Brewers' Chourio continues productive June by hitting inside-the-park HR and making a diving catch

Wed, Jun 26, 2024
MLB News (AP)

Brewers' Chourio continues productive June by hitting inside-the-park HR and making a diving catch

MILWAUKEE (AP) - Now that he's had a few months to get accustomed to life in the majors, Milwaukee's Jackson Chourio is starting to showcase the skills that made the 20-year-old one of baseball's top prospects.

Chourio delivered perhaps the biggest highlight of his young career Wednesday, becoming the first Brewer to hit an inside-the-park homer since Christian Yelich did it against the Chicago White Sox in 2020. He later made a diving catch in right field during the Brewers' 6-5, 10-inning victory over the Texas Rangers.

The 20-year-old Chourio is hitting .302 (19 of 63) in June. His batting average for the season, which was down to .207 after a June 1 victory over the Chicago White Sox, has climbed to .236.

"I think truthfully there hasn't been a lot different," Chourio said through a translator. "I think just things are going a little bit more my way, and some of those hits are falling now."

Brewers manager Pat Murphy says he's seen a difference lately and noted how every player must fight through some doubt each time he takes the next step in his development.

There's no doubting Chourio's confidence right now.

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"He's been good for a while now," Murphy said. "There's still been some ups and downs here and there, but his defense, you know, it's like he believes. 'I can play. I can do this.' "

The Brewers trailed 5-4 with two outs in the fourth inning when Chourio hit a sinking liner. Rangers center fielder Derek Hill attempted to make a diving catch, but the ball got past him and rolled to the wall.

"As soon as I saw the ball pass him, the only thing I was thinking of was making it to home," Chourio said.

His inside-the-park homer came eight days after he hit a "Little League homer" in a 6-3 triumph over the Los Angeles Angels by coming all the way home on a drive that was misplayed by right fielder Jo Adell. That play was officially ruled a double and two-base error.

Chourio circled the bases in 14.75 seconds that night, the fastest home-to-home time by any player this season. He displayed the athleticism that helped him soar through the Brewers' minor league system.

"I had the chance to play with him in the minor leagues," Brewers infielder Andruw Monasterio said. "He's a guy, you know? He's a player. He can do everything. I'm happy he's on this team."

Chourio's productive June has backed up the faith the Brewers showed in him by giving him an eight-year, $82 million contract in December. Chourio was 19 years old at the time and had played just six games above the Double-A level. The contract represented the highest financial commitment a team had ever given a player without any major league experience.

He made Milwaukee's Opening Day roster and batted .350 in his first five games. But he struggled for the next several weeks as his playing time became more sporadic.

The Brewers maintained confidence Chourio would start to thrive. During a May 31 media session, Brewers principal owner Mark Attanasio dismissed the idea of sending Chourio to the minors by saying that "I don't see where he's going to learn anything at Triple-A at this point."

Sure enough, Chourio has come around. He has gone 6 of 14 over his last four games. He went 2 for 4 on Wednesday, which marked his sixth multi-hit game this month.

"I think the thing was just to continue playing my game, not to change, not to think too much and just know my moment was going to come," Chourio said.

His progress on defense was evident when he robbed Adolis Garcia of a hit in the seventh inning. Chourio, who played primarily center field in the minor leagues, has been a corner outfielder in the majors.

"It's something new for me, but lately I've been feeling incredible, super good out there playing right field," Chourio said.

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