Royals, Duffy won’t face Cain in series finale at Milwaukee
The Brewers had hoped that by resting Cain on Sunday against St. Louis ahead of a team off-day Monday, the veteran center fielder would be ready to return to action against his former team.
Instead, they’ll go at least another week without him after placing him on the disabled list with a strained groin.
“After going through treatment the last couple of days, he’s unable to play,” manager Craig Counsell said. “We think it’s mild and it’s going to be a short stay (on the DL), but we just didn’t think it was worth waiting three or four days to see if he’s ready to go.
“He’s only out for eight days, after missing two already, then we’ll reassess. We’re hoping it’s on the short end.”
Even if it’s a short stay, the loss is a big one for the Brewers, who signed Cain to a five-year, $80 million contract this winter. He’s been a force atop the Brewers’ lineup, batting .291 with eight home runs and 26 RBIs while posting a .394 on-base percentage and .832 OPS.
“He’s a good player; he’s having a great season,” Counsell said. “But this is part of a baseball season. We have to be equipped to handle losses. I think we are. It’s been a strength of this team so far and how we’ve gotten to this point.”
With Cain out, the Brewers recalled outfielder Keon Broxton from Colorado Springs.
Broxton is expected to join the team Wednesday. It will mark the first big-league appearance of the season for Broxton, who hit 20 home runs with 21 stolen bases in 143 games for Milwaukee last season but became the odd man out after Cain and Christian Yelich were acquired over the offseason.
“He’s been swinging the bat pretty well lately,” Counsell said of Broxton, who was batting .263 with nine home runs and 35 RBIs at Colorado Springs.
Counsell said Travis Shaw will likely sit out again Wednesday, too. He’s been dealing with a sore wrist for much of the last two weeks and left Milwaukee’s game Sunday after aggravating the injury during a third-inning at-bat against St. Louis.
“I think Travis is going to be OK,” Counsell said. “We’re hoping to avoid a DL stint. The tricky part is if we can get past it. If we don’t think we’re going to get past it, we’ll have to talk about the disabled list with him as well.
“He’s much better than he was yesterday and Sunday. So, I think we’re going in the right direction. There’s nothing structural in there. It’s a wrist strain. Hopefully, he’ll be all right.”
Brent Suter (8-4, 4.15 ERA) will start for Milwaukee, looking for his fourth consecutive victory. The left-hander has been superb during his winning streak, posting a 2.84 ERA while holding batters to a .185 average and a .551 OPS.
Suter has been no slouch at the plate, either. He is 5-for-14 with a home run, three walks and three RBIs over his last nine starts.
“I love hitting,” Suter said. “I’ve loved it my whole life. Even when I’m struggling, I still like going up there and trying to whack it. It’s one of my favorite parts besides pitching in the game.”
He’s had more opportunity to step into the box lately because he’s been working significantly deeper into games. Suter worked through the seventh in each of his last two starts.
“It’s something I trained for in the offseason, so to see it be able to come to fruition the last couple starts feels good,” Suter said.
Suter has never faced the Royals.
Left-hander Danny Duffy will start for Kansas City. He held the Astros scoreless on two hits over six innings in his last outing but took a no-decision as the Royals rallied late for a 1-0 victory.
It was a rare bright spot in what’s been a painful month for the Royals, who are 4-19 since June 1 and have lost 12 of their last 14 games — six by four or more runs.
“We’re all frustrated,” Yost said. “I’ve never seen anything like it. I’ve never been a part of a month like this. An offensive drought like we’ve had all month long is pretty puzzling. There’s no answer for it.”