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Eric Thames: “I love beer”

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Eric Thames has been the story of the young 2017 season.

After two partial campaigns in 2011 and 2012 with limited success, Thames took off for Korea where he became a superstar, hitting 124 home runs and 379 RBI in three seasons. He won an MVP award and a trip to the KBO All-Star Game. While understanding that KBO is a hitter’s league, he hit .317/.425/.676 with 40 home runs in 2016. In 2015 he was even better, hitting .381/.497/.790 with 47 homers and 140 driven in.

While it did not seem like Thames would land anything other than a minor league deal with an American team this past offseason, the Brewers offered him a major league deal, guaranteeing Thames $16 million. There’s a club option for 2020 at $7.5 million with a $1 million buyout. While that’s not a lot of money these days, it’s a pretty nice deal for a guy with only a KBO track record.

In the early going that investment is proving to have been a fantastic one, with Thames hitting .426/.491/1.000 while leading the league with seven homers and seventeen runs scored in his first 13 games. There’s still a lot of time left in April, but he’s the front-runner for NL Player of the Month.

He’s also winning over the hearts of Milwaukee fans. Or else he should be with quotes like this one taken from a profile of Thames in USA Today:

“I came to Milwaukee before I signed, checked it out, and after an hour I knew it was where I wanted to be. I love the Midwest. I love the hospitality of people. And Milwaukee has great beer.

“I love beer.”

His production will determine whether he stays a fan favorite, but stuff like that will determine whether he becomes a local legend.

Yankees activate Didi Gregorius from the disabled list

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The Yankees have activated shortstop Didi Gregorius from the 10-day disabled list, the club announced on Friday. Infielder Pete Kozma was designated for assignment to clear roster space.

Gregorius, 27, suffered a strained right shoulder while playing in the World Baseball Classic last month. He’s in Friday’s starting lineup, batting sixth against the Orioles.

Last season, Gregorius hit .276/.304/.447 with 20 home runs and 70 RBI in 597 plate appearances.

Mets to place Yoenis Cespedes on the 10-day disabled list

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Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Mets will place outfielder Yoenis Cespedes on the 10-day disabled list with a strained left hamstring. Cespedes left Thursday’s game after suffering the injury running the bases.

Things keep going poorly for the Mets, who are in last place in the NL East with an 8-13 record. Cespedes will join a lengthy list of names in the infirmary, including David Wright, Lucas Duda, Wilmer Flores, Steven Matz, Seth Lugo, and Noah Syndergaard.

Cespedes is batting a very productive .270/.373/.619 with six home runs and 10 RBI through his first 75 plate appearances.

With Cespedes out, Michael Conforto should be cemented as an everyday player and Juan Lagares will handle center field with Granderson moving back to right field and Jay Bruce covering first base.