Closeups of the 2019 San Antonio Missions

San Antonio Missions catcher/first baseman David Freitas won the Pacific Coast League batting title. - photo by Joe Alexander
San Antonio Missions catcher/first baseman David Freitas won the Pacific Coast League batting title. – photo by Joe Alexander
Even front row seats are a long way from some positions on a baseball field.

During the course of the 2019 San Antonio Missions season, I occasionally got closer a look at some of the players.

That seemed like a good way to wrap up my summer from Wolff Stadium.

Former Missions trip wraps up at Wrigley Field

Former San Antonio Missions second baseman Keston Hiura playing for the Milwaukee Brewers against the Chicago Cubs on Aug. 30, 2019, at Wrigley Field. - photo by Joe Alexander
Former Missions second baseman Keston Hiura playing for the Brewers against the Cubs on Aug. 30, 2019, at Wrigley Field. – photo by Joe Alexander
The third and final game of my trip to catch up with some former 2019 San Antonio Missions players was on a sunny afternoon at Wrigley Field.

The Chicago Cubs beat the Milwaukee Brewers 7-1 on Friday, Aug. 30, 2019.

It was a tough day for the former Missions. Keston Hiura started at second but suffered a hamstring strain and went on the injured list the next day.

Hernan Perez started at third base. Trent Grisham and Cory Spangenberg both got in the game late.

Former Missions pitchers Ray Black and Jay Jackson each threw one scoreless inning in relief.

Game photos taken from my seat in Section 225.

Former Missions star Keston Hiura homers in Game 2 of Brewers trip

The Milwaukee Brewers' Keston Hiura celebrates after hitting a fourth-inning home run on Wednesday, Aug. 28, at Miller Park. - photo by Joe Alexander
The Milwaukee Brewers’ Keston Hiura celebrates after hitting a fourth-inning home run on Wednesday, Aug. 28, at Miller Park. – photo by Joe Alexander
The second game of my Milwaukee Brewers trip was a sunny afternoon at Miller Park.

Keston Hiura hit his 16th major league home run as the Brewers beat the St. Louis Cardinals 4-1 Wednesday, Aug. 28.

Former San Antonio Missions in the Brewers’ starting lineup were Trent Grisham in center, Hiura at second and Cory Spangenberg at third.

Hiura had two hits including a double and three RBIs. Grisham also had two hits with a double.

Game photos from my seat in section 208.

Former Missions with the Brewers and my first visit to Miller Park

Former San Antonio Missions players Keston Hiura, Trent Grisham and Cory Spangenberg in uniform for the Milwaukee Brewers on Aug. 27 at Miller Park. - photo by Joe Alexander
Former San Antonio Missions players Keston Hiura, Trent Grisham and Cory Spangenberg in uniform for the Milwaukee Brewers on Aug. 27 at Miller Park. – photo by Joe Alexander
After a summer of watching the San Antonio Missions, I got a chance to see some former Missions in the majors.

Tuesday, Aug. 27 was also my first visit to Miller Park in Milwaukee.

Trent Grisham in left field, Keston Hiura at second, Cory Spangenberg at third and Adrian Houser on the mound were all in the starting lineup for the Brewers.

Game photos were taken from my seat in Section 212.

The St. Louis Cardinals beat the Brewers 6-3.

Missions’ Keston Hiura, Tyler Saladino set to join Brewers

Missions second baseman Keston Hiura playing against the Tacoma Rainiers on Wednesday at Wolff Stadium. - photo by Joe Alexander
The Missions’ Keston Hiura, shown earlier this season, is expected to officially be called up by the Brewers on Friday. – photo by Joe Alexander
On a night when the San Antonio Missions combined stellar pitching with couple of home runs, the biggest story was two players who weren’t at Thursday’s game.

Keston Hiura and Tyler Saladino packed their bags before the game and left Wolff Stadium. Next stop, the big leagues.

The Milwaukee Brewers are expected to announce on Friday that Hiura and Saladino are being called up. Both have spent time with the Brewers earlier this season. Speculation about when Hiura would be called back up has been constant since he was sent back to San Antonio.

Apparently the call came Thursday afternoon. Both players were at batting practice at Wolff Stadium. At about 4:20 p.m. Central time, Hiura walked off the field as teammates waved at him.

A short time after that a member of the gameday staff reported that Saladino had exited the stadium. A team official confirmed both players were headed up.

Hiura hit .329 in 57 games in Triple-A with a team-high 19 home runs. Saladino hit .288 in 67 games and was second on the team in homers with 14.

The Missions' Tyler Saladino watches his three-run homer sail over the right-field fence in the sixth inning against the Redbirds on Sunday at Wolff Stadium. - photo by Joe Alexander
The Missions’ Tyler Saladino, shown earlier this season, is expected to officially be called up by the Brewers on Friday. – photo by Joe Alexander

By the way, Missions win

The Missions beat the Round Rock Express 3-0 on Thursday at Wolff Stadium.

