Notebook: Brewers’ Ramirez confident he’ll return to action soon
Milwaukee veteran Aramis Ramirez said an MRI taken on Monday of his ailing lower back didn't reveal a serious injury. The 36-year-old is hitting .367 with two home runs, four doubles and seven RBI over his last nine games.
MILWAUKEE — Despite being out of the lineup for the fourth straight day Monday with a lower back injury, Milwaukee Brewers third baseman Aramis Ramirez is optimistic he will not have to go on the disabled list.
Ramirez said an MRI taken Monday morning didn’t reveal a serious injury.
"We’ll see how it is (Tuesday)," Ramirez said. "It’s a day-by-day thing. I’m going to try to avoid the DL. I don’t think it’s a DL stint.
"It’s basically just a muscle strain. It’s a thing that can take a few days."
Ramirez first felt the injury during his last at-bat in Milwaukee’s 14-4 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday. He was originally in the lineup Thursday but was a late scratch.
"The other day I couldn’t hardly move," Ramirez said. "Today I was able to do more stuff, and I’m going to do more exercises now."
The injury came just as Ramirez was heating up after a slow start to the season. The 36-year-old is hitting .367 with two home runs, four doubles and seven RBI over his last nine games.
"He’s a middle-of-the-order bat for you," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "It’s nice to have those guys in the lineup as much as possible. But stuff happens and it’s next-man-up. (Elian Herrera) has been in there a couple days now and had a big hit (Sunday), so we’ll go with it again."
Lineup change: The top of Milwaukee’s lineup has a different look Monday, as Counsell shook things up for the series opener against the Chicago White Sox. Gerardo Parra is leading off, with Ryan Braun up to the second spot. Adam Lind was bumped up from the cleanup spot to hit third, while Carlos Gomez is hitting cleanup after batting leadoff in the 14 games he’s played in 2015.
The Brewers have now used 32 different starting lineups in 33 games this season. Their only duplicate lineups came on April 7 and April 8 against Colorado.
"Every night, it’s going to be just putting the best group, the best tandems that can then help put runs on the board," Counsell said. "That’s what we’re going to do every night. And you’re cognizant of getting matchups later in the game and you’re cognizant of what we’ve got on the bench later in the game. That’s everything that goes into it."
Parra and Braun hit first and second in the 2014 season final, while Gomez hasn’t hit the cleanup spot since last July 7. With Khris Davis and Jean Segura out of the lineup, Scooter Gennett is hitting fifth with Martin Maldonado in the sixth spot.
Elian Herrera is making his fourth straight start at third in place of Ramirez, while Hector Gomez is at shortstop for Segura, who was given the day off Monday.
"I want to put guys in positions to be the best player they can," Counsell said. "And I want for guys to understand what they’re good at and how they’re good and how they perform at their best. Your at-bat is your at-bat. You take your at-bat and you take four good at-bats every night no matter where you hit in the lineup."
Heavy workload: A year after left-hander Will Smith tied for second in appearances, right-hander Jeremy Jeffress is currently tied for the league lead in games pitched.
Jeffress has appeared in 18 of Milwaukee’s 32 games and has a 3.24 ERA over 16 2/3 innings.
"Your goal is never to have a reliever that leads the league in appearances," Counsell said. "But he’s been really efficient lately. When you are looking at who is coming up, his name is the name you think about a lot.
"Obviously you are very aware of it, but it is kind of a daily thing. We have to get him rest, but when he does it this efficiently, it is a good sign."