MILWAUKEE — For the Atlanta Braves Marquez Valdes-Scantling Color Rush Jersey , the big question as they headed from a long three-game series in Yankee Stadium to Milwaukee concerns the status of star first baseman Freddie Freeman.
All indications are Freeman will play the opener of a four-game series with the Milwaukee Brewers, but it will not be official until the lineup card is posted Thursday afternoon at Miller Park.
“If you ask him, he’s going to say yes,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “But until we get there and see how it is, we won’t know. It was probably good that we got him out of there and started on some treatment.”
Freeman exited in the fourth inning of Thursday’s 6-2 loss to the New York Yankee Stadium with an upper right arm contusion. He was injured when he was hit in the third inning by CC Sabathia, and by pulling him early to get treatment, Freeman and the Braves hope the precautionary measure means he can play Thursday.
“Luckily, it didn’t hit my hand,” Freeman said. “I’ll take the elbow and a little soreness. As long as I have the strength in my arm tomorrow, I can deal with the pain.”
Atlanta is 4-2 on its 10-game trip. The Braves swept three games in St. Louis last weekend and took a 5-3, 11-inning victory over the Yankees on Monday before losing the last two games.
“I thought we handled ourselves really well,” Snitker said. “We won a really tough game the first night, we put ourselves in a position to win today and today here we come again. The guys never quit. They know they can play with anybody and it’s a good sign.”
Milwaukee (51-35) is the first team in the National League to reach 50 wins after completing a three-game sweep of the Minnesota Twins with a 3-2 win on Wednesday.
Brad Miller and Nate Orf played roles in three close wins as Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell is employing a mix-and-match approach at shortstop. He is using that strategy while remaining optimistic that shortstop Orlando Arcia will rediscover his offensive stroke at Triple-A Colorado Springs and rejoin Milwaukee for a playoff push.
Miller has gotten off to a good start with the Brewers. He extended his hitting streak to nine games Wednesday and has a hit in 10 of 12 games since joining the team, with a pair of home runs.
Orf was batting .307 with an .875 OPS when he was summoned Monday from Triple-A and recorded his first career hit with a solo home run against the Twins.
Both are immediate offensive upgrades to Arcia, who was slashing .197/.231/.482 but remained in the regular lineup because of his defensive ability.
While Miller saw extensive action at the position earlier in his career and Orf has spent most of the season there at Colorado Springs Authentic Baker Mayfield Jersey , neither player is a natural shortstop so Counsell was prepared to sacrifice defense to shore up the bottom of the order.
“When we sent Orlando down, we had multiple players on the roster who aren’t true shortstops so we’re trying to find guys who can play shortstop and who can kind of fill in at shortstop,” he said. “I don’t think we have an answer, but this is how we’re going to try it.”
A more stable solution could be coming soon. Tyler Saladino was on a roll before suffering a severe ankle sprain on May 29.
In 16 games with the Brewers, he batted .324 with three home runs and eight RBIs while playing defense well enough to make it possible for Milwaukee to send Arcia down a first time on May 25.
Saladino has been rehabbing for the last week and could rejoin the team in the next few days.
“Tyler will be back soon and will end up having some of the shortstop duties,” Counsell said. “We’ll sit down here soon and figure that out.”
The right-handed hitting Orf is likely to get the starting nod Thursday when the Brewers face Braves left-hander Max Fried.
Fried (1-2, 2.55 ERA) returned to the rotation last week when Brandon McCarthy was placed on the disabled list and struck out 11 over 6 2/3 innings and earned his first victory of the season as Atlanta beat the Cardinals in St. Louis.
Fried remained with the team after his last outing but didn’t learn for sure that he’d get another start until Wednesday morning. He’s looking forward to getting his first taste of meaningful action as the two winningest teams in the National League face off for the first time this season.
Milwaukee counters with right-hander Jhoulys Chacin (6-3, 3.71) who bounced back from his worst outing of the season to hold the Cincinnati Reds to a run over five innings while striking out nine his last time out.
Signed to a two-year contract over the winter, Chacin has been a stabilizing force in the Brewers’ rotation. He leads the staff with 18 starts and 97 innings his season.
Chacin has pitched well against Atlanta throughout his career, posting a 3.94 ERA in six previous starts. Due to a lack of run support in those contests, is just 1-4 lifetime against the Braves.
When John Tavares‘ contract ran out with the New York Islanders, he took the opportunity to talk with other teams.
