The Milwaukee Brewers announced today via press release and on Twitter that Ryan Braun underwent his thumb procedure today as scheduled.
Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun underwent a cryotherapy procedure today on his right thumb. The procedure was performed by Dr. Vernon Williams at the Kerlan Jobe Clinic in Los Angeles. Braun will meet again with Dr. Williams on Monday, October 6. If there is no adverse reaction to the treatment, Braun will begin swinging a bat to determine the effect of the procedure on his swing along with this pain tolerance.
Braun batted .266 with 19 HR, 81 RBI and 11 stolen bases in 135 games this season.
The other breaking news of the mid-afternoon comes in the form of a pair of roster moves.
Relief pitcher Alfredo Figaro was claimed off waivers by the Texas Rangers. Figaro, 30, spent parts of the past two seasons in the Brewers organization, compiling a 3-4 record and 4.46 ERA, in 82.2 innings pitched across 39 games, five of which were starts.
Catcher Matt Pagnozzi cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A Colorado Springs. Pagnozzi, who turns 32 in November, joined the Brewers organization as a minor league free agent in December of 2013. Pagnozzi was added to the 40-man roster as a September call-up in 2014, appearing defensively in just one game without recording a plate appearance.
As a result of the two roster moves, the Brewers’ 40-man roster stands at 38. This number looks to fluctuate quite a bit this off-season as some pending free agents aren’t resigned and as the injured players currently on the 60-day disabled list are activated from the same.
Opening Day is here for the minor leagues!
What follows are the announced rosters for each of the full-season minor-league affiliates for the Milwaukee Brewers, broken down by position group.
Class-AAA Affiliate (Twitter: @nashvillesounds)
Manager: Rick Sweet
28 Total Players
- Michael Blazek (Twitter: @MichaelBlazek34)
- Hiram Burgos (Twitter: @Burgos196)
- Jose De La Torre
- Mike Fiers (Twitter: @Fiers64)
- Alfredo Figaro
- Donovan Hand (@DonovanHand)
- Kyle Heckathorn (@KyleHeckathorn)
- Johnny Hellweg
- Brad Mills
- Dustin Molleken
- Jimmy Nelson (@Jimmy_J_Nelson)
- Ariel Peña
- Rob Wooten (@RobWooten35)
- Irving Falu (@irvingfalu)
- Hector Gomez
- Taylor Green
- Sean Halton (@SeanHalton11)
- Elian Herrera
- Hunter Morris (@HunterMorris15)
- Pete Orr
- Stephen Parker
- Eugenio Velez
- Caleb Gindl
- Jeremy Hermida
- Kevin Mattison (@stachemaster4)
Class-AA Affiliate (Twitter: @HuntsvilleStars)
Manager: Carlos Subero
28 Total Players
- Tyler Cravy (@TylerJayCravy)
- Drew Gagnon (@Dgags24)
- David Goforth (@DavidGoforth7)
- Brooks Hall
- Greg Holle (@GHolle44)
- Taylor Jungmann
- Brent Leach (@brentle24)
- Arcenio Leon
- Johnnie Lowe (@jlowe390)
- Eric Marzec (@MarzMLB)
- Casey Medlen (@cmeds13)
- Andy Moye (@AMoye22)
- Kevin Shackelford (@Shackeldaddy)
- Brent Suter (@bruter24)
- Joey Paciorek
- Adam Weisenburger (@aweisenburger)
- Shawn Zarraga
- Greg Hopkins (@StJonnyHopkins)
- Josh Prince (@JoshPrince17)
- Nick Ramirez (@N_Ramirez33)
- Jason Rogers (@jasonrogers2003)
- Nick Shaw (@NShaw3)
- Hainley Statia (@HStatia4)
- Shea Vucinich
- Kentrail Davis
- Mitch Haniger (@M_Hanny19)
- Brock Kjeldgaard
- D’Vontrey Richardson
Class-A Advanced Affiliate (Twitter: @BCManatees)
Manager: Joe Ayrault
26 Total Players
- Jacob Barnes (@j_barnes30)
- Jed Bradley (@Jed_Bradley)
- Hobbs Johnson (@hojo31)
- Jorge Lopez (@yabiee18)
- Damien Magnifico (@D_Magno32)
- Stephen Peterson (@SPetey22)
- Chad Pierce (@pierce_chad)
- Tanner Poppe (@TannerPoppe)
- Austin Ross
- Michael Strong (@Strong_Mike1188)
- Tommy Toledo (@TommyToledo13)
- Martin Viramontes (@martilious19)
- Tyler Wagner (@_TylerWagner_)
- Orlando Arcia
