ease depth concerns
Keon Broxton has made challenging plays look routine for the Milwaukee Brewers.
The center fielder’s latest gem may have been his best one yet.
Broxton helped preserve a lead in the ninth Phillip Gaines Jersey , rookie Nate Orf hit a solo homer in Milwaukee’s two-run seventh and the Brewers beat the sliding Minnesota Twins 3-2 on Wednesday.
Broxton was on deck when Orf went deep two batters after Brad Miller hit a solo shot off Jose Berrios (8-7) to lead off the bottom of the seventh. It was Orf’s first career hit after coming up empty in his first seven at-bats.
Just a couple weeks ago, Broxton and Orf were also teammates at Triple-A Colorado Springs.
”Yeah I think I’m more excited about Orf’s home run,” Broxton said with a smile.
The Miller Park crowd was just as deliriously happy with Broxton’s catch. He ran full speed back to the wall and jumped with an outstretched glove to rob Brian Dozier of a homer for the second out in the ninth.
Broxton, filling in for the injured Lorenzo Cain, also made a tough catch at the angled part of the wall in center in a 6-5 win over Minnesota on Friday. He made a diving grab in the ninth last week to preserve a win at Cincinnati.
But manager Craig Counsell said Broxton’s latest catch was ”special … that one, he was on the run and had to time everything absolutely perfectly.”
The play prevented a rocky ninth for Corey Knebel from getting any worse. Eduardo Escobar hit his 13th homer and Jorge Polanco singled with two out, but Max Kepler flied to left to end the game. Knebel picked up his 10th save.
The Twins closed out a 1-8 road trip with their sixth consecutive loss.
”Frustrating. Dozier hits that ball and they made a heck of a play on that ball and then (Escobar) goes deep,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said.
Jesus Aguilar and Manny Pina lifted Orf up by his legs at the dugout steps to help the rookie answer a plea for a curtain call from a vocal crowd following his homer in the seventh.
”They picked me up and that’s when I noticed they wanted a curtain call,” Orf said. ”Next thing I know, I’m in front of all the fans on their shoulders. It was awesome.”
ON THE MOUND
Jeremy Jeffress (6-1) picked up the win despite allowing Dozier to score from third on Jorge Polanco’s bloop single to left for a 1-all tie in the top of the seventh. The hit snapped a stretch of 20 1/3 scoreless innings for Minnesota against the Brewers.
Berrios allowed five hits, struck out three and walked two in seven innings. He got little support from Minnesota’s punchless offense, which managed just three hits in the first 6 1/3 innings against Chase Anderson.
”I feel mad. As a pitcher Alvin Kamara Jersey , I never want to lose,” Berrios said. ”We had a chance to win the game and then they hit me for two homers. So I don’t like that.”
Twins first baseman Joe Mauer got his 414th career double in the fourth inning, matching Hall of Famer Kirby Puckett for the franchise record.
”Yeah, that whole play, I think it was the best play I’ve ever made.” – Broxton on his ninth-inning catch.
Twins: Two-time All-Star RHP Ervin Santana (right middle finger surgery) is scheduled to make his next rehab appearance on Thursday at Class A Fort Myers. … Molitor said utility player Taylor Motter (concussion symptoms) is on a ”pretty good track” to return from the 7-day disabled list on Friday.
Brewers: OF Christian Yelich went 1 for 4 after being held out of the starting lineup for five games with lower back tightness. … Counsell said it’s a ”pretty good sign” that Cain (left groin) is running the bases. ”We are close, we’re just not there yet,” the skipper said.
Twins: RHP Aaron Slegers will be recalled from Triple-A Rochester to start the opener of a four-game series on Thursday against the Baltimore Orioles. Slegers, who has made one appearance this season in the big leagues, is 5-6 with a 3.55 ERA in 14 starts in the minors. Left-handed reliever Gabriel Moya was optioned to Triple-A to open a roster spot.
