Eric Thames is returning from a three-year stint with the NC Dinos of the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) to play for the Brewers. Thames posted video game numbers in Korea, particularly in 2015 when he slashed .381/.497/.790, with 47 home runs and 40 steals. He fell back to earth somewhat in 2016, but still posted a .317/.425/.676 line with 40 homers. Thames did have a sharp platoon split, however. The lefty hitting Thames did most of his damage in 2016 against righties, torching them for a .360 average and 28 home runs in 247 at-bats. The recent history of players transitioning from the KBO to MLB has been a mixed bag (Jung Ho Kang and Byungho Park), but Thames appears to be more confident and aggressive at the plate than he was during his previous time in MLB (where he had a career .727 OPS). He's set to play first base for the Brewers, but he could sit against some left-handed pitching.
Thames (hamstring) is back in Friday's lineup against the Braves, MLB Network Radio reports. Manager Craig Counsell referred to the hamstring injury that forced Thames out of Wednesday's game as "a very minor issue." Thames may not be quite 100 percent, but he is at least healthy enough to swing his white hot bat against righty Bartolo Colon in the opener of a three-game series at Miller Park. He can be deployed in all formats.
Manager Craig Counsell said that Thames was removed from Wednesday's game against the Reds due to left hamstring tightness, Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. The Brewers were sitting on a comfortable lead in the top of the eighth inning when Thames appeared to tweak his left leg, but it sounds like his removal from the contest may have been precautionary more than anything else. Counsell indicated after the game the injury was "not serious," and with a team off day Thursday, there's a good chance that Thames will be back out there for Friday's series opener with the Braves. The slugging first baseman went 1-for-3 with a pair of walks and runs scored before departing Wednesday.
Thames was pulled from Wednesday's game against the Reds in the top of the eighth inning with an apparent injury, C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. Thames didn't look to be in any major pain when he met with a team trainer on the field, but he was spotted stretching his left leg, so his removal could be related to that. Jesus Aguilar came in at first base in his stead, ending Thames' streak of games with a home run against the Reds at five. He finished the afternoon 1-for-3 with two walks and two runs scored. The Brewers will have an off day Thursday before opening a three-game set with the Braves over the weekend.
Thames went 1-for-3 with a walk and a two-run home run, his 11th of the season, in Tuesday's 9-1 rout of the Reds. He's now set a new franchise record with his 11th homer in April, and eight of them have come against Cincinnati pitching. Thames has to slow down eventually, but it'll take a major slump for the rest of the league to catch up to his 1.411 OPS.
Thames finished 2-for-3 with two home runs, three RBI, three runs scored and two walks in Monday's 11-7 win over the Reds. Thames continued his scorching start to the season in the power department with a solo homer to right in the first before sending a two-run shot to left an inning later. He walked in his final two plate appearances, as the Reds seemingly had no desire to give him anything to hit. Thames has enjoyed a tremendous return to the MLB and now leads the league in both home runs (10) and runs scored (23) through the early stages.
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