The Milwaukee Brewers lost a game tonight in a big league ballpark and afterward announced their final decision for the big league roster.
In a somewhat unexpected move, 1B/OF Travis Ishikawa will start the year on the 25-man roster whihle INF Brooks Conrad heads to Nashville.
Conrad was widely, and incorrectly, assumed the favorite by many writers (this one included) as the Cactus League was reaching its conclusion.
Conrad is a switch-hitter and can back up at 1B, 2B and 3B, and had even been taking some “emergency catcher” drills with bullpen catcher Marcus Hanel. Ishikawa is left-handed at the plate and provides a more consistent pinch-hitting option, and while he only backs up at 1B, he’s a true backup there and packs a plus glove in his equipment bag. Ishikawa can also play the corner outfield spots in a pinch.
There can be no question in my mind that this decision was made in part because of how poor Conrad’s defense is around the diamond, regardless as to the position he’s currently stationed.
Anyway, congratulations to Travis Ishikawa.
If nothing unforeseen happens tomorrow, here is the rest of the official roster (as of tonight, things can always change before Friday) that will be lining up along the first-base line on April 6.
Starting Pitchers (5): RHP Yovani Gallardo, RHP Zack Greinke, LHP Randy Wolf, RHP Shaun Marcum, LHP Chris Narveson
Bullpen Pitchers (7): RHP John Axford, RHP Francisco Rodriguez, RHP Jose Veras, RHP Kameron Loe, LHP Manny Parra, RHP Marco Estrada, RHP Tim Dillard
Catchers (2): Jonathan Lucroy, George Kottaras
Infielders (6): 1B Mat Gamel, 2B Rickie Weeks, SS Alex Gonzalez, 3B Aramis Ramirez, 1B Travis Ishikawa, UTIL Cesar Izturis
Outfielders (5): LF Ryan Braun, CF Nyjer Morgan, RF Corey Hart, OF Carlos Gomez, OF Norichika Aoki