Brewers first baseman Eric Thames spent the previous three seasons of his career in Korea playing with the NC Dinos. Once a major league washout, Thames resuscitated his career, smashing 37, 47, and 40 home runs in consecutive seasons in the KBO. That was enough to entice the Brewers to offer him a three-year, $16 million contract.
Thames has showed that the power he found overseas is no fluke. He homered in each of his last four games — including two against the Reds on Saturday — entering Monday’s game against the Cubs. He made it five straight when he hit a homer to the opposite field in the third inning off of John Lackey. According to Baseball Reference, Thames is the first hitter since Brian Dozier last September 2-6 to hit a homer in five consecutive games. He’s the first Brewer to do so since Jeromy Burnitz (August 1-5) in 1997.
Coming into Monday’s game, Thames was hitting .368/.455/.921 with six home runs, 11 RBI, and 12 runs scored in 44 plate appearances. Pretty good. He’s now the major league leader with seven round-trippers.
Mariners right-hander Erasmo Ramirez has been shut down for two weeks with a minor lat strain, reports Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times. It’s a precautionary move, as Ramirez felt some tightness in his arm and could not complete his scheduled bullpen session on Saturday.
There’s no word yet on whether Ramirez will be able to recover in time for the start of the season, though he’s expected to claim a rotation spot again this spring. The 28-year-old righty has been dogged by injuries throughout his six-year career, but finally managed to piece together a full season on the mound in back-to-back stints with the Rays and Mariners in 2017. He went 5-6 in 19 starts for the two clubs and turned in a cumulative 4.39 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 through 131 1/3 innings.
The Mariners are no stranger to pitcher injuries, either. They lost a number of their top arms to various elbow, arm and shoulder injuries last year and cycled through 40 total pitchers as they limped toward a 78-84 finish. Comments from club manager Scott Servais indicate that the team will keep a close eye on Ramirez throughout his recovery, though Divish notes that right-hander Andrew Moore and lefty Ariel Miranda could also slot into the no. 5 spot if Ramirez experiences further setbacks.