In a move that presumably won’t keep them from pursuing further infield help between now and Sunday’s trade deadline, the Brewers have acquired Felipe Lopez from the Rays for cash considerations.
Lopez is a veteran of 11 seasons in the majors, but has spent most of this season playing at Triple-A Durham, where he batted .305 with seven homers and an .831 OPS in 44 games.
Milwaukee was said to be in the market for infield help even before Rickie Weeks’ ankle injury knocked him out for 3-6 weeks, so bringing in the 31-year-old, switch-hitting Lopez is probably just a low-cost stopgap solution while they continue to go after, say, Jamey Carroll of the Dodgers.
Lopez previously played for the Brewers in 2009, when he hit .320 in 66 games after coming over from the Diamondbacks in a trade for a pair of mid-level prospects. He’s hit just .230 in 145 games since.
Nothing went right for the Blue Jays this weekend. The club was swept in a four-game series against the Athletics, including a 9-2 loss on Sunday. Not wanting to burn out his bullpen in a lopsided game — and perhaps thinking about the general entertainment value involved — Blue Jays manager John Gibbons decided to send designated hitter Kendrys Morales out to pitch the ninth inning. And in typical baseball fashion, he saw better results than some of the dudes who do this all the time.
Morales, who actually pitched in Cuba nearly 20 years ago, worked around a walk for a scoreless inning. He induced three fly outs and topped out at 87.4 mph on his fastball, per Brooks Baseball. He received a standing ovation on the way back to the dugout. Morales hasn’t been hearing that sort of thing for his contributions with the bat recently.
Morales, 34, is batting just .163/.248/.279 with three home runs through 32 games this season. There’s been some understandable clamoring for top prospect Vladmir Guerrero, Jr. to cut into his at-bats. For his part, Morales has been doing everything he can to break out of his slumber at the plate, including ditching the glasses he started wearing during spring training. Hey, whatever works. Morales also had two of Toronto’s four hits on Sunday.
On the heels of Morales’ first MLB appearance on the mound, it feels rather appropriate that the Blue Jays will get their first look at Angels sensation Shohei Ohtani — at least as a hitter — beginning on Tuesday.