Lucas Erceg and Jake Hager both homered for the Missions. Nate Orf drove in the other run.

Missions starting pitcher Burch Smith (6-3) went six innings and got the win. He allowed one hit with seven strikeouts and four walks. Deolis Guerra, Donnie Hart and Taylor Williams each pitched one inning in the combined shutout.

Missions starter Burch Smith pitched six innings and got the win against the Express on Thursday night at Wolff Stadium. - photo by Joe Alexander
Missions starter Burch Smith pitched six innings and got the win against the Express on Thursday night at Wolff Stadium. – photo by Joe Alexander

Missions’ Freitas, Hiura, Jackson, Saladino named to PCL All-Star roster

Missions second baseman Keston Hiura playing against the Tacoma Rainiers on Wednesday at Wolff Stadium. - photo by Joe Alexander
The Missions’ Keston Hiura was named to the 2019 Pacific Coast League All-Star roster. – photo by Joe Alexander
From a San Antonio Missions news release

The Pacific Coast League announced today their 33-man roster for the 2019 Triple-A All-Star Game. Second baseman Keston Hiura, infielder Tyler Saladino, catcher David Freitas, and relief pitcher Jay Jackson will represent the San Antonio Missions in their inaugural season as a member of the Pacific Coast League.

The 32nd Annual Triple-A All-Star Game will pit the Pacific Coast League All-Stars against the International League All-Stars and will be played on Wednesday, July 10 at Southwest University Park, home of the El Paso Chihuahuas. First pitch is scheduled for 8:05 PM CDT. The game will be televised on MLB Network with Scott Braun, Bill Ripken, Jim Callis, and Kelly Nash on the call. The telecast will be available online at MiLB.tv, the MiLB First Pitch app, and MLBNetwork.com. The game can be heard on KONO 860 AM with El Paso Chihuahuas broadcaster Tim Hagerty and Louisville Bats broadcaster Nick Curran calling the action.

Hiura is ranked as the top prospect in the Milwaukee Brewers organization and has been named to a mid-season all-star team for the second consecutive season after being tabbed a 2018 Carolina League All-Star while with Advanced-A Carolina. In 56 games with the Missions the second baseman is batting .332 with 44 runs, 16 doubles, 19 home runs, and 46 RBI. His .692 slugging percentage and 1.104 OPS are each ranked third in the Pacific Coast League. His 19 home runs are tied for seventh in the league and his batting average is good for ninth. The 22-year-old made his Major League debut this season and in 17 games with the Brewers hit .281 with 5 home runs and 9 RBI.

Freitas joined the Missions on April 14 after being traded to the Milwaukee Brewers from the Seattle Mariners. In 53 games the 30-year-old is batting .369, which is good for third in the PCL. He has scored 28 runs, tallied 15 doubles, 5 home runs, and driven in 46, which is tied with Hiura for the second most on the Missions. His on-base percentage of .444 is also third on the circuit. This is the fourth mid-season all-star nod for Freitas and first since 2012. He was named a mid-season all-star in each of his first three professional seasons.

Saladino has played all over the diamond for the Missions this season having seen time at all four infield positions along with left field and right field. In 66 games for the Missions the 29-year-old is batting .293 with 43 runs, 18 doubles, 14 home runs and 57 RBI. His 57 runs driven in are tied for seventh in the PCL. This will be Saladino’s second appearance in the Triple-A All-Star game as he was selected to represent the International League while with Charlotte in 2014.

Jackson has been named a mid-season all-star for the third time in his career and first since 2013. The right-hander has been one of the elite options out of the bullpen in the PCL in 2019 as he sports a 4-2 record with a miniscule 1.14 ERA in 25 appearances for San Antonio. He has converted six of seven save opportunities, which are tied for sixth in the league. Opponents are hitting just .171 against Jackson, which is the second lowest among relievers. He also boasts the fewest baserunners per nine innings among relievers at 7.11.

David Freitas. The San Antonio Missions beat the Round Rock Express 10-9 Sunday at Wolff Stadium in the first game of a doubleheader. - photo by Joe Alexander
The Missions’ David Freitas was named to the 2019 Pacific Coast League All-Star roster. – photo by Joe Alexander
The Missions' Tyler Saladino watches his three-run homer sail over the right-field fence in the sixth inning against the Redbirds on Sunday at Wolff Stadium. - photo by Joe Alexander
The Missions’ Tyler Saladino was named to the 2019 Pacific Coast League All-Star roster. – photo by Joe Alexander
Jay Jackson got the save. The Missions beat the Oklahoma City Dodgers 4-3 Friday at Wolff Stadium. - photo by Joe Alexander
The Missions’ Jay Jackson was named to the 2019 Pacific Coast League All-Star roster. – photo by Joe Alexander

David Freitas helps Missions belt Aces

David Freitas drove in three runs for the Missions with a fifth-inning double on Sunday at Wolff Stadium. - photo by Joe Alexander
David Freitas drove in three runs for the Missions with a fifth-inning double on Sunday at Wolff Stadium. – photo by Joe Alexander
David Freita had a three-RBI double and a solo home run as the San Antonio Missions beat the Reno Aces 8-3 Sunday at Wolff Stadium.

