According to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said this afternoon that Rickie Weeks might be activated from the disabled list during a series against the Phillies this weekend.
But he won’t return to the starting lineup right away. The plan is for Weeks to be eased back into action via pinch-hit appearances and short stints in the field.
“We wouldn’t be activating him to play second base a lot. We would ease him in. We haven’t gotten there yet.”
Weeks hasn’t played since July 27 due to a severely sprained left ankle. The All-Star second baseman has yet to run the bases, but Roenicke said that he had “a really good day” during a workout Monday, showing less hesitation before starting to run a straight line in the outfield. The main goal is to have Weeks ready for the postseason, so with the benefit of a huge lead in the National League Central, the Brewers can afford to take it slow.
Weeks, who turns 29 next week, was batting .272/.346/.478 with 19 homers, 43 RBI, nine stolen bases and an .825 OPS over 469 plate appearances prior to the injury.
After 18 years, 12 winning seasons, seven postseason runs and three World Championships, Dave Righetti is no longer a pitching coach for the Giants. He was removed from his post on Saturday, when the team announced a few reassignments as they shake up their coaching staff. Heading into the 2018 season, Righetti will serve as special assistant to general manager Bobby Evans, former bullpen coach Mark Gardner will step into a similar special assistant role to “assist in pitching evaluations,” and former assistant hitting coach Steve Decker will take a special assistant role in baseball operations.
According to MLB.com’s Chris Haft, Righetti was the longest-tenured pitching coach in the big leagues. He helped shape the careers of notable Giants’ aces like Madison Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain — all Cy Young contenders (and, in Lincecum’s case, a two-time winner) at various points in their careers. He was there to assist Ryan Vogelsong during his stunning mid-career comeback in San Francisco. He helped newcomers like Chris Stratton and Ty Blach flourish even as the team stumbled to the bottom of the division. He was there to take the credit when a sterling rotation clinched the Giants’ 56-year, drought-snapping championship title in 2010 — and, when things went so horribly south in 2017, he took the blame as well.
Hardly anything went right for the Giants’ pitching staff in 2017. Madison Bumgarner was shelved after sustaining a serious shoulder injury in a dirt bike accident, Johnny Cueto couldn’t shake a cluster of blisters on his right hand and Mark Melancon found it difficult to justify a $62 million paycheck after pitching through an arm injury to four blown losses/saves and a 4.50 ERA. It would be a lot for any pitching coach to stay on top of, and given the team’s rapid descent from 2016 postseason contenders to last-place finishers in 2017, it’s not surprising that Evans felt the need to switch things up.
Successors have yet to be named for Righetti, Gardner or Decker, though Murray hears that the Giants could have interest in former major league pitching coach Jim Hickey. NBC Bay Area’s Alex Pavlovic adds that Evans is searching for someone to “put a new voice” on the pitching staff and will likely target someone who, like Righetti, brings considerable experience to the role.