Tagged in: Milwaukee Brewers

Milwaukee Brewers slugger Ryan Braun announces retirement

Ryan Braun, the 2011 National League MVP and franchise home run king for the Milwaukee Brewers, revealed his retirement Tuesday.

The six-time All-Star selection has not played this season after becoming a free agent when the Brewers declined to exercise a $15 million mutual option in his contract last October.

“I have weighed this decision for many months,” Braun, 37, said in a video posted to social media by the Brewers. “While I still love this game very much, the time is right for me to retire from my playing days.

“It’s difficult to describe my emotions today, but it starts with overwhelming gratitude to those who have shared this experience with me while offering their unconditional support at every turn. … I will forever appreciate the best fans in the game and the countless people who came out to the ballpark night after night, making Milwaukee the greatest city to play the game.”

In addition to his 352 home runs, Braun, who played all 14 of his MLB career with the Brewers, ranks second in franchise history in career RBIs (1,154), extra-base hits (809), total bases (3,525) and doubles (408). He ranks third in runs (1,080), hits (1,963), triples (49), stolen bases (216) and walks (586).

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“I am so fortunate to have enjoyed a 14-year career wearing the jersey of one team, and even more grateful that team is the Milwaukee Brewers,” Braun said. “I am retiring today from Major League Baseball, but my love for all those who supported me continues to grow. I cherish great memories from my time with the Brewers and will continue to build on the many friendships made in this amazing city.”

Braun batted a career-low .233 in 2020 with seven homers and 27 RBIs in 39 games while dealing with a back issue. He came on strong late in the season and had a .958 OPS in September.

His back issues prevented him from playing in the Brewers’ first-round playoff loss to the eventual World Series-champion Los Angeles Dodgers.

Braun was one of baseball’s best hitters from 2007 to 2012, but was never the same after he was suspended midway through the 2013 season for using performance-enhancing drugs. He acknowledged that he took banned substances while rehabilitating an injury and apologized.

From 2014 on, Braun never played more than 144 matches in a season and reached the 30-homer mark once after topping 30 homers five times in his first six years, including an NL-leading 41 in 2012. Still, he remained a key contributor for the Brewers.

“I always thought that the way Ryan’s last six or seven years went, he should be incredibly proud with how those years went,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell stated. “He should be incredibly proud of that. At that point, he had a story to write. He didn’t know how it was going to go, and I think he wrote a great story and that he should be proud of that.”

Braun was teammates with Counsell early in his career before eventually playing for him.

“What I always tell Ryan is, I always joke with him that, ‘Maybe besides your mom and your dad, I have seen you play baseball probably more than anyone in the world.’ I was there for every game throughout his career,” Counsell said. “I got a close seat for a vast majority of them. Watching him play was definitely an honor.”

The Brewers selected Braun with the fifth overall pick in the 2005 amateur draft out of Miami. He was named NL Rookie of the Year in 2007 and ranked in the top 15 in the MVP voting every year from 2008 to 2012. He finished second in the MVP balloting in 2012 and third in 2008.

The Brewers will honor Braun with an on-field ceremony on Sept. 26.

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Milwaukee Brewers rally from 7-run deficit in first inning to beat Chicago Cubs 15-7, sweep series

The stage was set for the Chicago Cubs to break a five-game losing streak and gain a game on the first-place Milwaukee Brewers, but after taking an early 7-0 lead on Wednesday, the Cubs became just the second team since 1900 to score seven or more runs in the first inning, only to lose by at least that many.

“A bad ending to not our best road trip,” Cubs manager David Ross said after the 15-7 loss.

The Brewers scored a run in the first, five more in the second and then put up eight in the fourth — the final four of those runs coming on a Willy Adames grand slam. Luis Urias then added another home run in the sixth — his second of the game.

“I don’t know what to say,” Adames said. “This one was crazy.” Cubs veteran pitcher Jake Arrieta couldn’t hold on to the lead and was pulled after just 1⅔ innings. The loss dropped the Cubs six games behind the Brewers after the two teams were tied for first in the NL Central just a week ago.

Milwaukee has won eight in a row, while Chicago has dropped its past six games after throwing a combined no-hitter versus the Los Angeles Dodgers last Thursday.

