The Milwaukee Brewers’ ongoing search for a regular first baseman continues Wednesday when they face the Arizona Diamondbacks in the rubber match of a three-game series in Phoenix.
Milwaukee turned to Daniel Vogelbach in recent weeks, but the 28-year-old is facing an extended absence after sustaining a hamstring injury in Tuesday’s 5-0 win.
Arizona, which ended its franchise-record, 17-game losing streak on Monday, was held to two hits on Tuesday and lost for the 32nd time in its past 35 games.
Milwaukee won for the third time in four games, but Vogelbach had to be helped off the field after hobbling home to score a run in the sixth inning.
While Daniel Robertson took over at first base, the Brewers may have to consider recalling Keston Hiura from Triple-A Nashville.
Hiura began the season as the team’s starting first baseman but has twice been sent to Triple-A. He hit .130 in 108 major league at-bats for Milwaukee this year.
Brewers president of baseball operations David Stearns would prefer to give Hiura more time in the minors, but he has been encouraged by the 24-year-old’s progress.
“It is still my expectation that we’re going to get him going, and we’re going to see a level of performance and consistency that gives us confidence that he can do it at the major league level,” Stearns said before Tuesday’s game.
The Brewers, who have won 14 of their past 17 meetings against the Diamondbacks, will give the ball to left-hander Caleb Smith (2-2, 3.21 ERA) on Wednesday.
The 29-year-old received a no-decision against the Los Angeles Dodgers last Friday despite allowing just one hit over six scoreless innings. He walked four and struck out five.
Christian Yelich is 3-for-8 with two homers against Smith, who is 0-4 with a 4.15 ERA in four career starts versus Milwaukee.
Smith last faced the Brewers on June 6, when he gave up one run on three hits over five frames in a 2-0 loss in Milwaukee. He walked two and recorded a season-high eight strikeouts.
Milwaukee will turn to Brandon Woodruff (5-3, 1.94 ERA), who is looking to bounce back from a rare rough outing against the Colorado Rockies on Thursday.
The 28-year-old right-hander had allowed two earned runs or fewer in 12 consecutive starts before running into trouble at Coors Field. Woodruff surrendered a season-high five runs on five hits over five innings in a 7-3 loss to the Rockies.
Woodruff is 1-0 with a 4.80 ERA in four career games (three starts) against Arizona. He allowed two runs on six hits over five innings in a no-decision against the D-backs at home on June 5, when he struck out nine and walked one.
Arizona is monitoring the status of center fielder Ketel Marte, who exited the Tuesday game in the first inning due to left hamstring tightness.
Marte was sidelined for six weeks earlier this season because of a strained right hamstring. The injury comes at an inopportune time for him, as he is hitting .394 (30-for-75) with two home runs and 13 RBIs in his past 20 games.
D-backs infielder Eduardo Escobar, who has been the subject of recent trade rumors, appeared as a pinch hitter Tuesday after sitting out one game with a strained right quad.
“I don’t know if I’ll be traded,” Escobar said. “My job is to come here every day, bring some energy, work hard. I love it here. I want to stay here, but I don’t have any control over that. The only thing I can control is to play hard and help my team win here.”
–Field Level Media