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New Brewers 1B Hoskins says his knee shouldn’t be an issue anymore after missing entire 2023 season

 The Associated Press  |    Jan 29th, 2024 2:43pm EST

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Milwaukee Brewers first baseman Rhys Hoskins says he should have few limitations in his first spring with his new team after missing the entire 2023 season with a torn left ACL.

“I’ll be stoked to get on the field,” Hoskins said Monday in a Zoom news conference after agreeing last week to a $34 million, two-year contract that includes an opt-out after this season. “I’m pretty bored as a competitor in not having played in so long.”

Hoskins injured a knee last March while fielding a grounder in a spring training game with the Philadelphia Phillies, where he had spent his entire major league career before joining the Brewers.

“There’s definitely still some things that I’ve had to accomplish over the offseason just to progress with the rehab, but February 1st will be coming up right at about 10½ months, 11 months (since the injury),” Hoskins said. “So that by the time I get to Arizona for spring, I’m sure I’ll be eased back in because it’s been a year or so since I’ve been on the field, but I really should have little to no limitations once we get there and once games start, which is just exciting for me.”

Hoskins, who turns 31 on March 17, should fill a major void for the Brewers as a power-hitting first baseman. Hoskins batted .246 with a .332 on-base percentage, 30 homers and 79 RBIs in 2022, which marked his fourth season with at least 27 homers.

He has a career average of .242 with a .353 on-base percentage, .492 on-base percentage, 148 homers and 405 RBIs in 667 regular-season games. In nine career games at Milwaukee, Hoskins has batted .342 with a .405 on-base percentage, .790 slugging percentage, five homers and eight RBIs.

“Candidly, I wasn’t sure we were going to be able to access a player like him,” Brewers president of baseball operations Matt Arnold said. “I couldn’t be more excited to have this type of profile here because he fits so well. It’s just the type of player we’ve needed.”

Hoskins could get $16 million for one season or $48 million over three years as part of his contract. He will get a $12 million salary this year, and the contract includes an $18 million salary for 2025. If Hoskins opts out, he would receive a $4 million buyout payable on Feb. 1, 2026.

If Hoskins doesn’t opt out, the deal includes an $18 million mutual option for 2026. If that option is declined, Hoskins would receive a $4 million buyout payable on Feb. 1, 2026.

The Brewers didn’t get much production at first base last season as they won the NL Central despite having a .705 OPS that ranked 14th out of 15 NL teams, ahead of only the San Francisco Giants.

Rowdy Tellez hit 35 homers for the Brewers in 2022 but managed just 13 last year and got non-tendered before signing with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Carlos Santana, who got much of the playing time at first base for Milwaukee after getting acquired at the trade deadline, remains a free agent.

The Brewers also added Jake Bauers, who batted .202 with a .279 on-base percentage, 12 homers and 30 RBIs for the New York Yankees last season. But Hoskins figures to be the Brewers’ main first baseman as they hope he maintains the production he provided the Phillies.

Hoskins was a fan favorite in Philadelphia who provided one of the most memorable moments of the Phillies’ run to the 2022 World Series when he slammed his bat after hitting a three-run homer off Spencer Strider in Game 3 of their NL Division Series victory over the Atlanta Braves.

The Phillies opted not to pursue a new deal with Hoskins after moving two-time MVP Bryce Harper from the outfield and making him their regular first baseman.

“I’ll have very fond memories of my time in Philly and I’ll be excited to go back whenever that is (June 3-5),” Hoskins said. “They were up front with me at the start of the offseason, which I think was probably good for me emotionally, just being able to kind of get a little closure after a weird year and move on to whatever is next, which ended up I think being a great fit here in Milwaukee.”


AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb

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The Associated Press