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Andy Behrens

JJ Hardy sent down, Alcides Escobar and his 42 steals called up

Andy Behrens
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If you have any need for stolen bases and/or middle infield help in a competitive league, go grab Milwaukee's Alcides Escobar(notes). Better do it soon. This post will be waiting for you when the add is finished.

Here are the essential details, via Tom Haudricourt of the Journal Sentinel:

In another drastic move, the Brewers have sent down shortstop J.J. Hardy(notes) and recalled Alcides Escobar from Nashville. ... Hardy, who does not have quite enough time in the majors to refuse an assignment in the minors, has struggled all year at the plate. He is batting .229 with 11 homers and 45 RBI in 371 at-bats.

Escobar, considered the team's top prospect, was batting .298 at Nashville with 24 doubles, six triples, four homers and 34 RBI in 109 games. He has 42 stolen bases and a .353 on-base percentage.

Escobar, 22, was obviously having an excellent year at Triple-A. He's widely regarded as one of the finest defensive shortstops in the minors, and he clearly has speed. We'll make no promises about his contributions in other fantasy categories, but the steals should be there and he'll be an everyday player. Escobar is six percent-owned in PLUS leagues.

This must seem like sweet relief for Hardy owners. He's hitting .229 for the year and .190 in August. He hadn't homered since July 18. Hardy trades were often rumored, but they never materialized.

The Brewers also designated Bill Hall for assignment and fired pitching coach Bill Castro, so it's been a full day. Nashville outfielder Jason Bourgeois(notes), 27, was called up along with Escobar. Bourgeois was hitting .316/.354/.401 with 36 steals in 43 attempts.

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