Nelson starts as Brewers face familiar foe

Nelson starts as Brewers face familiar foe

Jaime Garcia found great success against the Brewers in his eight seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals.

The left-hander will look to continue to excel vs. Milwaukee, only this time wearing a different uniform when he takes the mound for the Braves at Miller Park on Saturday night. Atlanta staged two big rallies to win the series-opening slugfest.

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Andrew Gruman is a contributor to MLB.com based in Milwaukee. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Braun quietly setting up for career season

Perhaps overshadowed by Thames' sizzling start, Brewers star writing his own story

Braun quietly setting up for career season

MILWAUKEE -- In any other year, Ryan Braun's opening month might be a big story for the .500 Brewers. With three more hits, including a two-run home run in Friday's 10-8 loss to the Braves, Braun is among the 20 most productive players in baseball in terms of home runs, OPS, weighted runs created plus and hard-hit percentage.

But he is not Eric Thames, the man who has garnered most of the attention for a sizzling start.

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Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Brewers bash 3 big HRs, but lose 2 big leads

Brewers bash 3 big HRs, but lose 2 big leads

MILWAUKEE -- Freddie Freeman's two-run homer in the ninth gave the Braves a 10-8 victory over the Brewers after Atlanta overcame a pair of four-run deficits on Friday night at Miller Park.

The Braves trailed 4-0 after two innings and 8-4 after the sixth, but battled back to tie the game on Kurt Suzuki's pinch-hit single in the eighth inning before winning on Freeman's eighth home run in the ninth. Freeman was 0-for-4 on the night before he connected with a Neftali Feliz fastball and lined it 106 mph off the bat, according to Statcast™, to center field.

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

Andrew Gruman is a contributor to MLB.com based in Milwaukee and covered the Braves on Friday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Lopez fans 10 in strong outing for Biloxi

Lopez fans 10 in strong outing for Biloxi

Francisco Mejia has already piled up plenty of hits for Double-A Akron this season, but it wasn't until Friday night that the Indians' No. 2 prospect entered the home run column, connecting on a solo shot in the ninth inning of the RubberDucks' 6-1 win over Bowie. Mejia, ranked 36th on MLBPipeline.com's list of the Top 100 Prospects, collected three hits in a game for the first time this season, finishing 3-for-5 with a pair of singles in addition to the home run.

The 20-year-old catcher, who had his season-opening 13-game hitting streak snapped on Tuesday, is batting .355/.391/.548 through 20 games this season in his first Double-A exposure.

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Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Back on mound, Guerra striding toward return

Out with calf strain since Opening Day start, Brewers righty to toss live BP in next step

Back on mound, Guerra striding toward return

MILWAUKEE -- Nearing the end of his fourth week on the disabled list, Brewers Opening Day starter Junior Guerra is back on the mound and making progress toward a return to the active roster.

Guerra, who strained his right calf running to first base in the third inning of the Brewers' Opening Day loss to the Rockies, threw 30 pitches off the bullpen mound Wednesday and is scheduled to throw another 45 or so pitches on Saturday before Milwaukee plays the Braves at Miller Park. If that goes well, he said he expects to face hitters in a pair of live batting practice sessions during the team's next road trip to St. Louis and Pittsburgh.

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Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Thames' tear unsurprising to childhood coach

Bettencourt on slugger's early diligence: 'Baseball was everything to him'

Thames' tear unsurprising to childhood coach

MILWAUKEE -- The hitting guru was in the middle of a lesson when 12-year-old Eric Thames knocked on his door. Thames had run the three miles to Joe Bettencourt's San Jose, Calif., home with bat in hand, just as he would do the next day and the day after that, and for years after that, until Thames was old enough and strapping enough that Bettencourt suggested it might not be the best idea for a young man to be running city streets with a baseball bat.

The notion had never occurred to Thames. All he could think about was hitting.

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Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Eric Thames' meditation might help him hit HRs

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Eric Thames' meditation might help him hit HRs

The following is a transcript of a segment from this week's episode of the Cut4Cast podcast. To hear more of the Cut4 staff's weekly banterings about which position player is the best at pitching or how baseball would work in outer space, subscribe to the Cut4Cast by clicking here.

