6/23/2013 8:30 P.M. ET
Ramirez rests as he recovers from knee injury
By Kevin Massoth / MLB.com
MILWAUKEE -- Brewers third baseman Aramis Ramirez was out of the lineup on Sunday for what manager Ron Roenicke called a scheduled off-day to rest the slugger's ailing left knee.
Ramirez sprained his left knee in early April and missed 23 games while on the disabled list. Although he had three hits and climbed to one knock away from 2,000 for his career on Saturday, Ramirez has been playing through the lingering injury.
"He's not having issues, [but] it's still there," Roenicke said. "He's getting a little frustrated with it. He's squaring up some more balls lately, but the hitting part is getting frustrating for him."
Roenicke gave Jeff Bianchi the start at third base against Braves' left-hander Paul Maholm on Sunday. Ramirez will get two days rest with Monday's off-day, before the team plays 20 straight games heading into the All-Star break beginning Tuesday.
"Hopefully with today and a day off tomorrow, we can start gaining some ground and then figure out how we get through these 20 straight games," Roenicke said. "When you're playing pretty much every day, it's really hard to get injuries to get better. Every time he tweaks it, it sets him back."
Ramirez is hitting .274 this year with just four home runs and 21 RBIs in 42 games. The slugger has just one home run in his last 211 plate appearances since hitting two homers against the Cardinals on May 17.
"But he's also there because he's a presence," Roenicke said. "When you're facing him with people on base, I don't care what kind of numbers he's showing. He just knows how to drive in runs. I think that's the frustrating part lately, he's not driving them in at the pace that he's used to."
Ramirez is not the only power hitter missing from the Brewers' lineup with Ryan Braun on the disabled list with a right hand injury and Corey Hart yet to play this year with a right knee injury.
"When you lose your three, four, five hitters, pretty tough to be consistent," said Roenicke.
Gomez sprains shoulder in collision with wall
MILWAUKEE -- Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy feared the worst when he saw the replay on the Miller Park video board of Carlos Gomez's fourth-inning injury Sunday.
"I thought he broke his collarbone again, I really did," Lucroy said, referring to a 2011 injury that kept Gomez out a month. "They showed a replay on it and it scared me, man. It looks terrible."
Lucroy and the Brewers seem to be able to breathe a little easier now after an awkward-looking injury of Gomez slamming into the center-field wall came away with what the team is calling a sprained left shoulder. Gomez was evaluated by team doctors following the Brewers' 7-4 loss to the Braves, but he said X-rays showed no broken bones and an MRI was not necessary.
The center fielder is day-to-day.
"Right now it's a little sore. I think we'll wait until tomorrow and see how it feels," said Gomez. "I [didn't feel anything] in my collarbone. I don't think it's going to take a lot of time. In a few days I'll be fine."
Gomez leaped to make a highlight-reel catch on a fourth-inning Andrelton Simmons drive, but he mistimed his jump and ended up pinning his left arm against the wall in center.
Gomez, who said he felt his shoulder pop out and back in, immediately grabbed it while lying on the warning track. The potential All-Star met the Brewers training staff in the outfield and continued to hold his left shoulder all the way to Milwaukee's first-base dugout.
"When I jumped, I [expected] the wall to be more close to me," Gomez said. "And when I jump and stay a long time in the air, I [said], 'Oh my God. This is going to hurt.' I thought I was going to hurt my head or my neck. But I got lucky I put my shoulder out."
Lucky is one way to put it. Brewers manager Ron Roenicke might be wondering if the luck is the other way around. Milwaukee is already without Ryan Braun and Corey Hart, and Aramis Ramirez has been playing through an injury as well.
"I think you could tell right away, the way he went into the wall and the way that really he didn't move after," Roenicke said. "It's pretty easy to see ... when he's hurt. Calling it a sprained shoulder right now, so hopefully it's not going to be too bad. It could be a couple days, it could be a week. We'll know more tomorrow when they take a look at him."
Gomez, who was also hit in the knee by a pitch Sunday, entered the game batting .314 with 12 home runs, 37 RBIs and 14 stolen bases. Lucroy said he's one bat the Brewers can't do without.
"I'm glad to hear that it's just a sprain, he's going to be OK," Lucroy said. "He's a big stick and an important part of our team and our lineup, so we need him back in there."
Brewers hold Pitch, Hit and Run contest at Miller Park
MILWAUKEE -- Every day, Jean Segura digs his cleats into the batter's box dirt next to home plate at Miller Park. Aramis Ramirez waits for his turn to hit at the top step of the Brewers' first base dugout. Norichika Aoki and Carlos Gomez roam the outfield grass.