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“I think first place can go up and down before September,” Cubs shortstop Javier Baez said. “I’m not worried about that. Javy Baez is not worried about that. I’m not paying attention to that. We’re playing against pretty good teams.”

The Cubs completed a brutal month in terms of both travel and playing elite opponents.

The result was a 12-16 record and a franchise-worst (since 1900).1875 batting average in a calendar month. They hit .188 in April 1944.

Their current position in the standings might determine the direction of the front office with a month to go before the trade deadline. Ross knows the Cubs have something to prove to team brass. They have more than 10 players set to become free agents after this season.

“The key is for us to represent a winning product and something that can win a division and go into the playoffs and do something special,” Ross said.

The Brewers, meanwhile, have opened up the largest lead of any first-place team in baseball this campaign.

The Cubs find themselves in rare company. On April 26, 1976, the Giants scored seven runs in the first inning and also lost 15-7.

Over the past 20 seasons, according to ESPN Stats & Information research, there have been 8,691 instances of a team leading by seven runs at any point in a game. Entering Wednesday, only two of those teams had lost by eight-plus runs. Now there are three.

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James Harden (hamstring) struggles in 5-point return, but Brooklyn Nets win Game 5

Brooklyn Nets star James Harden was held to five points in his return to the starting lineup Tuesday night, but the Nets went on to defeat the Milwaukee Bucks 114-108 in Game 5 in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Brooklyn leads the series 3-2.

The decision to let Harden to play was made after he tested his right hamstring on the court before tipoff. He played 37 minutes and shot 1-for-10 from the field, missing all eight of his 3-point attempts, and went scoreless in the first half. He added six rebounds, eight assists and four turnovers.

It was the first time Harden was available to play in a game since June 5, when he injured his hamstring in the first minute of Game 1 of the series. Since then, he has been dealing with what the team has called hamstring tightness.

“I’m not sure the level of risk,” head coach Steve Nash said before the game. “I think it is James’ decision. He wants to play. Ultimately, he wants to play. He’s been pushing.”

Harden participated in the Nets’ shootaround Tuesday morning with improvement in his hamstring, and that prompted the team to upgrade his status from doubtful to questionable for Game 5, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

The Nets are preparing to be without guard Kyrie Irving (right ankle sprain) for the rest of the series, sources said. The team hasn’t officially ruled Irving out beyond Game 5.

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Nash stated Sunday that the team would try to approach the injuries as isolated incidents and not let Irving’s ankle sprain rush Harden back to the floor before his hamstring is fully healed.

Still, Nash admitted Monday that Irving’s injury was a “driving” factor for Harden in pushing to return.

“He wants to play,” Nash said. “He wants to win a championship. He loves the playoffs and the ability to play this time of year. So, I think it’s been really difficult for him on how much he cares, how much time he puts in, how much effort he’s put in to get to this position.”

Irving was injured midway through the second quarter of Sunday’s Game 4 in Milwaukee when he landed awkwardly on Giannis Antetokounmpo’s foot after making a layup over Jrue Holiday. Antetokounmpo crashed the paint in what was an attempt to help Holiday, who was the primary defender.

Irving remained on the ground for several minutes as Nash and the team’s athletic trainers attended to him. Eventually, Irving walked to the locker room without assistance but was limping. He left the arena in a walking boot and on crutches. An MRI on Monday confirmed Irving’s ankle sprain.

The Nets have battled injuries all campaign.

The Big Three of Harden, Irving and Kevin Durant played just eight games together in the regular season and six games together in the playoffs — including the game in which Harden was injured after just 43 seconds.

Harden missed 18 games in the regular season with a hamstring strain, and before that he missed two with hamstring tightness.

During warm-ups Tuesday, Harden was moving well as he shot, did cutting motions and threw passes to Jeff Green. Harden had protective kinesiology tape stretched over his right hamstring.

“We have to support him the best way we can,” Nash said of Harden, “and be an aid for him to figure this out, but it’s a tricky situation — but one that we are willing to go down with James. He’s just been unbelievable for us this year, and we want to support him.”

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Padres rally in 9th vs Brews stalls, 9-game win streak ends

Brewers closer Josh Hader stopped San Diego’s rally in the ninth inning and the Padres’ nine-game winning streak ended Monday night with a 5-3 loss to Milwaukee.