Even though we're only four weeks into the season, Eric Thames is already a legend. After playing in Korea for three years, he's finally made his return to MLB, and we're guessing you've heard about it. 

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Brewers pound out 14 hits in sweep of Reds

Brewers pound out 14 hits in sweep of Reds

MILWAUKEE -- The Reds finally kept Eric Thames in the yard, but the Brewers enjoyed another big day at the plate anyway, completing a three-game sweep with a 9-4 win on Wednesday at Miller Park.

Thames singled, walked twice and scored two runs -- extending to 27 his club record for runs scored in April -- before making an early exit in the eighth inning  due to a tight left hamstring. He did not hit a home run for the first time in the Brewers' seven games against the Reds this season, but Brewers shortstop Orlando Arcia did, a two-run shot in the third inning as part of a three-RBI afternoon. Catcher Jett Bandy had three hits and two RBIs.

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

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Thames exits with tight left hamstring

Thames exits with tight left hamstring

MILWAUKEE -- A .489 on-base percentage and Major League-leading 27 runs scored do have some downside. Brewers first baseman Eric Thames proved it Wednesday, when he left the Brewers' 9-4 win over the Reds in the middle of Scott Schebler's at-bat leading off the top of the eighth inning due to a tight left hamstring, a minor ailment which Thames said had been bothering him for the past five days.

The abrupt exit marked an official end to his bid for a home run in every game against Cincinnati this season.

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Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Brewers finding first inning friendly

Brewers finding first inning friendly

MILWAUKEE -- Craig Counsell called it "fun with numbers," the fact the 12-11 Brewers have led at some point in 21 of their first 23 games. His club has been no fun for opposing pitchers, particularly in the first inning.

With five more runs in the opening inning of Wednesday's 9-4 win over the Reds, the Brewers have outscored opponents, 27-8, in first innings this season. The Rays, who were scheduled to play later in the day at Baltimore, were second with 25 runs in the first inning.

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Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Worth the wait: Thames T-shirts available

Worth the wait: Thames T-shirts available

MILWAUKEE -- Eric Thames mania has swept Milwaukee, but where's the merch? Fear not, American consumer, for it has arrived.

Before a limited supply of shirseys -- T-shirts with a printed player name and number -- hit the virtual shelves of MLBShop.com and the actual shelves at Miller Park, you could buy a Kirk Nieuwenhuis tee or a Hank the Dog coffee mug, but the name "Thames" was conspicuously absent from the cornucopia of collectibles. That, despite the fact the first baseman had the hottest name in Major League Baseball, leading the way in home runs, slugging percentage, total bases and OPS, among other categories.

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Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Mike Petriello

Patient power: Thames showing elite discipline

Brewers' first baseman offering at just 15.3 percent of non-strikes

Patient power: Thames showing elite discipline

You can probably forgive fans for looking at the stunning early-season production of Eric Thames and wondering how this is possible. How is it even remotely realistic that a 30-year-old first baseman who couldn't stick with the Blue Jays or Mariners (or the Orioles' Triple-A team) five years ago could go to the other side of the world and suddenly learn to hit like this?

As you can imagine, not all of the suggestions have been friendly ones. But the truth is, answering the question of how Thames is doing this is the easy part. It's something hitters have known is true for decades, and it's a shockingly simple strategy:

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Mike Petriello is an analyst for MLB.com and the host of the Statcast podcast. He has previously written for ESPN Insider and FanGraphs. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Perez sets record for total bases for SS, OF

Perez sets record for total bases for SS, OF

MILWAUKEE -- Brewers uber-utility man Hernan Perez quietly set a Major League record in Tuesday's 9-1 win over the Reds. His 10 total bases set a new single-game standard for a player who manned shortstop and center field, surpassing another Brewer, Jose Hernandez, who logged nine total bases while playing those spots in a win over the Giants in 2001.

That statistic may sound obscure, but the value of a productive offensive player capable of holding down the two most premium defensive positions was not lost on Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell.

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Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Thames responds to suspicions after hot start

First baseman sets Brewers record with 11th April homer

Thames responds to suspicions after hot start

MILWAUKEE -- Eric Thames understands the suspicions. If it were some other player hitting home runs at a record pace, especially after playing three years abroad, Thames might be suspicious himself.

