PITTSBURGH – The Milwaukee Brewers returned a familiar face to the big-league clubhouse Wednesday at PNC Park and ended their experiment with three catchers in the process.
Keston Hiura was recalled from Class AAA prior to the second game of a three-game series with the Pittsburgh Pirates as the corresponding move to designated catcher Pedro Severino for assignment.
When the Brewers optioned Hiura on July 13 despite being one of their better hitters on the season, they did so in part to retain Severino, who was out of minor-league options. With sporadic playing time and Hiura’s production in the minors (8 for 30 with five homers in his most recent stint), time simply ran its course.
“I don’t think three catchers on the roster is ever preferable, necessarily, especially with our situation,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “Victor (Caratini) being a switch-hitter and Omar (Narvaez) being a left-handed hitter, there just wasn’t a lot of at-bats for Pedro. We kind of saw that as we ran the course over a month.”
Hiura is hitting .238/.354/.451 with eight home runs this season but has not seen much regular playing time, the result of which has been just 144 plate appearances. He has been up and down between Milwaukee and Nashville twice this season despite producing at every level, but the Brewers have been impressed by his approach to the shuttling.
“I think he’s handled it well this year because he’s playing well this year,” Counsell said. “He was struggling last year so it was a little bit different. I would call Keston very mature about it. He understands it and he doesn’t let it affect his performance.”
Hiura himself didn’t express any frustration about the role he has assumed this season.
“You always want to be here, especially when you have a good group of guys and a team that’s winning, you want to be a part of it and you want to contribute as much as you can,” Hiura siad. “You always want to be here. Obviously, there is a business side to things and at the end of the day, you can control what you can control. I was just happy to go down there, get those consistent at bats and build off a lot of things over there.”
Hiura has shown to be too advanced for AAA pitching. In 99 games over his career at the level, he has a .999 OPS and 33 homers.
The most important part of Hiura’s time in the minors, then, was the consistent at-bats he received to help him try to find his groove at the plate.
“For me it was more about having those quality at-bats where I can see pitches and limit the chase,” Hiura said. “I think I walked a decent amount of the time, which is good for me to see. Just going out there every single day and getting those at bats is always huge to figure something out, to roll with something and build off of.”
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This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Brewers recall Keston Hiura, designate Pedro Severino for assignment