”I felt like I owed it to myself to see what else was out there,” Tavares said.
Tavares’ exploration led him to rediscover his childhood affinity for the Maple Leafs, and his confidence in Toronto’s future led him to sign a monster $77 million, seven-year contract. The Islanders were left with nothing http://www.steelersauthorizedshops.com/authentic-chukwuma-okorafor-jersey , a mistake other NHL franchises seem determined not to make.
Don’t wait. Sometimes not even a day.
On Sunday, when Tavares’ departure left a void on Long Island, the Sharks signed Logan Couture, Coyotes signed Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Kings signed Drew Doughty and Lightning signed Ryan McDonagh to long-term deals. None of them would have been free agents until July 1, 2019, and this was the first possible chance to ink extensions that begin more than a year from now.
It’s worth every penny to San Jose, Arizona, Los Angeles and Tampa Bay to get those contracts done now rather than risk a key player even exploring unrestricted free agency like Tavares did.
”If you wait too long and you get into the situation where they have the potential to walk or explore the UFA market, that can be challenging times,” Sharks general manager Doug Wilson said.
The Ottawa Senators are trapped in such challenging times. They made a contract offer to Norris Trophy-winning captain and 2019 free agent Erik Karlsson, but it’s not a great sign that the real negotiating is only just beginning.
”We’re not going there,” GM Pierre Dorion said. ”We don’t really want to talk about roster players, contract negotiations, trades http://www.jaguarsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-ronnie-harrison-jersey , all these things, but I think we owe it to our fans and we made a promise at the town hall that we would make a contract offer to Erik Karlsson and we’ve done so.”
Tick, tick, tick. Even a year away, the pressure is on the Senators to sign Karlsson long term or trade him before the deadline so they don’t end up like the Islanders.
The Coyotes made sure they wouldn’t be in that spot by locking up Ekman-Larsson to a $66 million, eight-year deal that the soon-to-be 27-year-old defenseman called ”a no-brainer.” Arizona GM John Chayka calls it ”a huge moment for our entire organization” because there’s now no fear of losing Ekman-Larsson for nothing.
”A superstar-caliber player has the option to basically go to any of the 31 teams and felt the loyalty, felt the belief in what we were doing enough to sign on long term,” Chayka said, adding that the Coyotes had to convince Ekman-Larsson with actions that they were moving in the right direction.
The Kings convinced Doughty of that so much, he knew all season he was going to re-sign. He’s building a new house in the LA area, is getting married this summer and is ready to start a family in a place he wants to stay for essentially the balance of his career.
”I never wanted to leave there, to be honest,” Doughty said. ”It will be nice not to answer the question, `Hey are you coming to Toronto? You’re coming to the Leafs, right?’ No http://www.buccaneersauthorizedshops.com/authentic-ronald-jones-ii-jersey , I’m not coming to the Leafs, everyone.”
Doughty signing for $88 million over eight years sets the bar for Karlsson, who could face similar questions if he goes into the season without a future contract like Tavares did. Over the past week, Tavares began wondering if he would play for his hometown Maple Leafs, a bond too deep for the Islanders to overcome.
Couture grew up not far from Toronto, but he never entertained that possibility because he signed a $64 million, eight-year deal with the Sharks. Couture respected Tavares’ choice and made his own without much difficulty.
”We have some very good players: Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Brent Burns, Martin Jones, Evander Kane – very, very good players – Joe Pavelski,” Couture said, rattling off core players all signed long term. ”I want to win. That’s my goal as a hockey player. I believe that San Jose has and will continue to have a very, very good chance at winning in the future. That’s why my decision was so easy.”
It was just as easy for McDonagh, who signed a $47.25 million http://www.49ersauthorizedshops.com/authentic-tarvarius-moore-jersey , seven-year deal with the Lightning, who acquired him at the trade deadline. McDonagh was comfortable with Tampa Bay, which went through an almost-Tavares situation two years ago with captain Steven Stamkos before signing him on the eve of free agency.
Days after signing Stamkos in 2016, the Lightning extended top defenseman Victor Hedman at the first possibly moment like they did with McDonagh. GM Steve Yzerman knows how to work ahead, which is often essential in today’s NHL with important players.
”(If you wait), you don’t really know how it’s going to go,” Yzerman said. ”We go into next year for both parties, we don’t know, and I think it’s worthwhile exploring the opportunity now.”