Sogard bringing 'nerd power' to Miller Park

Sogard bringing 'nerd power' to Miller Park

MILWAUKEE -- After missing all of last season with neck and knee injuries, Eric Sogard announced his return to Major League Baseball with some nerd power.

That's not a derogatory term, but one the bespectacled Sogard embraced halfway through his six-year tenure with the A's. It was appropriate Friday night, when Sogard celebrated a promotion from Triple-A by connecting against Matt Harvey for a go-ahead two-run home run to the second deck at Miller Park, powering the Brewers' 7-4 win over the Mets.

Nerd power.

"It took me a little while to embrace it, but I did," said Sogard, who started seeing that phrase in the stands in Oakland around 2013. "The fans out there were fantastic. It's special to have fans out there and signs doing that for you. I'm grateful for that."

So if the fans at Miller Park showed up with "nerd power" signs of their own, he would approve?

"Absolutely," Sogard said. "Bring it on. Why not?"

Sogard was something of a surprise callup Friday after the Brewers made a more expected move by placing left fielder Ryan Braun on the 10-day disabled list due to a strained left calf. Instead of recalling an outfielder -- top Brewers prospect Lewis Brinson was at least tangentially discussed, GM David Stearns said -- the team decided it could cover Braun's absence with a combination of Hernan Perez, Eric Thames and Nick Franklin. Sogard, a left-handed hitter capable of playing multiple positions, got the call instead.

Sogard landed in Chicago at about 1:30 p.m. CT on Friday and had a text message informing him that his first appearance in the Major Leagues since September 2015 -- before the neck injury that delayed the start of his 2016 season and the left knee surgery in May that ended it -- would be as Milwaukee's starting shortstop.

"Obviously, having major surgery like that, you truly never know," said Sogard. "It took a little bit longer time to progress through my rehab, but I got after it this offseason and it was kind of perfect timing going into the spring with a new organization."

Sogard came to the Brewers on a Minor League contract, and said he viewed a season-opening assignment to Triple-A Colorado Springs as an opportunity to re-establish some confidence in a hitter-friendly environment. That's exactly what he did, hitting .330 with three home runs and 17 RBIs in 24 games with the SkySox.

Sogard also led the team with 15 walks, which is how he began his Brewers tenure. Sogard worked a walk in his first Brewers plate appearance in the second inning, again in the fourth and was ahead in the count against Harvey in the sixth before connecting on a 2-0 pitch with a runner aboard and hitting a home run that snapped a 2-2 tie.

"He had a great game," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "The walks are what you expect from him, for sure. But the home run, Harvey was having trouble throwing strikes for whatever reason, and [Sogard] had a good count. He was having good counts all night and sat on a pitch and threw a great swing on it.

"It's great to see. He's been a good player in this league, so to get back is good for him."

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.