- Garrett Cooper (@CoopaLoop1)
- Michael Garza (@Miguelito_G_21)
- Brandon Macias (@Cias12)
- Nathan Orf (@NateOrf4)
- Yadiel Rivera (@YADIELRIVERA13)
- Alfredo Rodriguez (@Arodss2)
- Jose Sermo (@j_weesy21)
Class-A Affiliate (Twitter: @TimberRattlers)
Manager: Matt Erickson
27 Total Players
- Tyler Alexander (@LilLefty12)
- Tristan Archer (@TRISTAN_archer)
- Barrett Astin (@BarrettAstin17)
- Victor Diaz
- Rodolfo Fernandez (@cuba900321)
- Preston Gainey (@friendpresto)
- Tyler Linehan (@tylinny39)
- Harvey Martin (@Martin_Time15)
- Zach Quintana (@Slummdog)
- Chris Razo (@RazBerry02)
- Trevor Seidenberger (@trev15berger)
- Tyler Spurlin (@TyroneG4)
- Taylor Williams (@TWilly_KSU)
- Francisco Castillo
- David Denson (@_DavidD_41)
- Steven Halcomb
- Chris McFarland (@cmcfarland116)
- Angel Ortega
- Taylor Smith-Brennan (@TaylorBrennan88)
We’re on the precipice of Opening Day, but there are still some decisions awaiting the front office staff of the Milwaukee Brewers.
Most pressing, if not most important, is how they will construct the 25-man roster to begin the 2014 regular season. In this, they’ve got some options.
Let’s assume a couple of things off the top here. First, a standard 13 hitter, 12 pitcher roster split. Second, that we’re all aware that things will change throughout the season and plenty of the players who don’t make the Opening Day roster will don a Brewers uniform at some point in 2014.
I’ll lay out the different roster groupings and then explain what went into my decisions thereafter. Cool?
With that, to the list!
Starting Pitchers (5)
- Yovani Gallardo
- Kyle Lohse
- Marco Estrada
- Matt Garza
- Wily Peralta
I did my best educated guess at the order here too. It was announced that Gallardo has Opening Day honors and that Lohse will follow in Game 2. It was also hinted that Garza could pitch the opener in Boston, but that isn’t for sure yet…at least not publicly. Couple that with how well Estrada has pitched and he’s the superior choice against Atlanta in Game 3 than is Peralta.
The wrinkle here is that the Brewers have the opportunity to start the season with four starters because of the off-days scheduled. They don’t need a fifth starting pitcher until mid-April. If they do that, Peralta would start with Nashville to stay on rotation.
Relief Pitchers (7)
(with one more starting on DL)
- Jim Henderson
- Francisco Rodriguez
- Will Smith*
- Brandon Kintzler
- Wei-Chung Wang*
- Rob Wooten
- Alfredo Figaro (Alternative: Tyler Thornburg)
- Tom Gorzelanny* (DL)
Henderson is the incumbent closer. Rodriguez was brought in on a MLB deal and has the longest track record out of any of the options. Smith has been great this spring after being acquired in trade. Kintzler was very good last year and has a spot locked up. Wang makes it in part because of how well he’s thrown but also because of the Rule V circumstances. Wooten pitched well enough in his time last year that he gets one of my “open” jobs. He’s certainly in a fungible position, though, as he’s got minor league options remaining.
For the final active spot, I’m going with Alfredo Figaro. I know that Tyler Thornburg is under consideration for that job, but I think that they’ll realize that he’s more valuable staying stretched out at Nashville in order to cover the inevitable first injury to the starting rotation than he is in pitching at best every other day in Milwaukee as the long man. Figaro filled the long relief role admirably last year as his stuff played up out of the bullpen.
Wooten, Figaro, and Thornburg all have at least one minor league option remaining so there’s no real consideration of roster depth when making any decisions concering the three. And I think we’ll be seeing all of them pitch at Miller Park in 2014 at one point or another.