Brewers: RHP Jhoulys Chacin (6-3) opens a four-game series against the visiting Atlanta Braves. Chacin is 1-4 with a 3.94 ERA in six career starts against Atlanta.
A new general manager is in charge of making the picks in the NFL draft this year for the Green Bay Packers, who are stocked with new faces on the coaching staff.
So many changes this offseason and yet the Packers will have familiar priorities when the draft starts Thursday night.
Think defense, again.
The secondary could use a cornerback or versatile safety. The pass rush could use another athletic presence off the edge.
"There will be some different people sitting in some different chairs. But I think it's going to be exciting," GM Brian Gutekunst Aaron Rodgers Jersey , who replaced the retired Ted Thompson in the offseason, said at the NFL combine.
"But what matters is building the board," Gutekunst said. "On draft day you kind of trust yourself, you watch it fall and then make the best decision you can."
There are a few holes to fill on a team that finished 7-9 and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2008. With a healthy Aaron Rodgers back this fall, the Packers hope to regain their postseason swagger in 2018.
It makes this year's draft especially important for a team that normally doesn't pick so high in the first round. At No. 14, the Packers have a shot at selecting an impact starter on defense.
Damarious Randall, the team's first-round draft pick in 2015, was traded to Cleveland for backup quarterback DeShone Kizer, to shake up the cornerback position again.
Veterans Tramon Williams and Davon House came back on free-agent deals and figure to join Kevin King, a second-round selection in 2017, atop the cornerback depth chart.
But another young cornerback certainly won't hurt in a pass-happy league. Prospects such as Ohio State's Denzel Ward or Central Florida's Mike Hughes might be first-round options.
Or the Packers might look at safety after versatile veteran Morgan Burnett left as a free agent for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Another 2017 second-round pick, Josh Jones Trevor Williams Jersey , seems poised to replace Burnett.
But another talented safety from the draft, such as Alabama's Minkah Fitzpatrick or Florida State's Derwin James, could give new defensive coordinator Mike Pettine more speed and valuable flexibility.
Clay Matthews, who will be 32 next month, hasn't eclipsed double-digit sacks since 2014, though he was asked to play middle linebacker during part of that time. Nick Perry had seven sacks after being limited to 12 games because of injury in 2017, his first after signing a contract extension. UTSA edge rusher Marcus Davenport could be a tempting first-round option with his explosiveness and potential.
Jordy Nelson is gone and Randall Cobb is entering the last year of his contract. Davante Adams is the new No. 1 receiver and under contract until 2021. Geronimo Allison, who has 35 catches and two touchdowns in his first two years in the league, could earn more playing time. The Packers could target a receiver or two in the early rounds of the draft to replenish depth.
ON THE O-LINE
There are questions on the right side of the offensive line, enough so that it wouldn't be a surprise if Green Bay saw value in taking a top prospect early. Veteran Jahri Evans, who was solid in his one season at right guard, turns 35 this summer and remains a free agent. Right tackle Bryan Bulaga tore his right ACL last season Rashaan Melvin Jersey , and top backups Jason Spriggs (knee) and Kyle Murphy (foot) are also coming back from injury.
HITS, MISSES AND BARGAINS
The Packers had a productive first couple rounds in 2014 with Thompson in charge, taking safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in the first round and Adams in the second. The 2016 draft brought three defensive starters in lineman Kenny Clark in the first round, along with a pair of fourth-rounders in lineman Dean Lowry and inside linebacker Blake Martinez.
Cornerback Quinten Rollins, a second-round pick in 2015, has been slowed by injuries through his career. Kyler Fackrell, a third-round pick in 2016, hasn't produced enough to ease depth concerns at outside linebacker.
The Packers got two bargains on the offensive line after taking left tackle David Bakhtiari in the fourth round in 2013 and center Corey Linsley in the fifth round a year later. More recently, the 2017 draft brought value at running back with fourth-rounder Jamaal Williams and fifth-rounder Aaron Jones.
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