Seven years after making his major league debut as an outfielder Authentic Harold Landry Jersey , Eric Thames is getting reacquainted with the position for the Milwaukee Brewers.
Normally Milwaukee’s first baseman, Thames has started three straight games in the outfield — including two in a row in left — and has seen the bulk of his action there since returning from a 41-game stint on the disabled list earlier this month.
Manager Craig Counsell has Thames in the outfield as he tries to keep Thames left-handed power bat in the lineup alongside right-hander slugger Jesus Aguilar.
Thames will likely stay in the outfield Friday night as the Brewers continue a four-game series with the St. Louis Cardinals at Miller Park.
Thames played left field and drove in three runs as Milwaukee began the series with an 11-3 win on Thursday.
Aguilar took over as the everyday first baseman when Thames suffered a thumb injury April 25 and has thrived ever since. Aguilar is tied with Travis Shaw for the team lead with 14 home runs.
With the benefit of added offense also comes liability: Thames spent three years playing first base in the Korean League and made just 15 outfield appearances when the Brewers brought him back to the major leagues last season, so there is a little fine-tuning with Thames’ defensive skills.
“It’s not new for him but it is unfamiliar, and we recognize that,” Counsell said. “We understand this isn’t a regular position at this point. There’s going to be some rough edges there, but he’s shown that he can handle the basics.
“There was a ball he misplayed in Pittsburgh, but he came back and made two very nice plays. That’s what we’re going to get and that’s what we’ve got to be willing to live with.”
Counsell is willing to sacrifice a little on defense if it means getting the kind of pop Aguilar and Thames are capable of.
Junior Guerra (3-5, 2.89 ERA) will make a second consecutive start a day after the Brewers scored 10 runs or more. He’s hoping Friday turns out better than the last time, when Milwaukee followed an 11-run outburst against Philadelphia with a 4-1 loss.
Guerra pitched well in that outing. He allowed three runs on four hits over 5 1/3 innings but took the loss for the second time in three starts and is looking for his first victory since May 14 despite posting a 2.67 ERA in the six starts since.
Guerra has already started two games against the Cardinals this season, and is 1-0 in those games while allowing just one run over 11 1/3 innings. He gave up one run on four hits over 5 1/3 innings in a 3-2 victory over the Cards on April 11. Guerra did not get a decision when he faced St. Louis on May 30, although he pitched shutout ball in his six innings, and the Brewers eventually won 3-2.
He is 2-2 with a 3.82 ERA in six career starts against the Cardinals.
St. Louis has dropped eight of 11 after committing four errors on Thursday and will start right-hander Jack Flaherty (3-2, 2.66).
Flaherty has allowed just one earned run over his last two starts Authentic Derrius Guice Jersey , spanning 11 1/3 innings and has held opponents to no more than a run in six of his nine starts this season.
He held the Cubs scoreless over five innings his last time out on Sunday, striking out nine but didn’t take a decision in the Cardinals’ 5-0 victory.
“I was able to battle and execute when I needed to,” Flaherty said. “I threw a lot of pitches in a short amount of time. I was hoping to go deeper, but that’s how it goes sometimes.”
Flaherty is facing Milwaukee for the second time this season and the third time in his short career.
He made his first start against the Brewers in the 2017 finale at Busch Stadium, going five innings and giving up five hits and four runs and taking the loss. Flaherty made his 2018 debut at Miller Park back in April. He held Milwaukee to a run on six hits while striking out nine but took no decision in the Cardinals’ 5-4 loss.
Jon Gruden says he had a good talk with Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis about returning to the organization for a second stint as coach and believes there is a ”good chance” it will happen.
Gruden gave an interview to ESPN Radio on Wednesday to discuss his pursuit of the Raiders job that opened when Jack Del Rio was fired after a disappointing six-win season.
”It’s been a long couple of weeks,” Gruden said. ”I know they’ve gone through their process of interviewing candidates and until they’re done I won’t know. I did have a good meeting with Mark. I’ve known him a long time and got a lot of respect for the Raiders football organization.”
Gruden has been out of coaching the past nine years while serving as ESPN’s analyst for ”Monday Night Football.” He is scheduled to work the network’s playoff game Saturday in Kansas City between the Chiefs and Tennessee Titans and could come back to the Raiders as soon as next week.
”I think there’s a good chance,” he said. ”I’m excited about where I’m at in terms of studying the game and preparing to come back and coach. I just don’t want to sit here and speculate.”
Gruden apparently is already trying to put together a staff. Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said he expected defensive coordinator Paul Guenther to interview with Oakland ”at some point.”
Gruden spent four seasons as coach in Oakland from 1998-2001. After leading the Raiders to 8-8 records his first two years Authentic Justin Bethel Jersey , Gruden helped the team reach the AFC title game following the 2000 season and got Oakland back into the playoffs the following season.
His tenure ended shortly after the ”Tuck Rule” loss to the New England Patriots when he was traded the following month to Tampa Bay for two first-round draft picks, two second-rounders and $8 million.
Gruden beat the Raiders in the Super Bowl in his first season with the Buccaneers but didn’t win another playoff game for Tampa Bay in his final six seasons. He has a 95-81 career record.
The Raiders will be required to comply with the ”Rooney Rule” and interview at least one minority candidate or otherwise face discipline from the NFL. The team has not commented on the search and might have already conducted that interview.
Gruden dismissed speculation raised in a report by ESPN over the weekend that he would get an ownership stake as part of his contract.
This would not mark the first time the Raiders brought back a coach for a second stint. Late owner Al Davis hired Art Shell in 2006, 11 years after firing him the first time. Shell went 2-14 that season and was fired after one year.
Other teams have also done it, with one of the most recent notable ones being Joe Gibbs in Washington. Gibbs stepped away following the 1992 season with three Super Bowl titles in his career. He came back in 2004 and had a 30-34 record in four seasons, leading Washington to two playoff berths.
AP Sports Writer Joe Kay in Cincinnati contributed to this report