He's been held out of the starting lineup for the past five games, but has shown well off the bench in back-to-back efforts. With Dee Gordon back and Derek Dietrich now spending some time at first base, it appears Johnson has been relegated the weak side of a first base platoon. Further complicating the situation is the impending return of Justin Bour (ankle), but Johnson will continue to be the preferred option against left-handed pitching.
It seems as though Rizzo will be getting a rare day off during Saturday's matinee against Wade Miley and the Mariners. The slugging first baseman hasn't missed a game since June 24 when he was battling back stiffness, but will be replaced in the field by Willson Contreras, while Ben Zobrist moves into the third spot in the order.
The slugging first baseman helped to break the game wide open with his sixth-inning, bases-loaded two-bagger, plating Jon Lester, Chris Coghlan and Kris Bryant. Rizzo came up with the bases jammed again in the seventh, and his double play groundout allowed Matt Szczur to score on a fielder's choice. The 26-year-old has enjoyed a solid July, raising his average 18 points since the first game of the month.
Carter's first-inning blast was all the Brewers needed on a night when their starter, Junior Guerra, twirled a doozy over 8.2 innings. It was Carter's 23rd homer of the season and his first since July 8. The first baseman's .217 average leaves much to be desired, but he's now on pace to challenge the 40-homer mark, a feat that would also set a career high for the 29-year-old slugger playing in his seventh MLB season.
The first baseman is just 1-for-19 in his career against right-hander Jeff Samardzija, Friday's starter for San Francisco, so it makes perfect sense that he's sitting in favor of Clint Robinson. Zimmerman has gone 3-for-13 with a double, a stolen base, two walks and four strikeouts in three games since his return from a rib injury.
Moss has played in just one game on his rehab assignment at Double-A Springfield, so a Tuesday return is not set in stone at this point. Moss went 0-for-3 in his first game, however, he's been out since July 5, so it's only natural that he'll need a few games to get his timing back.
Johnson will be held out of the lineup for a fifth straight game, but he went 1-for-2 with an RBI double and a run scored off the bench Thursday, suggesting the foot is no longer much of a concern. His role has been reduced, as Derek Dietrich has taken over as the primary option at first base until Justin Bour (ankle) returns, but Johnson should continue to get starts against left-handed pitching.
Bour has been out since early July with an ankle injury that he suffered during a game against the Braves on July 2. The first basemen should get a few games under his belt with New Orleans before returning to the big league club, as he says he is still getting comfortable running around the bases and playing the field again. In his place, the Marlins have been shuffling between players at first base, and he should slot right back into the lineup when he returns.
Naylor was the top prospect in a very weak Marlins farm system, so it stood to reason that he would have to be included in any deal that netted Miami starting pitching help at the deadline. A 19-year-old first base prospect hailing from Canada, Naylor was hitting .269/.317/.430 with nine home runs and 10 steals (on 13 attempts) in 342 at-bats with Low-A Greensboro. Most impressively, he has a very respectable 16.8 percent K-rate, which distinguishes him from many other highly-touted first base prospects in the lower levels. There is no reason to expect him to continue to steal bases at a useful clip as he moves up the Padres' organizational ranks, but his power should start to show up more in games, with the potential for him to be a 30-homer threat in the big leagues. He should man first base for Low-A Fort Wayne over the rest of the season, and doesn't figure to reach the big leagues until at least 2019.
His owners have no doubt been waiting for that batting average to drop toward his career norms, and indeed he is hitting .189 in the second half, so a regression appears to be in full swing. Daniel Descalso will get the start at first base and hit seventh Thursday.