The Brewers placed second baseman Jonathan Villar on the 10-day disabled list with a lower back strain after he suffered an injury during Friday’s 8-6 win over the Diamondbacks. Villar tweaked his back while diving for a ground ball in the eighth inning and had to be removed from the field on a cart when he was unable to stand after the play. Postgame comments from manager Craig Counsell indicated that Villar may have sustained the injury due to the force with which he slammed into the ground.
While the Brewers’ infielder was initially diagnosed with back spasms, the injury appears to be more severe and will require a stint on the disabled list. Prior to the incident, Villar was batting .213/.283/.342 with six home runs and a .626 OPS over his first 59 games of 2017. He went 2-for-5 on Friday with a base hit and RBI double.
With Villar sidelined, the club recalled top outfield prospect Lewis Brinson from Triple-A Colorado Springs on Saturday. Brinson slashed .312/.397/.503 with six home runs and a .900 OPS through 45 games for the Sky Sox.
The Athletics followed Friday’s 3-0 shutout with a rookie-led home run derby on Saturday afternoon, watching not one, not two, but three rookies belt their first major league home runs off of the White Sox’ James Shields.
Right fielder Matt Olson was the first to strike, taking Shields deep on a first-pitch, two-run blast in the first inning for his first home run in 49 major league plate appearances:
Fellow outfielder Jaycob Brugman duplicated his teammate’s results in the second inning with a solo home run, his first extra-base hit of any kind since he made his debut on June 9:
In the third, with a comfortable 4-0 lead backing two scoreless frames from Oakland right-hander Daniel Gossett, Franklin Barreto took his shot at Shields. After getting the call several hours prior to Saturday’s game, he became the fastest of the three rookies to record his first big league homer, going yard on a 2-2 changeup and driving in Bruce Maxwell to give the A’s a six-run advantage.
The Athletics currently lead the White Sox 8-2 in the top of the sixth inning.
The Athletics called up their top prospect on Saturday, inserting shortstop Franklin Barreto into the lineup for their second game against the White Sox. Barreto was originally scheduled to make his major league debut on Sunday, but got a head start after Jed Lowrie sustained a minor knee sprain in Friday’s 3-0 win and was scratched from Saturday’s lineup.
Barreto, 21, has been rapidly climbing the rungs of the A’s minor league system after getting dealt by the Blue Jays in 2014. He got his first taste of Triple-A action late last year, going 6-for-17 with three RBI and getting caught stealing in two attempts. He fared little better this spring, slashing .281/.326/.428 with eight home runs and a .754 OPS through his first 309 PA in Nashville.
While his minor league production has been solid, if underwhelming for a prospect of his caliber, the A’s are expected to give the rookie infielder a long leash with both Marcus Semien and Chad Pinder sitting on the disabled list. Pinder landed on the 10-day DL after suffering a left hamstring strain on Friday. Semien, meanwhile, is still working his way back from the 60-day DL with a right wrist fracture and likely won’t rejoin the team until he completes a rehab assignment with High-A Stockton.