Fresh off sweeping a nine-game homestand, the Padres trailed 5-0 going into the ninth.

Tommy Pham hit a two-run homer off Angel Perdomo in the ninth. Hader relieved with a runner on first and no outs, and gave up Eric Hosmer’s RBI double with one out and then a walk.

Hader settled down to retire Austin Nola on a popup and Ha-Seong Kim on a lineout for his 11th save of the campaign.

Brandon Woodruff (3-2) gave up three hits over seven innings versus a Padres team that had won 12 of 13. He struck out eight and walked none.

Woodruff hasn’t permitted a run in three of his nine starts this season.Manny Pina hit a two-run homer in the second off Blake Snell (1-1).

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Avisail Garcia led off the fourth with a homer and Kolten Wong’s two-out, two-run single later in the inning finished Snell.

Snell allowed a season-high five earned runs on five hits and three walks while striking out seven.

Keston Hiura went 1 for 3 with a walk and scored a run as he returned to the Milwaukee lineup for the first time since being sent to Triple-A Nashville this month after batting .152 with a home run and five RBI. In nine games for Nashville, Hiura hit .438 with six doubles and three home runs.

“Obviously, that first month wasn’t an ideal situation for me,” Hiura said. “It was more trying to clear my head, get things right. I knew things weren’t far off.”

Dinelson Lamet will return from the bullpen to start Friday when the Padres face the Astros in Houston. San Diego manager Jayce Tingler is turning to a six-man rotation with his team playing 20 straight games without a day off.

“It’s good for everybody,” Tingler said. “Look, things can change quickly, but as of right now, I like the idea of everybody getting an extra day of rest in between their starts.”

Lamet made three starts and worked out of the bullpen twice in an effort to ease him back to form following a strained elbow ligament last September.

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Kyle Hendricks to once again start on Opening Day for Chicago Cubs

Chicago Cubs manager David Ross selected Kyle Hendricks to start on Opening Day last year, and it worked out quite well.

He sees no reason to make a modification this year.

Ross announced Tuesday that Hendricks will get the ball when the Cubs start the season versus Pittsburgh on April 1 at Wrigley Field. The right-hander tossed a three-hitter in a 3-0 triumph over Milwaukee on Opening Day last summer.

“I feel like we’ve got a lot of talent,” Ross said. “I feel like Kyle, his resume, his leadership, his poise, all that goes into being the Opening Day starter, just the extra, kind of, pomp and circumstance that goes with Opening Day, especially this coming year as well, every arrow points to Kyle.”

Ross said he wasn’t ready to announce the order for the rest of his starting pitchers. Chicago also has Jake Arrieta and Zach Davies, and Trevor Williams, Alec Mills, Adbert Alzolay and Shelby Miller are in the mix for the last two spots.

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But there is no question about the leader of the rotation, especially after the Cubs traded Yu Darvish to San Diego in December.

The 31-year-old Hendricks, known for his precision, control and professor-like demeanor, is making his second Opening Day start.

He went 6-5 with a 2.88 ERA in 12 starts during the pandemic-shortened season, helping Chicago win the NL Central.

The opener versus the Pirates will be the first match at Wrigley with a crowd since Sept. 22, 2019. The Cubs have been cleared for as many as 8,274 fans per game at the beginnig of the season.

Hendricks has been a steady presence for Chicago since his big league debut in 2014. The Dartmouth graduate is 69-48 with a 3.12 ERA in 175 career games.

He had his best year in 2016, going 16-8 with a major league-low 2.13 ERA. Hendricks, an eighth-round pick in the 2011 amateur draft, was acquired by Chicago in the July 2012 trade that sent Ryan Dempster to Texas.

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Ryan Braun, longtime Milwaukee Brewers slugger, leaning toward retirement

Ryan Braun stated he’s strongly leaning toward retirement, but the Milwaukee Brewers’ home run leader isn’t ready to make any decision regarding his future.

Braun visited the Brewers’ spring training site Monday and said he hasn’t picked up a bat since the end of the 2020 season. The 2011 NL MVP became a free agent when the Brewers declined to exercise a $15 million mutual option in his contract last October.

