Lopez joins Brewers, starts tonight
The Brewers appear to have hadi a huge change of heart in the 24 hours after buying infielder Felipe Lopez from the Rays. Instead of having him report to Triple-A Nashville, the Brewers brought Lopez directly to Milwaukee, and he’s in tonight’s starting lineup against the Astros as the No. 5 hitter.
Eric Farris was optioned back to Nashville after spending only one day with the Brewers. He grounded out as a pinch-hitter in his Major League debut Thursday afternoon.
So, Lopez is a much more immediate replacement for injured second baseman Rickie Weeks than Brewers officials initially let on. He was a terrific bat for Milwaukee during the second half of 2009, and was hitting again this season for Tampa Bay’s Triple-A affiliate. But he did not hit in two stints with the big-league Rays, going 21-for-97 (.216).
The initial guess, even from inside the Brewers’ clubhouse, was that general manager Doug Melvin had acquired Lopez in a cash deal with the Rays as insurance, in case he was not able to acquire any other middle infielders before Sunday’s nonwaiver trade deadline. Is this change in plans a sign that Melvin considers the price for players like Jamey Carroll of the Dodgers too high? Or was this the plan all along? We will ask tonight.
He’s a switch-hitter, so Lopez will presumably push Craig Counsell back into a reserve role. Counsell’s hitless streak extended to 0-for-41 yesterday, one out shy of pitcher Doug Davis’ dubious franchise record.
Here’s the full lineup:
Corey Hart RF
Nyjer Morgan CF
Ryan Braun LF
Prince Fielder 1B
Felipe Lopez 2B
Casey McGehee 3B
Yuniesky Betancourt SS
George Kottaras C
Randy Wolf LHP
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