

As for how big of a blow it is to the team to lose Gomez at this stage of the season, Roenicke said, “It’s never good. It’s never good to lose a good player, a spark plug, a leadoff guy that can do some damage. It’s bad timing. I’m happy it’s not something worse; they’re not talking about surgery.”

For now, Roenicke said he would use second baseman Scooter Gennett in the leadoff spot.

“We’ll see how that goes,” Roenicke said. “We decided on Scooter because he did real well earlier this year, but Parra could slide in there, also.”

Braun skidding

Ryan Braun has been in an extended slump since the all-star break, batting .229 entering play Tuesday over that span with seven home runs and 24 RBI. After compiling a .863 OPS before the break, he was at .694 since.

Braun has been hampered by an ongoing nerve issue in his right thumb, but Roenicke said his rightfielder had not mentioned that problem much of late.

“It’s still there but I don’t think it’s been bothering him more now than it has been,” Roenicke said. “It is ongoing. There are times when he feels really good. You can tell in batting practice. Then, he usually takes it into ball games.

“But there are times where it’s sore and the swings aren’t what he’s used to. Now, he tries to adjust. He tries to ‘cheat’ early and then all of a sudden he gets out of whack.”

When Braun was struggling with his power stroke early in the season, he suggested moving from No. 3 to No. 2 in the lineup and Roenicke kept him there for a while. Roenicke said there was one major reason he has not moved Braun from the three-hole this time.

“The problem is that now we don’t have anybody that’s really crushing the ball,” Roenicke said. “Parra has been great since he’s been with us, but we need to have some guys really swinging well so when you make that move you feel good about making it.”

Three infielders summoned

In a second round of September call-ups, the summoned third baseman Jason Rogers, first baseman/third baseman Matt Clark and shortstop Hector Gomez from Class AAA Nashville.

To make room for Clark and Gomez on their 40-man roster, the Brewers designated outfielder Caleb Gindl for assignment and released right-hander Hiram Burgos.

In 57 games at Nashville, the 26-year-old Rogers—a first baseman moved to third base this year—batted a team-high .316 with 11 home runs and 39 RBI. He began the season at Class AA Huntsville, and overall in 134 games batted .296 with 18 homers and 82 RBI, with a .365 on-base percentage and .854 OPS.

Clark, 27, was signed by the Brewers in early July after opting out of his contract in the New York Mets’ farm system. Clark had a huge offensive impact with the Sounds, batting .313 with 16 home runs and 37 RBI in 53 games. The left-handed hitter compiled a .976 OPS.

Gomez, 26, considered a solid defensive shortstop, put together his finest offensive season at Nashville after an injury-plagued past. In 121 games, he batted .282 with 15 home runs and 49 RBI, with 25 doubles, a .483 slugging percentage and .808 OPS. Gomez had a strong finish, batting .385 over his last 10 games.

Gindl, 26, who was in his fourth season at Nashville, batted .227 in 110 games with eight home runs and 32 RBI. He had played in 65 games with the Brewers in 2013 and 2014, batting .232 with five homers and 14 RBI.

Burgos, 27, who pitched briefly in the Brewers’ rotation in early 2013 (1-2, 6.44 in six starts), was plagued by shoulder issues and made only four starts this year for the Sounds, going 1-3 with a 6.50 ERA.

Asked how he would use the new call-ups, Roenicke said, “Clark, I may have him out there (at first base) tomorrow. We’ll see. He was really hot there for a while. I’d hate to see him sit too long. He’s a pretty good defender, too.”

“Hector, I’m not too sure of. He’s coming off a hamstring injury. He’s good to go but he’s probably not 100 percent. He told me he could pinch-run if I need him to but he’s not 100 percent.

“Jason is basically a hitter. He had a nice year offensively. And he does play the corners in the outfield, also. Most of this is when you need to win a game to have a fit off your bench. That’s most of what this is but some of them may get some starts.”

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