“I’m strongly leaning in the direction of being done as an active player,” the 37-year-old Braun said. “But I think you can always push that decision back.

I’m still young enough, still working out, still in shape. If something were to change, I might as well leave that door open as long as possible.”

Braun has spent his entire major league career with the Brewers and said that “I can’t foresee a scenario in which I play for any other major league team.”

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Last campaign, Braun batted a career-low .233 with seven homers and 27 RBIs in 39 matches while dealing with a back issue. He came on strong late in the season and had a .958 OPS in September.

His back issues prevented him from playing in the Brewers’ first-round playoff loss to the eventual World Series-champion Los Angeles Dodgers.

“Once the regular season starts and I’m able to watch some games, I feel like that’s when I’ll actually miss the game itself,” Braun said.

“I’m kind of interested to see how I feel, what it feels like. Obviously, I’ve never experienced it before. Time will tell.”

Braun made his debut with Milwaukee in 2007. His 352 homers as a Brewer are the most of anyone in franchise history.

He ranks second among all Brewers in career RBIs (1,154), extra-base hits (809), total bases (3,525) and doubles (408). He ranks third in runs (1,080), hits (1,963), triples (49), stolen bases (216) and walks (586).

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Two-time All-Star pitcher Jordan Zimmermann signs minor league deal with Milwaukee Brewers

The Milwaukee Brewers have signed former All-Star pitcher Jordan Zimmermann to a minor league contract that incorporates an invitation to major league camp, the team informed Tuesday.

Zimmermann, who turns 35 on May 23, pitched in just three matches for the Detroit Tigers last season due to a forearm injury after going 1-13 with a 6.91 ERA in 2019. He was a two-time All-Star with the Washington Nationals, who selected him from Division III school Wisconsin-Stevens Point in the second round of the 2007 draft.

He described his injury as a “forearm flexor thing” and returned to make three September appearances last year, going 0-0 with a 7.94 ERA. Zimmermann says he now is as healthy as he’s been in a few years. “If I didn’t feel good or I didn’t feel healthy, I was probably thinking about retiring,” Zimmermann said.

“But I started working out, started running, started throwing and doing everything I normally do. The body feels good and the mind is telling me to keep going. I’m going to definitely give it another year, and we’ll see what happens after this year.”

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Zimmermann went 70-50 with a 3.32 ERA with the Nationals from 2009 to 2015, and he concluded seventh in the Cy Young Award voting in 2013 and fifth in 2014 while making the NL All-Star team both of those seasons.

He threw the first no-hitter in Nationals history when Washington beat the Miami Marlins 1-0 in the 2014 regular-season finale.

Zimmermann wasn’t nearly as effective after moving to the American League, posting a 25-41 record with a 5.63 ERA for Detroit over the past five seasons.

“If I didn’t have anything left, I probably would have retired and gone out on my own terms,” Zimmermann said. “But my body and my mind tell me, ‘You still have more left.’ Obviously, I want to go out there and stay healthy. I know I can get guys out. It’s definitely going to be nice getting back in the NL because I feel a lot more comfortable there than where I was.”

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Utilityman Daniel Robertson agrees to one-year deal with Milwaukee Brewers worth $900,000

Utilityman Daniel Robertson has agreed to a $900,000, one-year contract with the Milwaukee Brewers that allows him to earn an additional $400,000 in performance bonuses.

Robertson batted .333 with no homers and two RBI in 17 games with the San Francisco Giants last season while making appearances at shortstop, second base, third base and the outfield.

His contract was purchased from Tampa Bay on Aug. 23, and he had $157,808 in prorated earnings during the shortened season. “I feel like the game’s kind of evolving that way,” Robertson stated Thursday.

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“Organizations like to carry a couple of guys that are kind of that Swiss Army knife, who can do a bunch of things. I feel like five years ago, maybe a little bit longer, you had that one kind of guy, that (Ben) Zobrist kind of guy. The game’s evolving and there’s more guys that are putting themselves in that kind of situation or position.”

Robertson, who turns 27 on March 22, had spent the past three seasons with Tampa Bay and had played at least 74 games in each of them.

The Oakland Athletics drafted him in the first round with the 34th overall pick in 2012.

