Counsell managing Thames' workload

Counsell managing Thames' workload

SAN DIEGO -- The Brewers posted their lineup for Monday's opener with the Padres and the first question was as easy to guess as one-two-three.

Someone asked Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell about his Nos. 2-4 hitters

"I like our [Nos.] 2-3-4 hitters tonight,'' Counsell said. "I'm good with them.''

Good enough, but it took Counsell three attempts to name them: Eric Sogard, Hernan Perez and Jesus Aguilar.

Usually, those slots are occupied by Eric Thames, Travis Shaw and Ryan Braun.

Thames, who is tied for the National League lead with 13 home runs, was sick. Shaw, the Brewers' top RBI producer with 31, was nursing a sore right index finger. Braun, meanwhile, remains on the 10-day disabled list with a strained left calf.

Although the skies were friendly for the Brewers' flight from Milwaukee to San Diego, Thames had a rough flight. He got sick at some point, didn't feel better throughout Monday and was laying low during batting practice.

The rest also lets Thames recharge his taxed legs, which is a double bonus for Counsell.

"It's not so much the legs, he is under the weather,'' Counsell said. "So obviously I was a little concerned about his legs, but you put both of them together, it's just a night off, really.''

But when Thames returns to being chipper, Counsell will be cognizant of his work load. There are more demands on a player in the Majors than in South Korea, where Thames played the past three seasons.

"I think we're going to have to be careful with Eric's legs," Counsell said. "He's not operating at 100 percent, for sure. I'm a little cautious about that right now on a regular basis. [Perez] is playing pretty well, too. There are times, certainly, to get [Aguilar's] bat in there at some point. We're going to have to take care of Eric's legs, for sure."

Shaw jammed his right index finger when fielding a grounder in Sunday's dramatic win over the New York Mets and wasn't able to finish the game. The third baseman was hoping when he awoke in San Diego it would feel better.

"Not very good,'' Shaw said when asked how his finger felt. "It's still swollen and I don't have much range of motion.''

Shaw speculated the four-hour plane ride to the West Coast didn't help the inflammation. But more than anything, it was his digit being hit flush by the baseball which caused him to be out of the lineup.

"We're going to see how it is tomorrow,'' Counsell said. "He's day to day.''

Once the swelling ceases, Shaw said he'll have a better idea of when he can return.

"As soon as the swelling goes down, then it's just a matter of the pain tolerance,'' Shaw said. "Maybe by Tuesday the swelling will be down, and if not then, by Wednesday.''

Braun is eligible to return on Sunday, but don't expect any news until Friday, when the Brewers play the Cubs.

"You got until Chicago for a Ryan update,'' Counsell said. "You won't get one in the next four days. That's seven days and that's when we are going to start talking about it again. That's my rule.''

Worth noting

• Right-hander Jhan Marinez was designated for assignment on Monday. Martinez, 0-2 with a 5.40 ERA in 15 games, had issued 11 walks in 16 2/3 innings.

"He just couldn't get on track,'' Counsell said. "He's an exceptional kid, but his command this year went the other way on him, the walks came back. We just felt this was the way to go right now.''

Southpaw Brent Suter was recalled from Triple-A Colorado Springs to take Marinez's spot in the bullpen.

Jay Paris is a contributor to MLB.com based in San Diego who covered the Brewers on Monday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.