On Sunday morning, so did Macayla Lang.
Lang was one of 24 participants in Major League Baseball's Pitch, Hit and Run Competition at Miller Park. The participants -- broken down into boys' and girls' age groups of 7-8, 9-10, 11-12 and 13-14 -- competed in skills competitions vying for a spot in the final round at the All-Star Game at Citi Field in New York on July 16.
"It's a great experience for all of them, regardless if they have their absolute best day on the field or absolute worst," Pitch, Hit and Run event coordinator Bennett Mayfield said. "It's us and only us on the field, so it's kind of V.I.P. treatment, if you will. It's a very unique experience for the kids."
The competition consists of three rounds of running, hitting and pitching, broken down into a scoring system to reveal the winners.
The first event timed the participants running from near second base and around third base to home plate. The second event was held in left field, where the competitors hit off a tee -- softballs for the girls and baseballs for the boys -- toward center field, where they were scored on distance and accuracy.
The final event was the pitching portion, held just in front of the third-base dugout. Participants threw six pitches at a 17-by-30-inch target to test accuracy.
After the scores were added up, each participant was presented a home-plate plaque and the boys and girls winner from each age group became eligible to advance to the final round at the All-Star Game to represent Wisconsin.
Lang won the girls' 7-8 age group as her father, Matt, and mother, Valerie, watched proudly a few rows up from the dugout.
"It's exciting. We had to get up a little early to get here, so there was a lot of sleeping in the car," said Matt Lang, noting it was an hour-and-a-half drive from Broadhead, Wis. "But she's really excited about it. The event is impressive. It's exciting to be here."
The Pitch, Hit and Run Competition has four levels, with the first round starting in March and April.
"There are four levels of competition," Mayfield said. "The first is local, rec departments, YMCA's, basically any youth organization or volunteer group can host a free competition. Winners from first round advance to one of six sectionals across the state of Wisconsin. If they are the top three scores in each age group there, then they are eligible to come [to Miller Park].
"Basically every corner of the state was represented today. All the kids did well, the families had a good time and the Brewers were great. It was definitely a successful day."
Gindl pokes first career base knock Saturday
MILWAUKEE -- Lost in the shuffle of Saturday's 2-0 win over the Braves was Brewers outfielder Caleb Gindl's first Major League hit.
Gindl, who took a momentary back seat to Francisco Rodriguez's 300th save and Donovan Hand's solid spot start, was just happy to have gotten his first knock out of the way as a pinch-hitter off Atlanta starter Tim Hudson in the sixth inning.
"There was a little bit of pressure. but I knew it would come if I kept having good at-bats. It was a great feeling," Gindl said. "To get it off Tim Hudson, a guy like that, I'll never forget it. When I finally got the hit, I was like, 'Phew. Finally.'"
Gindl had the ball displayed in a case in his locker on Sunday, but he said it took a little effort to get it after the game Saturday.
"[Kyle] Lohse got me," Gindl said. "He told me he threw my ball in the stands and I was like, 'Really? It's not a big deal or anything, just my first big league hit.'"
Ball or no ball, Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said it was nice to see the 24-year-old get his first hit out of the way before starting Sunday's game in left field and batting eighth against Braves left-hander Paul Maholm.
"It was good to see him get that first one," Roenicke said. "Hopefully he's excited, and he'll be back out today and do some more good things."
Burgos gets back on track with rehab start in Nashville
MILWAUKEE - Brewers right-hander Hiram Burgos made a rehab start on Sunday at Triple-A Nashville. Burgos, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list on May 24 with a right shoulder impingement, started the Nashville Sounds' 2 p.m. ET game against the New Orleans Zephyrs.
"He'll be stretched out," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "Triple-A staff, they're going to have a nice staff. With [Johnny] Hellweg, [Jimmy] Nelson, [Tyler] Thornburg. Too bad [Mike] Fiers is out, but [Chris] Narveson and Burgos. That's a pretty good staff."
Roenicke hopes the Brewers' starting staff will take shape soon with the return of Burgos and Marco Estrada, who is making a rehab start for Class A Wisconsin on Sunday. Relievers Donovan Hand and Alfredo Figaro started the final two games of Milwaukee's series against the Braves on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.
• After recording no shutouts over their first 66 games this season, the Brewers have three in their last seven games, including two in a row.
Kevin Massoth is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.