First-round Draft pick heats up, nears debut in field
By Carson Mason and Adam McCalvy
GRAND CHUTE, Wis. -- Brewers 2017 first-round Draft pick Keston Hiura has been tearing it up at the plate in his first month with Class A Wisconsin. Now, he is rapidly approaching his first professional game in the field.
"We're hoping to get him in a ballgame here mid-month," Timber Rattlers manager Matt Erickson said of the second baseman, who has been limited to designated hitter because of a right elbow injury that predated the Draft. "We don't have an exact date, but I can tell you that he's progressing nicely from the first day he got here."
Hiura sustained a partial tear of the UCL in his right elbow in April 2016, and he reinjured it last November. After the Brewers made him the No. 9 overall pick in early June, Hiura began his rehab process with the Arizona Rookie League Brewers, playing 15 games before a promotion to Wisconsin, where he has a hit in 19 of his first 20 games.
Hiura is at the end of a 6-8 week throwing program, and is involved with the team's daily pregame routine with no limitations, according to Erickson. The Brewers' No. 5 prospect, per MLBPipeline.com, has been focusing on using his lower half to take tension off his arm.
"Arm's feeling good," Hiura said. "[Erickson] has been working with me a lot to work on the feeds and transfers and footwork and all of that. I'm very excited and eager to get back on the field, so hopefully within the next week or two, I'll be able to do that."
In Monday's 7-2 win over Cedar Rapids, Hiura broke a 2-2 tie with a two-out RBI double in the fifth inning, his ninth double of the season. Cedar Rapids made a pitching change after the play, and Hiura used the opportunity to discuss defense.
"It was interesting," Erickson said. "He came over to third base, and he wanted to talk about defense in between the pitching change. He's champing at the bit a little bit to get on the other side and play the complete game."
• Third baseman Travis Shaw was on leave from the Brewers on Wednesday because of a family matter. He previously missed some games in June after his newborn daughter underwent multiple surgeries at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin for a congenital heart defect.
• Catcher Stephen Vogt, who is on the 10-day DL since getting hurt in a home-plate collision in Pittsburgh on July 17, went through a series of drills on the field Wednesday afternoon to test his injured left knee.
"I did some baserunning, threw to bases, did some blocking today, all without pain," Vogt said. "Definitely a really big step in the right direction. … We're well ahead of schedule."
Barring a setback, Vogt will repeat the drills Thursday, before the Brewers set a plan for a Minor League rehabilitation assignment.
• The Mayor of Gilbert, Ariz., told the Arizona Republic that the town was no longer in talks with the Brewers about a new Spring Training facility. The newspaper had previously reported on a proposal to build a $90 million complex, with the Brewers contributing about $20 million. Mayor Jenn Daniels said there has been no contact with the ballclub since June 13, when "there was a parting of the ways because this was not a great fit for Gilbert from a financial perspective."
"We're not exploring this any further," Daniels told the newspaper.