He has a career batting average of .234 with 16 homers and 74 RBI in 249 games. He has a .342 on-base percentage and .354 slugging percentage.

Robertson has made 109 career appearances at second base, 81 at third base and 74 at shortstop. “I would say if any position is my most natural and just instinctual, I love playing third,” Robertson stated.

“But obviously I really have put a lot of work in to play the other two positions and still enjoy those other opportunities as well. I’m just going to keep working, show up to spring ready for any position and just kind of see what happens.”

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Brewers Promote Matt Arnold To General Manager

The Brewers announced Thursday that they’ve promoted assistant general manager Matt Arnold, giving him the title of senior vice president and general manager.

David Stearns, the team’s president of baseball operations and general manager, still sits atop Milwaukee’s baseball operations hierarchy but has had the “GM” portion dropped from his title in light of Arnold’s promotion.

The timing of the move likely isn’t a coincidence, as multiple clubs around the game have had GM vacancies open up — with a few still to be filled.

Arnold is a well-respected executive who’d surely have generated interest for clubs looking to lure him away with a promotion to a GM post in their own organization.

Arnold’s promotion won’t give him the autonomy over baseball operations decisions he might’ve been granted with another club, but it’s a notable bump in stature (and presumably in salary) that will make it more difficult for other teams to hire him away.

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“For the past five years, Matt has served an invaluable role in helping to guide our baseball operations group,” Stearns stated in a press release announcing the move.

“He has contributed to every significant decision we have made and has offered indispensable advice and support throughout that time with the Brewers. Today’s announcement formalizes how we have operated over the last few years. This move provides Matt with the deserved recognition of his tireless work and ensures that our baseball operations leadership group remains intact.”

The 41-year-old Arnold initially came to the Brewers from the Rays organization, where he spent nine campaigns in a variety of roles, including director of player personnel.

He’s also worked for the Dodgers, Rangers and Reds over the course of a 20-year baseball operations career, occupying roles in scouting, player development and player analysis along the way.

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Milwaukee Brewers reliever Devin Williams named NL Rookie of the Year

Milwaukee Brewers reliever Devin Williams won the National League Rookie of the Year award on Monday night.

Featuring a devastating changeup and a four-seam fastball that gets into the upper 90s, Williams was practically unhittable during the pandemic-shortened campaign. The 26-year-old right-hander went 4-1 with a microscopic 0.33 ERA, striking out 53 in just 27 innings.

Williams is the first pitcher to gain the award without recording a save or making a start during his award-winning season — reflecting the increased importance of the bullpen in today’s game. He is the first reliever to take home the honor in either league since Craig Kimbrel did so for Atlanta in 2011, and the first Rookie of the Year for Milwaukee since Ryan Braun in 2007.

“I don’t really think that saves are the end-all be-all,” Williams said on a conference call during a vacation in Jamaica. “If I come up in the seventh inning and I go through one through five, I think that that can be pretty valuable, as well.”San Diego Padres second baseman Jake Cronenworth and Philadelphia Phillies infielder Alec Bohm ended tied for second in balloting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.

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Williams permitted just one run in 27 innings in the shortened season and struck out 53% of the batters he faced, the highest percentage in MLB history by a pitcher with at least 20 innings pitched.

His changeup was arguably the most dominant pitch in all of baseball in 2020. Opponents batted 2-for-62 (.032) against it, the lowest opponent average on a single pitch this season (minimum 50 plate appearances against).

Williams missed Milwaukee’s loss to the champion Dodgers in the first round of the playoffs because of shoulder soreness.

“I’m doing a little bit of rehab still, but it’s feeling good,” Williams said.

Williams, a St. Louis native, was selected by Milwaukee in the second round of the 2013 draft. Williams teamed with closer Josh Hader to form a shutdown tandem at the back end of the Brewers’ bullpen.

Williams broke into the majors last year, finishing with no record and a 3.95 ERA in 13 relief appearances. He struck out 14 in 13⅔ innings. Cronenworth hit .285 in 54 matches for San Diego, helping the Padres reach the playoffs for the first time since 2006. Bohm, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2018 amateur draft, batted .338 with four homers and 23 RBIs in 44 games for the Phillies.

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