One game into the season, outfield prospect Joey Wiemer gets the news he had been seeking from the Brewers
CHICAGO -- There was disappointment that he didn't make the opening-day roster despite a strong showing in spring training.
But in the end, Joey Wiemer didn't have to wait long for his first taste of the major leagues -- only one game, as it turned out.
In the wake of a left hamstring strain suffered by Luis Urías in the team's 4-0 loss to the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on Thursday that sent the infielder to the 10-day injured list, the Milwaukee Brewers selected Wiemer's contract from Class AAA Nashville and started him in center field.
"It was definitely a surprise, but I’m happy to be here," said Wiemer, Milwaukee's No. 3 overall prospect as rated by the Journal Sentinel.
Batting ninth, Wiemer then made the day even more memorable by inside-outing a double down the right-field line off Justin Steele in his first at-bat.
Wiemer, 24, was in Nashville preparing for the Sounds' season opener Friday when he received the news.
"I was going down to hit and (manager Rick Sweet) called me into the office and asked me why I was going to hit," said Wiemer. "He told me not to do that – I’m headed to Chicago."
After a scurry to get to Chicago, Joey Wiemer is making his major-league debut for Brewers
From there it was something of a scramble for Wiemer, who had a little less than 3 hours to return home, pack and catch his flight -- one that ultimately was diverted to Indianapolis by all the severe weather in the Midwest.
Wiemer was then forced to rent a car and make the drive north on I-65 to join the team.
"Travel day was a bit of a nightmare yesterday," he said. "But I don’t hate it."
Joey Wiemer is in the house for his MLB debut: pic.twitter.com/z4IpZs8Ims
— Todd Rosiak (@Todd_Rosiak) April 1, 2023
Wiemer becomes the third rookie to make his major-league debut for the Brewers in the series, joining Brice Turang and Gus Varland.
More: On a day where little went right for the Brewers, Brice Turang and Gus Varland had solid MLB debuts
All three put forth strong performances in camp but Wiemer, a fourth-round pick by the Brewers out of the University of Cincinnati in 2020, was the only one of the group who didn't make the cut.
Joey Wiemer hit .262 in spring games with two homers
He hit .262 with two home runs and four runs batted in with an OPS of .748 in 18 games during camp and finished among the team leaders in at-bats with 42.
"He made an impression in spring," said manager Craig Counsell. "I didn’t really have him on the radar to make the team out of camp just because of everything that was around him, and he made a really good impression. Like Brice, he gives you a lot of ways to help you win baseball games.
"There’s a lot to what he does and he can do it in a number of different ways. And that shows up every day."
Wiemer said he didn't spend much time fretting after learning he didn't make the team initially.
"Just be where my feet are," he said. "Thought there was a chance, didn’t end up happening, life goes on. It happened pretty quick.
"Just excited to be here."
Wiemer's ability to play both center and right field, as well as his right-handed power bat, all form a tantalizing package. He hit .256 with 21 homers, 77 RBI and an OPS of .801 in 127 games split last season between Nashville and Class AA Biloxi.
“He did a great job this spring so he’s earned it," general manager Matt Arnold said. "His ability to provide us coverage in the outfield is something we value, the right-handed bat is something we value as well. He’s going to play today against the lefty (Justin Steele) and we’ll see what he can do.”
Added Counsell: "He provides defense, he provides an arm, he provides speed on the bases, there’s power. So, there’s a lot of ways to get to value."
Brian Anderson started in right for the second straight game on Saturday but with Urías on the shelf, he'll now see the bulk of his playing time at third base.
“I think we’ve got pretty good depth right now," Arnold said. "That was one of the benefits of the versatility that we have, whether it’s (Owen) Miller, Turang, (Mike) Brosseau, Anderson -- all these guys can flex into that third base spot, so we have the ability to cover that internally for now.
"But we’re having our depth tested early. We’ll see. It’s a bummer that it happened on Day 1.”
Luis Urías to miss 6-8 weeks for Brewers with hamstring strain
The injury to Urías, meanwhile, is a significant one that will sideline him for 6-8 weeks.
"It’s a solid hamstring strain," Counsell said. "It’s 6-8 weeks. Probably closer to eight is what we’re looking at, so it’s significant.
"It’s unfortunate, but we’ll have to fill in around him and hopefully get him back in late May, early June."
Urías indicated he suffered the injury a little over halfway to first base as he attempted to beat out a ground ball in the ninth inning.
"I kind of knew. I had a feeling," he said. "I’ve had enough injuries in my legs to know. And when it happened I was really frustrated. It was bad."
Urías has had an injury-plagued tenure with the Brewers, having dealt with a broken hamate bone in his hand and COVID-19 in 2020 and a quad strain that cost him the end of spring training and the first month-plus of last season.
"It is what it is," he said. "It’s baseball, it’s life. Sometimes things don’t go your way, but what can we do? We move forward and take it day by day and just try to get back as soon as possible."
To make room for Wiemer on the 40-man roster, the Brewers transferred left-hander Justin Wilson (elbow) to the 60-day IL.
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This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Joey Wiemer making his major-league debut for Milwaukee Brewers