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Garrett Mitchell gets first taste of pros

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For first-round Draft pick Garrett Mitchell and some other Brewers Minor Leaguers who lost their season to the coronavirus pandemic, it’s finally time to play ball.

The Brewers’ fall instructional league is underway in Phoenix with a 53-man roster. The Brewers’ squad played against the Giants on Monday in Scottsdale, Ariz., the first of 25 games against other organizations.

Teams are following many of the same health and safety protocols that guided Major League players through their shortened season. From intake testing earlier this month through the final game on Nov. 12, the program covers about six weeks, an opportunity to make up for lost time.

• What to watch for: Brewers offseason FAQ | 5 key questions

Players range in age from 17 to 26. In addition to games five to six days per week, the Brewers will have work groups each day to ensure that players get individual skill work.

For at least eight players, acquired by the Brewers in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, it will be their introduction to Milwaukee’s system. That group includes four of the Brewers’ five 2020 Draft picks — Mitchell, catcher Zavier Warren, outfielder Joey Wiemer and infielder Hayden Cantrelle — plus Evan Reifert, a right-handed pitcher who went undrafted. Also participating are all three of the young pitchers acquired by the Brewers in an Aug. 31 trade with the Phillies: right-handers Juan Geraldo, Israel Puello and Brandon Ramey.

Of the Brewers’ five 2020 Draft picks, only second-rounder Freddy Zamora, isn’t on the roster. He is recovering from right ACL surgery, but he is at the complex with the other players, participating on a limited basis.

Warren, Wiemer and Cantrelle got at-bats over the summer in independent leagues, but Mitchell, ranked by MLB Pipeline as the organization’s top prospect,

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Garrett Cooper hits winning homer in Wild Card Series

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Excuse Garrett Cooper if his emotions got the best of him while rounding the bases on Friday afternoon, as he blurted a few unprintable words.
• NLDS presented by Doosan, Game 1: Tuesday on FS1 or MLB Network
For all the lows Cooper has gone through in his career, he

Excuse Garrett Cooper if his emotions got the best of him while rounding the bases on Friday afternoon, as he blurted a few unprintable words.

• NLDS presented by Doosan, Game 1: Tuesday on FS1 or MLB Network

For all the lows Cooper has gone through in his career, he was elated to experience the high of connecting on a momentum-changing home run that helped lift the Marlins to a 2-0 victory over the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

With the victory, the Marlins swept the best-of-three National League Wild Card Series, advancing to the best-of-five NL Division Series against the Braves on Tuesday at Minute Maid Park in Houston.

“I think I dropped a few bad words as I was rounding the bases,” Cooper admitted. “It’s just something you can’t explain, especially after I went through what I went through the first year I was here. To come back last year with the calf injury. To do what I’ve done.”

What the Marlins as a team have gone through is already well-documented. Their season started with 18 players testing positive for COVID-19. Cooper was one of them.

Miami has used 61 players this year and finished the regular season with 28 games in 24 days.

All this after finishing 57-105 and in last place in the NL East in 2019.

Cooper played in just 14 games in 2018 after undergoing right wrist surgery. In 2019, he appeared in 107 games, hitting .281 with 15 homers and 50 RBIs. This season,