PHOENIX — The past couple of weeks have illustrated how quickly a team can go from “too many outfielders” to looking a bit thin for Opening Day. Jackie Bradley Jr., sidelined by an inflamed right wrist and scheduled to return to the Cactus League lineup on Saturday at the Royals, has just 17 at-bats so far after signing with the Brewers on March 8, and he will have to be healthy to be active on Opening Day.
“I think that’s probably still a little bit TBD,” Brewers president of baseball operations David Stearns said. “We’re hopeful and I’d say optimistic that he’s going to be good to go for Opening Day, but we need to see how these next couple of days go, how he feels, how many at-bats we really can realistically get him over the next half-week and then go from there. I’d say optimistic, but we haven’t made a full decision yet.”
Bradley told Brewers sideline reporter Sophia Minnaert that he has no concerns about being ready. Bradley was in the outfield during batting practice on Friday and told Minnaert he was feeling “amazing.”
“I anticipate him being ready,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said.
Then there is Lorenzo Cain. He elected not to play most of 2020 and needed at-bats this spring, but he missed time with a right quad strain. Cain logged four at-bats against the White Sox on Friday and is 2-for-12 in exhibition games with four to go — two in the Cactus League plus two games against the Rangers in Arlington, Texas.
“For Lo, this was probably a camp where I think he wanted to get as many plate appearances under his belt and as many opportunities in center field under his belt as possible, and we just haven’t been able to get there,” Stearns said. “I think Lo is kind of incrementally feeling better here and getting more comfortable in the outfield, getting more comfortable with his reads. Again, we’ll see him out there a couple more times before Opening Day. Hopefully that’s enough to get him ready.”