As for non-roster invitee Zach Duke, I think that the Brewers have liked what they’ve seen but with Wang making good (so far), there really isn’t room for Duke to begin the season. The veteran lefty is on a minor-league deal, so most likely he’ll simply be assigned to Nashville to start.
- Jonathan Lucroy
- Martin Maldonado
They’re the only two on the 40-man and that’s because they’re the two best in the organization. Nothing more needs to be said here.
- Mark Reynolds
- Rickie Weeks
- Jean Segura
- Aramis Ramirez
- Juan Francisco** (Alternative: Lyle Overbay)
- Scooter Gennett**
- Jeff Bianchi (Alternative: Elian Herrera)
Reynolds was signed to a minor-league deal for roster considerations at the time. He’s got a job. Weeks is the longest-tenured player in the organization right now and isn’t moveable (yet). Segura and Ramirez are obvious inclusions. Gennett comes along if they go with two second basemen, which has been the hottest talk of late.
Despite all the talk to the contrary lately, I still think that if they must choose between them, Francisco’s potential, relative youth, power, and increased patience this spring outweight Overbay’s veteran savvy, locker room presence, and far superior defense. That said, I can absolutely see a scenario in which they trade Francisco for an asset and keep Overbay. Maybe I’m projecting Francisco simply out of hope.
The other hotly contested job has been the utility infielder role. Jeff Bianchi filled the role last year with middling success. The biggest challenger to Bianchi’s incumbency has been the 40-man rostered Elian Herrera, who was claimed off waivers from the Los Angeles Dodgers over the winter. They’ve both hit, they both have defensive versatility. The differences that matter: Bianchi is a better defender at shortstop. Herrera is a much more natural outfielder (which is big when you’ve only got four rostered). Herrera is a switch hitter. Bianchi is out of options; Herrera has one remaining. It is that last point that I think will be the deciding factor. Herrera will start at Nashville and would absolutley be the first man called upon should an injury befall any infielder on the big league roster.
For the record: Should they decide that they can forego two second basemen to start the year to even the roster out a bit a more, I think Herrera would make the club over a fifth true outfielder.
- Khris Davis
- Carlos Gomez
- Ryan Braun
- Logan Schafer**
Another easy prediction. Schafer could see some time starting in left field, but as the only man on the projected roster that can backup centerfield, he’ll likely be providing coverage from the bench more often than not.
* - Throws left-handed ** - Bats left-handed ---
So there you have it.
I welcome feedback and want to hear your opinions. Do you agree? Disagree? Think I’m overlooking an important detail or better player? Look down there…a “Comments” section.
Today is Friday, February 14th. You may know it as Valentine’s Day. This year, I know it as Pitchers & Catchers Eve. I also know it as 45 days away from Opening Day.
Among the pitchers scheduled to officially report to camp tomorrow is the man who wears #45 on his back for the Brewers and the subject of this profile…
Acquired as a free agent prior to the 2013 season, Figaro returned to MLB after a successful pair of seasons playing in Japan for the Orix Buffaloes.
Primarily a starting pitcher in Japan, Figaro spent most of his 2013 for the Brewers as a long reliever. He pitched in 33 games for Milwaukee, starting five and finishing eight. All told, he posted a 4.14 ERA, but his stuff predictably played up when he was entering games out of the bullpen.
Here are his splits for 2013 by role.
- SP: 1-2, 6.48 ERA, 25.0 IP, 8 HR, 6 BB, 21 K, 1.360 WHIP, 3.50 K/BB
- RP: 2-1, 2.94 ERA, 49.0 IP, 7 HR, 9 BB, 33 K, 1.184 WHIP, 3.67 K/BB
Figaro has a big fastball (which Pitch f/x says topped out at 98.7 MPH last year, and sits just over 95 MPH) which he compliments with a slider and much less so with a straight change. His fastball/slider combination was fairly effective at generating groundballs. He had a 56.8% groundball rate with his slider as a matter of fact. Unfortunately, opponents hit .290 off of Figaro’s slider last year.
