It’s fine if you’re feeling a little bit of deja vu, Brewers fans. This isn’t the first time we’ve been in this position, but hopefully it will be the last, at least for a while.
Former National League MVP outfielder Christian Yelich was officially reactivated from the injured list, the club announced on Tuesday. They did so after Yelich tested his back out for three games down at Triple-A with the Nashville Sounds over the weekend.
Most Brewers fans surely remember that this was Yelich’s second stint on the injured list already this season. The star outfielder had already missed over two weeks earlier in the year when his back was acting up, was activated on May 3rd against the Phillies, and was put right back on the IL the very next day.
To make room for Yelich, Milwaukee optioned left-handed pitcher Hoby Milner back to the minors. Activated last Saturday, Milner immediately gave up a homer to the Braves’ William Contreras in his Brewers debut that same day before going scoreless over two innings the rest of the way.
After being activated from the IL on Tuesday, Christian Yelich will DH and bat third against the Kansas City Royals.
Milwaukee’s matchup against Kansas City offers an opportunity for the Brewers to continue to ease Yelich back into the lineup, similar to his time with the Sounds where he was playing partial games to see how his back responded. As far as Yelich is concerned, per Adam McCalvy of MLB.com, he is good to go for the Crew.
The return of Yelich couldn’t have come at a better time for the Brewers and their offense. Going into Tuesday, Milwaukee sat with the 3rd worst batting average in MLB (.214) and the 4th worst OPS (.660).
Though he isn’t quite back to his MVP form, Yelich was looking much better than last year before going down with the injury. In 10 games, he is batting .353 with a .846 OPS. Though his strikeout rate was still up, it had been dropping with just four punchouts in his last 24 plate appearances.
Once sitting 17-10 on May 1st, the Brewers have slid since then, losing 10 of their next 14 games and falling to second place in the NL Central behind the Cardinals. But the return of Yelich, as well as other key offensive pieces like Omar Narvaez, Lorenzo Cain, and Manny Pina prior to that, could be just what the team needs to go on another run.
Yelich seems to feel confident that his back is healthy this time around so let’s hope that he’s right. Because the Brewers could end up being in trouble if he isn’t.