Brewers activate Andrew McCutchen; Trevor Kelley option at AAA class

Nearly two weeks after he was first placed on the COVID injured list, Milwaukee Brewers designated hitter Andrew McCutchen has been activated ahead of Friday night’s game against the Washington Nationals at American Family Field.

McCutchen was cleared to join the team on Monday afternoon and spent the next few days training to reacclimate his body to playing condition after missing time with the virus.

“It was just a matter of time and there was no specific test he needed to pass,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “Just more days of running and feeling good.”

McCutchen is batting .240 with a .641 OPS and two home runs in 25 games this season.

Reliever Trevor Kelley was opted for Class AAA in a corresponding move.

Closer Josh Hader was also back with the team after missing Wednesday’s game while dealing with a family situation.

A milestone precedes the list change

A game, a win, a plane ticket to Nashville for Kelley.

Kelley picked up his first major league career victory in Wednesday’s win over the Braves, but is now returning to the minors.

Milwaukee Brewers reliever Trevor Kelley

In one short stint, however, the right-hander showed what the Brewers organization envisions of him.

Kelley comes across as an old-school pitcher. No video. No analysis. Tell him when to enter the game, give him the ball and let him work.

So when a few weeks into his first spring training with the Brewers this year, he was informed of a significant change the organization thought he should make to his pitching profile with data at support, it was normally the kind of thing that Kelley wouldn’t have been all that receptive to.

“In the past, other teams were like, ‘This, this, that, you gotta do it,’ and that never clicked in an authentic way to me,” Kelley said.

A lead player pitched from a funky right-sided arm lunge, Kelley pitched for six pro seasons, including two major league stints, in three organizations. He had a certain way of throwing – a clean mix of downward sinkers and glove-side curve balls. For the most part, it worked; in 300 minor league innings, he has a 2.18 ERA.

But when the Brewers broke down data from Kelley’s early runs in their Phoenix complex’s pitching lab and presented their proposal for how Kelley should attack batters, it was personalized and broken down in a way that had sense for the old repechage of the 36th round. to take.

Milwaukee told him why the numbers said he would have to lean heavily on his sinker and try to throw it high in the zone despite his walking speed, but that was not all. They also provided a comparison of a different pitcher’s lead with similar traits to his own and showed how he played when high.

“It just lifted my eyes,” Kelley said. “Like really? Just believing in that pitch is what they’re doing a really good job at.

With Nashville, he used his fastball to allow a run and strikeout 17 in 13 innings.

“That’s what really helped me,” Kelley said. “I just live off my fastball, knowing how good my fastball can be. Get the ball at the top of the area, then shuffle here and there at the bottom, just sticking with my guns. I knew I had it, but with the analytics behind it, it really helped me get off to a good start and feel like I belonged here.

On Kelley’s second day with the Brewers on Wednesday, Josh Hader was closer to the team for a family situation and trainer Brad Boxberger was unavailable due to recent usage. Counsell turned to the new player in an 11th inning tie.

On Kelley’s first-ever major league pitch in 21 months, Travis d’Arnaud hit a bleed against the shift for a single that scored the runner who started the inning second. That would be all the Braves would get, however, in a situation where allowing just one run is considered doing the job.

Kelley did so by casting sinkers for 13 of 15 pitches, nine of which were elevated. He hit one and the hardest hit ball against him was 79 mph.

When Keston Hiura started the bottom half of the inning with a home run, he made Kelley a winner for the first time in his 15th major league game.

Then it was back to Nashville. As the life of a baseball player sometimes goes.

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