The 29-year-old Figaro, who hails from the Dominican Republic, totaled 77.0 innings in 2013 but would have pitched even more had he not hit the disabled list in late June with an oblique injury. That injury opened the door for Johnny Hellweg’s MLB debut, but that’s neither here nor there.
Figaro was activated off of the disabled list on July 24th and then optioned down to Class-AAA Nashville on August 16th. He rejoined the parent club at the end of August, after John Axford was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals.
Looking ahead to 2014, Figaro may be a fine choice for long man to start the year, but the bottom line in a bullpen without many openings is that Figaro does have one minor league option remaining. As a result, Figaro may see even more frequent flier miles. The Opening Day bullpen might have a job for him, but that hinges on one or more of a handful of factors. Is Tom Gorzelanny ready to go? Did they keep their Rule V pick Wei-Chung Wang? When do they need their fifth starter and would they start the first four games of the season with an extra bullpen arm?
Figaro has proven that he’s capable of being a useful arm, but how much of that he’ll be able put in a Major League boxscore remains to be seen. I’m predicting that Figaro will find himself on a few extra airplanes this year as he travels up and down as needed.
You can follow Alfredo Figaro on Twitter: @Guden45
Miss anyone along the way? Catch up on the Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers profiles to this point:
- #46 Hiram Burgos
- #47 Rob Wooten
- #49 Yovani Gallardo
- #50 José De La Torre
- #51 Wei-Chung Wang
- #52 Jimmy Nelson
- #53 Brandon Kintzler
- #54 Michael Blazek
- #58 Ariel Peña
- #59 Zach Duke
- #60 Kevin Shackelford
- #61 Jason Rogers
- #63 Brooks Hall
- #64 Mike Fiers
- #65 Irving Falu
- #66 Robinzon Diaz
- BONUS COLUMN: #77 David Goforth, #76 Kevin Mattison, #75 Mitch Haniger, #74 Michael Olmstead, #73 Kentrail Davis, #72 Cameron Garfield, #71 Adam Weisenburger, #70 Dustin Molleken, #67 Eugenio Velez
Recorded on location last night, here is the latest Brewer Nation podcast.
Check the tags for some of the players mentioned during this hour-long clip.
Milwaukee Brewers have acquired a player to be named from the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for right-handed reliever John Axford.
The announcement was made by President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Doug Melvin. Axford, 30, is 6-7 with a 4.45 ERA in 62 relief appearances this season. Though he did not produce a save for the Brewers in 2013, he ranks second on the all-time franchise list in that category (106), trailing only Dan Plesac (133). Axford went 21-19 with a 3.35 ERA and 106 saves in 268 relief appearances with the Brewers from 2009-13. His 46 saves in 2011 set a franchise record. He is eligible for arbitration. “John has been a big contributor to the Brewers, and we do not go to the playoffs in 2011 without his outstanding performance,” said Melvin. “He and his wife, Nicole, will also be missed as contributors to the Milwaukee community.”
In a corresponding roster move, the Brewers have recalled right-handed pitcher Alfredo Figaro from Triple-A Nashville. Figaro is 2-3 with a 4.25 ERA in 26 games (5 starts) with Milwaukee this season.
Following the Brewers’ 9-3 win over the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday evening, the team announced the Alfredo Figaro was the latest Brewers player to succumb to injury.
Citing an oblique strain that popped up three starts ago — which would help explain the downtick in performance as well — Figaro was placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to Monday, June 24th. The big news of the move though was who was recalled to take his place both on the roster and in the starting rotation.
Top prospect, the 6’9″ fire-balling righty Johnny Hellweg was recalled from the Triple-A affiliate Nashville Sounds. He’ll join the team officially tomorrow and travel to Pittsburgh on Thursday evening in preparation for his Major League debut.
After a slow start to the season, Hellweg modified his approach on the mound with spectacular results so far. Over the last month, Hellweg has made four starts (he was held out for a stretch to conserve innings) and posted the following line:
4-0 record, 0.67 ERA, 27.0 IP, 20 H, 3 R (2 ER), 1 HR, 7 BB, 12 K, 2 HBP, 1.000 WHIP
He’s been pitching a bit more to contact, worrying less about the strikeout, and letting his defense work. Ironically, he’s currently scheduled to square off against Gerritt Cole, the top pitching prospect for the Pirates who also has been conspicuously devoid of strikeouts since his MLB debut. He’s another fireballer who has let his natural movement and disdain for pitching outside the zone work to his advantage.