But after hitting his Major League-leading 11th home run in the Brewers' 9-1 win Tuesday -- giving Thames more homers (eight) in six games against the Reds than any other Major Leaguer has homers, period -- Thames submitted to a random drug test for the second time this month and responded to those who have been whispering he must be "on something" to hit like this.

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Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Perez's 2 triples, HR lead Crew to win vs. Reds

Perez's 2 triples, HR lead Crew to win vs. Reds

MILWAUKEE -- Eric Thames did it again, and he is not the only Brewers hitter teeing off against the Reds.

Thames continued his habit of hitting a home run every time the teams play, lifting a two-run shot amid a five-run sixth inning in the Brewers' 9-1 win on Tuesday at Miller Park. Hernan Perez also homered after hitting a pair of run-scoring triples, and Jonathan Villar drove in four runs for Milwaukee's fifth victory in six games against Cincinnati this season.

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

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Thames, Perez slug Crew past Reds in opener

Thames, Perez slug Crew past Reds in opener

MILWAUKEE -- Eric Thames is the early-season toast of Major League Baseball, but you don't have to remind the Reds. Thames has hit as many home runs in five games against Cincinnati -- seven -- as any other big leaguer has hit this season, period.

Thames went deep in each of the first two innings of the Brewers' 11-7 win over the Reds on Monday at Miller Park, where Milwaukee roughed up rookie left-hander Amir Garrett and Thames ran his MLB-best home run total to 10, matching a franchise record for April.

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

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Crew cuts: Thames rips 2 HRs! April record?

Brewers first baseman has 7 dingers in 5 games against Cincinnati

Crew cuts: Thames rips 2 HRs! April record?

MILWAUKEE -- After putting up video-game numbers during three years in South Korea, Eric Thames is doing the same in his return to Major League Baseball.

Thames added two home runs, two walks, three RBIs and three runs scored to his outrageously productive April in the Brewers' 11-7 win over the Reds at Miller Park on Monday, running his Major League-leading home run total to 10 and tying Carlos Lee's franchise record for dingers in the opening month while setting a new mark with 24 runs scored.

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Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Richard Justice

Thames' story a powerfully uplifting one

Brewers slugger proving to be a real find after three seasons in Korea

Thames' story a powerfully uplifting one

How much fun is it to watch Brewers first baseman Eric Thames play right now? There's power and discipline in that swing. There's joy, too, because the backstory is so sweet and so improbable.

Thames has been the most productive player in the Majors this season. He hit two more home runs on Monday night in the Brewers' 11-7 win over the Reds, bringing his homer total to 10, which is three more than any other player in the Major Leagues has.

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Richard Justice is a columnist for MLB.com. You can follow him on Twitter @richardjustice. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Phillips homers again for Colorado Springs

Phillips homers again for Colorado Springs

Posting zeroes has become the norm for Class A Kane County's Jon Duplantier in the first month of the Minor League season. On Monday, the D-backs' No. 8 prospect fired five dominant frames to extend his scoreless innings streak to 20 1/3 to begin the season.

Duplantier, 22, allowed three hits and struck out eight batters en route to his first professional win. He generated six ground-ball outs and did not record a flyout in the outing, throwing 45 of his 69 pitches for strikes in his third start (and fourth appearance) for the Cougars.

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Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Counsell, Crew consider having pitcher hit 8th

Former Brewer Gennett returns to Miller Park with Reds

Counsell, Crew consider having pitcher hit 8th

MILWAUKEE -- With leadoff man Jonathan Villar emerging from a slow start and two-hole hitter Eric Thames still swinging a hot bat, Brewers manager Craig Counsell said the team has "talked quite a bit, actually," about batting the pitcher eighth, an alignment he has not employed since last May.

The personnel must be right for it to make sense, Counsell said. When it works well, teams maximize the number of times their top-of-the-order hitters step to the plate with men on base -- but there is sometimes a tradeoff.

