Nate McLouth’s strained left oblique will put him on the disabled list, according to the Journal-Constitution’s Dave O’Brien, and the Braves are set to call up Jordan Schafer to replace him.
Schafer, who opened 2009 as the Braves’ center fielder, is back in the majors for the first time since June of that year. There was plenty of hype this spring that with Schafer finally healthy, he’d overtake McLouth as a regular at some point this season. However, he failed to perform well in March and he was hitting just .256/.309/.323 with one homer in 164 at-bats for Triple-A Gwinnett.
That makes McLouth a pretty big loss, even if he was hitting a modest .238/.332/.341 in 164 major league at-bats. The Braves don’t have another legitimate center fielder on the roster, so Schafer figures to get a chance to play everyday in the McLouth’s absence. The team is in better position to cover Jason Heyward’s absence, with Eric Hinske and Joe Mather likely to platoon in right field. Wilkin Ramirez will serve as the fifth outfielder.
Though he has only accumulated just over two years of service time in the major leagues, Cardinals starter Miles Mikolas can become a free agent after the 2019 season due to language in his current two-year, $15.5 million contract. He is open to signing a contract extension with the Cardinals, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.
Mikolas said, “It’s something that the Cardinals and my agency have to work out – if the numbers work out and everything turns out to be it’s absolutely something that could happen.” His agent, from Octagon, has had discussions with the Cardinals about a framework for an extension.
Mikolas, 30, spent the 2015-17 seasons pitching for the Yomiuri Giants in the Japan Central League. He had great results, which he was able to leverage into a contract back in the U.S. Last season, his first in the majors since 2014, he finished sixth in NL Cy Young balloting and earned a spot on the NL All-Star roster. The right-hander went 18-4 with a 2.83 ERA and a 146/29 K/BB ratio in 200 2/3 innings.
This coming season, Mikolas will be part of a starting rotation that also includes Carlos Martínez, Jack Flaherty, Michael Wacha, and Adam Wainwright.