Hellweg was called upon because, as manager Ron Roenicke put it, they needed another starter with Figaro getting hurt. Still, there’s something telling about Hellweg coming up for an audition in advance of the trading season. Hellweg represents the spearhead of a wave of touted pitching prospects reaching the upper levels of the Brewers’ system. That he was a part of the return in the Zack-Greinke-to-Anaheim deal along with Jean Segura just makes his debut that much more exciting.
Bottom line: Set your DVRs for Friday night in Pittsburgh if you aren’t going to be home. As for me?
My wife and kids are going up north on Friday morning. I’m considering a road trip to Pittsburgh for Hellweg’s debut. Who’s coming with me?
— The Brewer Nation (@BrewerNation) June 26, 2013
So you’ve seen the moves (as listed here) but what do they all mean for the individual players involved?
First the easy one.
Alex Gonzalez will be unconditionally released through the waiver system. He wasn’t getting the job done at the plate and his defense didn’t continue to progress the way that the team had hoped back in Spring Training. He does have one W to his credit this season though. His two-run double against A.J. Burnett in the game the Brewers won 2-1 back on May 24th.
Second up is Mike Fiers. He was optioned to Triple-A Nashville. What does that mean? He’ll start for the Sounds as he looks to regain his confidence which manager Ron Roenicke said was noticably absent from his recent outings. Despite having more success as a relief pitcher this year, he has experience starting successfully so the Brewers will certainly give him an opportunity to contribute in a place where they lack ready depth.
Moving into that spot in the rotation will be Alfredo Figaro. Figaro was a starter in Japan for the last two seasons along with much of his minor league career. Figaro had a spot start last week against the Minnesota Twins.
Now for the moves that resulted in new pieces on the big league roster.
Third baseman Juan Francisco, 25, is a 6’2″, 240 lb Dominican who was acquired via trade following his having been designated for assignment by the Atlanta Braves. Once being touted as having the potential to be their “Pablo Sandoval”, Francisco didn’t hit for much average in Atlanta and was the expendable piece when the Braves needed an extra arm called up for the bullpen.
Hopefully the Braves’ discard is the Brewers’ treasure. Doug Melvin told the media that the plan is to start Francisco at first base, something that he, while not having much experience doing it, is willing to do. After all, Brewers’ 1B this season have combined to slash .193/.229/.288 so far. That’s putrid. Francisco posted a .241/.287/.398 slash line himself. He is a left-handed bat though and will help balance out the lineup to a degree when he plays.
And finally, the clamoring has been answered as Doug Melvin recalled second baseman Ryan “Scooter” Gennett from the minor leagues. Scooter’s addition accomplishes two things right away. It finally gives the Brewers a full bench of hitters but also allows for a soft platoon at the keystone with the incumbent and favored lightning rod Rickie Weeks.
Gennett bats left-handed and again offers some lineup balance on days he starts. More over, it allows Roenicke to pick and choose his match ups for Weeks even more finely and really get the veteran in there on days which he should benefit in an effort to continue to build upon his mild resurgence over the past week plus.
So there you have it. Weeks and Gennett will somewhat platoon at second for the time being. It won’t be a strict Gennett vs RHP and Weeks vs LHP all the time. Francisco will start a lot at first base with Yuniesky Betancourt as his soft platoon partner and primary back up. Jeff Bianchi become the primary back up for shortstop and some combination of he, Betancourt and Francisco will back up Ramirez at third. And Figaro takes over in the rotation for the demoted Fiers.
Catching you up on a few things from the Memorial Day weekend in case you were grilling out and forgot to turn on your radio.
Figaro Gets the Nod
After Wily Peralta was able to gut out five full innings on Memorial Day, the Brewers’ plans for a starting pitcher on Tuesday evening against the Minnesota Twins were set.
Alfredo Figaro, who worked the past two seasons as a starting pitcher in Japan, was signed to a contract by the Brewers prior to Spring Training. After some negotiations with his Orix Buffaloes team who claimed that they still owned Figaro’s rights, the fireballing right-handed pitcher was brought into camp and eventually won the last job in the bullpen. He acts as the long man most days but has put up pretty good numbers so far this season.