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Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Nieuwenhuis joins Brewers' young Triple-A OF

Counsell assured the club's top prospects will remain priority

Nieuwenhuis joins Brewers' young Triple-A OF

MILWAUKEE -- Kirk Nieuwenhuis is on his way to Triple-A Colorado Springs after accepting an outright assignment on Monday, and it's up to the veteran manager there, Rick Sweet, to figure out how to fit him in.

Brewers manager Craig Counsell, who spoke with Sweet on Monday afternoon, assured onlookers that Nieuwenhuis' arrival will not cut into the development of outfield prospects Lewis Brinson (No. 1 on MLBPipeline.com's list of the top Brewers prospects), Brett Phillips (No. 10) and Ryan Cordell (No. 16) all off whom are off to great starts. The SkySox also have former top-30 prospect Kyle Wren, at 26 nearly four years younger than Nieuwnenhuis, already in the mix.

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Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Brewers OF leads Pipeline Team of the Week

Brewers OF leads Pipeline Team of the Week

MLBPipeline.com's Prospect Team of the Week honors the best performances from the previous seven days. Any player currently on an organization Top 30 Prospects list on our Prospect Watch is eligible, including big leaguers.

The latest edition of MLBPipeline.com's Prospect Team of the Week (April 17-23) is led by an all Milwaukee Brewers outfield, with Lewis Brinson, Monte Harrison and Demi Orimoloye all earning a spot. This marks the first time one team has accounted for all three outfield spots on the Team of the Week.

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Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Villar starting to see benefits of extra work

Villar starting to see benefits of extra work

MILWAUKEE -- The hits have started to fall for Brewers leadoff man Jonathan Villar, and it's been a team effort, from the video room to the indoor batting cage to the dugout.

The biggest factor, Villar said, is that he was granted the opportunity to swing his way through an early-season funk.

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Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Nelson struggles with walks, late rally falls short

Nelson struggles with walks, late rally falls short

MILWAUKEE -- Mike Leake grabbed a bat and did his best Adam Wainwright impersonation, while Jimmy Nelson remained 0-for-St. Louis.

Leake, who entered the day as the National League's ERA leader, surrendered multiple runs for the first time this season, but made up for it by hitting a go-ahead, two-run single in the fourth, capping a three-run Cardinals rally in their 6-4 win over Nelson and the Brewers at Miller Park on Sunday. The Brewers mounted a valiant effort in the bottom of the ninth but fell for the fifth time in six games, while the Cardinals have won six of their last seven.

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

Andrew Gruman is a contributor to MLB.com based in Milwaukee.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Suter optioned to make room for Garza

Righty pitches scoreless inning, picks off baserunner in game Sunday

Suter optioned to make room for Garza

MILWAUKEE -- Brent Suter's latest stint in the big leagues was capped by a new career-high for crowd noise.

Suter, sent back to Triple-A Colorado Springs after the Brewers' 6-4 loss to the Cardinals on Sunday, worked a scoreless seventh inning that ended with Cardinals first baseman Matt Carpenter and manager Mike Matheny drawing ejections from plate umpire John Tumpane.

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Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cordell homers in four-hit game for Sky Sox

Cordell homers in four-hit game for Sky Sox

It seems like every time he takes the mound, Kolby Allard keeps showing why the Braves drafted him No. 14 overall two years ago.

The 19-year-old left-hander, already pitching for Double-A Mississippi, has a 1.29 ERA through his first four starts of 2017 after tossing five scoreless innings against the Montgomery Biscuits on Sunday. Allard scattered five hits, walked one and struck out five.

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David Adler is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @_dadler. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Brewers not ready to call up prospect Brinson

Outfielder tearing up Triple-A, but Crew fans should remain patient

Brewers not ready to call up prospect Brinson

MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers' top prospect, Lewis Brinson, is off to a great start at Triple-A, and you can almost hear the drumbeat beginning outside Miller Park. "When," fans are beginning to ask, "will we see this guy in Milwaukee?"

Barring a sudden change in circumstances, not imminently, GM David Stearns said Saturday. He cited a number of factors which lead club officials to believe Brinson is best served -- for now -- by remaining in Colorado Springs, where he went 5-for-8, including his third home run, in a doubleheader Friday. The performance pushed his average to .410, highest in the Brewers' Minor League system, and his OPS to 1.196, third-best in the Pacific Coast League.

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Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.