When the Brewers signed Jackie Bradley Jr. earlier in Spring Training, many wondered how the Brewers would play four starting quality outfielders. Now, however, it appears as if the Brewers have a chance to enter Opening Day without their two best defensive options at center field. Lorenzo Cain only has had 12 at bats this spring because of a quad strain. Jackie Bradley Jr. is dealing with an inflamed right wrist. With Opening Day quickly approaching, there are more questions than answers at this point.
Jackie Bradley Jr.
Jackie Bradley Jr. has only been able to log 17 at bats this spring. While the Brewers are concerned about his availability for Opening Day, he is not. While speaking to reporters earlier this week, Bradley Jr. said that he fully anticipates being ready for Opening Day. He also mentioned that he feels “amazing” at the moment.
Another person who has no concerns about Bradley Jr.’s availability on Opening Day is manager Craig Counsell. When addressing reporters, Counsell said, “I anticipate him being ready.” This is very encouraging for Brewers’ fans, especially considering the question marks surrounding Lorenzo Cain’s health.
After opting out of most of the 2020 season, Lorenzo Cain and the Brewers hoped he would get as many at bats and reps in center field as possible. Unfortunately, his quad strain (which has nothing to do with his opting out) has made it difficult for Cain to get on the field. In just 15 at bats this spring, Cain only has four hits. However, Cain played on Saturday, going 2/3 with a home run, a walk, and three runs.
David Stearns did not rule out Cain being ready for Opening Day. It appears as if the injury is behind him and all that is left is getting comfortable at the plate and in the field. The concern, however, is that there is not much time left in Spring Training. The Brewers will open their season on April 1 against the Twins. This leaves them just four more games to get ready. In short, they will have to take the “wait-and-see” approach with Cain.
If either of these players are not able to go on Opening Day, Avisail Garcia could see himself playing there. After all, he spent some time there last season and slimmed down 30 pounds to help improve his defense.
Additionally, the Brewers have Billy McKinney as a likely fifth outfielder who could hold down the fort until Bradley Jr. and/or Cain are ready. Tyrone Taylor, too, could provide some outfield depth if either one of the two has to start the season on the IL.
Baseball is a long season, and the most important thing is making sure players are healthy down the stretch. It is better for the Brewers to proceed with caution now and have both players primed and ready for another post season run.
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