As of 5/27/13: 15 G, 3.46 ERA, 26.0 IP, 30 H, 13 R, 10 ER, 5 HR, 6 BB, 21 K, 1.385 WHIP
He’s only given up runs in seven of his 15 appearances, and only multiple earned runs twice. The negative though is that he’s given up at least one run in each of his last three appearances.
He’ll match up against left-hander Scott Diamond (3-4, 4.96) in the finale of a quick two-game series before the teams head to Minnesota for a pair at Target Field.
Lohse Not Lost For Long After All
One of those games at Target Field should be started by Kyle Lohse. After having to skip an entire turn in the rotation due to elbow inflammation, the Brewers’ prize off-season acquisition — and ironically best starting pitcher so far in 2013 — threw a bullpen session on Monday and was deemed ready to go for Thursday. Obviously something could happen between now and then, but if nothing changes it’ll be Lohse squaring off against P.J. Walters.
The Brewers will need Lohse to continue his performance on the mound but also must begin to provide him with any semblance of run support. Lohse has gotten under 3.0 runs per game in support which is reflected in his Win-Loss record of 1-5.
Hand Promoted, Hensley Signed to Fill Spot
After the Brewers promoted RP Donovan Hand to The Show on Sunday, there existed an opening in the bullpen of the Nashville Sounds. To fill the spot, the Brewers signed a veteran free agent relief pitcher in Clay Hensley.
Hensley, 33, has pitched in parts of seven big league seasons for three teams since making his debut on July 20, 2005. He’s been a member of five separate organizations, having spent Spring Training in camp with the Cincinnati Reds along with a stint as a Houston farmhand back in part of 2009.
Hensley maintains a four-pitch arsenal that he’s thrown to varying percentages throughout his career. His primary pitch is a sinker but he also features a curve, change and slider.
Career-wise, Hensley has totaled ERA of 4.00 in 517.0 IP across 271 appearances, 49 of which were starts. He doesn’t platoon barely at all which is very good for a reliever who pitches with length.
Time will tell if his services will be needed in Milwaukee at some point, but he’s certainly a guy worth having in your Triple-A stable.
The Brewers just announced that LHP Tom Gorzelanny has been reinstated from the 15-day Disabled List in advance of tonight’s series opener against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Miller Park.
Gorzelanny was placed on the DL back on May 11th (retroactive to May 8th) with left shoulder tendinitis. He threw live batting practice earlier in the week and was given the green light by the team’s medical staff.
The bullpen has performed very well these last two weeks despite their overabundance of innings pitched. That wasn’t because they lost Gorzelanny though. Far from it.
When he was placed on the DL, Gorzelanny sported a 2.30 ERA in 15.2 IP across 18 games. His 0.894 WHIP is very, very good and his 177 ERA+ illustrates how much better he’s been than your average pitcher so far.
He’s also tallied a Win in relief to go along with six Holds. He did have one Blown Save (against the Cardinals) which came three appearances before his injury was revealed but it likely wasn’t a factor at that time.
But there are only 25 spots on a 25-man roster (aptly name, right?) so as with any activation someone has to be moved out. That someone is Hiram Burgos who was placed on the disabled list with a “right shoulder impingement”.
The Brewers are technically carrying only seven bullpen arms with Mike Fiers officially being tapped to start on Saturday, but their also carrying a useless body on the active roster as well. Still, they’re already short on the bench so obviously someone had to go from the pitching staff. If Lohse does only miss one start then Fiers can simply remain in the rotation for the time being or they can go get a spot starter for Tuesday.
Burgos has a bright future still but his present will benefit from a bit of a reset.
That will produce a need for a starter on Tuesday against Minnesota. (Wily Peralta will just go on normal rest on Monday.) Roenicke thinks they’ll fill the start from the current roster which means that it’s likely a “bullpen game”. In that scenario, it makes the most sense to start Alfredo Figaro and fill in thereafter as needed.
Kyle Lohse, assuming he can get back to work next week, was originally penciled in for Thursday which is the next day his rotation spot would come up. Chris Narveson likely won’t be ready by then either, for what it’s worth, as he’ll reportedly be sent on rehab before being activated, assuming he’s healthy by then.