Corey Hart will bat second for just the second time this season tonight against the Dodgers, according to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
Hart is batting just .236/.263/.327 with five doubles and one RBI over his first 57 plate appearances since returning from an oblique injury on April 26, but has eight hits in his last 25 at-bats (.320) and has hit safely in each of his last six games.
Brewers’ No. 2 hitters have combined to bat just .220/.274/.317 so far this season, so Hart has the potential to provide a huge boost offensively if he’s right. The 29-year-old outfielder was the primary No. 2 hitter for the Brewers last season and finished with a career-best 31 homers and 102 RBI. He has primarily batted sixth and seventh since returning from the DL.
Carlos Gomez, who has batted second in 30 games this season, was dropped to the No. 8 spot for tonight’s game.
Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY reports that the Mariners have received “strong” trade interest for starter Taijuan Walker. The right-hander is currently on the mend from tendinitis in his right foot. He’ll throw a bullpen on Friday at Wrigley Field with scouts in attendance.
Walker, 23, has a 3.66 ERA with an 80/18 K/BB ratio in 86 innings this season. It’s his first bit of sustained success at the major league level. What’s arguably just as intriguing is the fact that Walker will be under team control through 2020.
The Mariners have been hovering around .500 for the last month and entered Thursday six games behind the first-place Rangers in the AL West and 4.5 games out of the second AL Wild Card slot, behind three other teams as well as the two Wild Card leaders. It’s enough uncertainty which could push the Mariners to sell.
On Monday, we learned that the Mets offered to swap catchers with the Brewers, Travis d'Arnaud for Jonathan Lucroy. The Brewers, as expected, turned that down. The two still continue to discuss a trade involving Lucroy, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports.
The Mets certainly could use some help at catcher. The club has gotten an aggregate .608 OPS from their backstops, the fourth-lowest mark in baseball, ahead of only the Pirates, Rays, and Indians. However, the Mets seem to be behind other teams — including a “mystery” team — in the bidding, according to Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball.
Lucroy, who took Thursday off, is batting .300/.361/.486 with 13 home runs and 50 RBI in 371 plate appearances for the Brewers this season. He can become a free agent after the season if his controlling club opts against picking up his $5.25 million option for the 2017 season.