Nate Orf drove in the Missions’ first run of the game in the bottom of the fifth. Orf was one of three Missions to score when Freitas doubled with the bases loaded later in the inning to give the Missions a 4-2 lead.

Michael O’Neill had an RBI double and scored on a single by Mauricio Dubon as the Missions added two more runs in the sixth to make it 6-2.

Freitas hit his fourth home run of the season to lead off the bottom of the seventh and make it 7-2.

Orf doubled in O’Neill in the bottom of the eighth for the Missions’ final run.

The Aces scored the first two runs of the game on solo home runs by Abraham Almonte in the third and fifth innings.

Missions starting pitcher Aaron Wilkerson (6-1) went five innings and got the win. He gave up the two home runs to Almonte – the only runs Wilkerson has allowed in home games at Wolff this season.

Keston Hiura leads Missions’ longball barrage

Keston Hiura celebrates with his teammates at the plate after hitting a grand slam in the second inning on Thursday at Wolff Stadium. - photo by Joe Alexander
Keston Hiura (18) celebrates with his teammates at the plate after hitting a grand slam in the second inning on Thursday at Wolff Stadium. – photo by Joe Alexander
Keston Hiura continued to pile up big at-bats since returning to the San Antonio Missions.

In the eight games since being optioned down from the Milwaukee Brewers, Hiura has added four home runs, 11 RBIs and hit 11-of-34 (.324).

That includes two home runs and five RBIs Thursday night as the Missions pounded the Tacoma Rainiers 15-1 at Wolff Stadium.

Both of Hiura’s homers came off Rainiers starting pitcher Justus Sheffield. Hiura hit a solo shot in the first inning in his first at-bat. He added a grand slam in the second inning. That boosted his team-leading home run total to 15 for the season.

Hiura had plenty of help in the hitting department as the Missions spent a big part of their night celebrating at the plate.

Tyler Saladino hit his 13th home run of the season, a leadoff shot in the second inning.

Mauricio Dubon hit a two-run homer in the third inning.

Lucas Erceg added a three-run homer in the seventh inning.

The Missions finished with 15 hits including doubles by Dubon and Troy Stokes Jr.

Missions starting pitcher Burch Smith (4-3) went five innings to get the win. He allowed one run on two hits and struck out 10 batters with two walks.

Brewers prospect Keston Hiura back in San Antonio

Missions second baseman Keston Hiura playing against the Tacoma Rainiers on Wednesday at Wolff Stadium. - photo by Joe Alexander
Missions second baseman Keston Hiura playing against the Tacoma Rainiers on Wednesday at Wolff Stadium. – photo by Joe Alexander
Keston Hiura made his major league debut after being called up by the Milwaukee Brewers on May 14.

The Brewers needed reinforcements when injuries left the big league club short-handed in the infield.

Hiura showed he could hold his own, batting .281 with five home runs in 17 games.

But once Travis Shaw returned to the Brewers from an injury and rehab assignment, Hiura was optioned back to the Triple-A San Antonio Missions on June 3. The Missions were on the road at the time.

On Wednesday night, for the first time since his stint with the Brewers, Hiura was back playing on the Missions’ home field at Wolff Stadium.

He drew a media crowd before the game when he did a group interview in the Missions’ dugout. Then he had a hit and drove in a run in Wednesday’s 4-2, 10-inning loss to the Tacoma Rainiers.

In 43 games with the Missions this season, Hiura leads the team in home runs with 13, is second in batting at .331 and third in RBIs with 31.

  • Keston Hiura talks about playing for the Brewers and returning to San Antonio
    Story by Jerry Briggs on milb.com

  • Milwaukee Brewers second baseman Keston Hiura with the San Antonio Missions

    Keston Hiura playing for the San Antonio Missions at Wolff Stadium this season. - photo by Joe Alexander
    Keston Hiura playing for the San Antonio Missions at Wolff Stadium this season. – photo by Joe Alexander
    Keston Hiura was considered the top minor-league prospect in the Milwaukee Brewers organization.

    It was just a matter of time this season before Hiura went from the Triple-A San Antonio Missions up to Milwaukee.

    The 22-year-old from California was called up this week.

    Hiura played 37 games for the Missions this season. He batted .333 with 11 home runs, 15 walks and four stolen bases.

    Hiura, a first-round draft pick by the Brewers in 2017, had two hits and a walk in his first game in the majors.

  • 2-hit debut for Hiura ‘hasn’t really hit me yet’ – from MLB.com
  • Following debut, Hiura ready to settle in