Tagged: Spring Training

Brewers Announce Spring Training Broadcast Schedule

Thirty-Four Games To Air On Combination of Newsradio 620 WTMJ, FOX Sports Wisconsin and Brewers.com


The Milwaukee Brewers today announced the 2013 Spring Training broadcast schedule, which includes 34 games to be broadcast on a combination of Newsradio 620 WTMJ and the statewide Brewers Radio Network, FOXSports Wisconsin and Brewers.com.

Hall of Fame radio announcer Bob Uecker and partner Joe Block will call 16 Spring Training games on Newsradio 620 WTMJ and the statewide Brewers Radio Network.  Television announcers Brian Anderson and Bill Schroeder will call three games to be carried by FOX Sports Wisconsin: Monday, March 11 vs. Los Angeles; Wednesday, March 13 at Arizona; and Friday, March 29 vs. Chicago-AL at Miller Park.  Two additional games – Tuesday, March 19 vs. LA of Anaheim and Sunday, March 24 at San Diego – will be produced by other FOX Sports regions (FS-West and FS-San Diego, respectively) but will be simulcast on FS-Wisconsin.  Anderson, Schroeder and Block will also team up for 17 Brewers.com webcasts throughout the spring.

The Brewers open the 2013 Spring Training slate on Saturday, February 23 at Maryvale Baseball Park against the Oakland Athletics at 1:05 p.m. Arizona time.  Milwaukee will play a total of 35 Spring Training games this season, including 17 at Maryvale Baseball Park and two exhibition games at Miller Park.

All Brewers games played in the Cactus League are scheduled for 1:05 p.m. starts (Arizona time), except for Wednesday, March 13 at the Diamondbacks (7:10 p.m. local/9:10 p.m. CT).  The spring schedule closes out with a pair of exhibition games against the White Sox at Miller Park on March 29 (7:10 p.m.) and March 30 (1:10 p.m.).

Tickets for Brewers home Cactus League games are on sale at Brewers.com, by phone at 1-800-933-7890 and at the Miller Park and Maryvale Box Offices.  Tickets are available in four seating areas: Field Box ($22), Infield Reserved ($16), Outfield Reserved ($13) and Lawn Seating ($8).  Information on Spring Training Season Tickets can be obtained by calling the Milwaukee Brewers Ticket Office at 414-902-4000.

Tickets for the two exhibition games at Miller Park will go on sale at a later date.  Please note that games and times are subject to change.

Click to download a PDF version of the schedule: 2013 Spring Broadcast Schedule


Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers: Bonus Article!

Welcome, fellow Brewers fans, to the first “Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers” column for Series: 2013! Allow me to give you a brief reminder of how this works.

As we approach Opening Day on April 1, 2013, I will be reviewing/previewing players in the the Milwaukee Brewers organization that are either on the 40-man roster or have been given an invitation to big league camp in Spring Training. I won’t do every single non-roster invitee, but I plan on writing up most of them at this point. Basically, though, this is a way to focus on the individual members of the Milwaukee Brewers organization.

Let us depart on our lengthy journey of discovery and remembrance!

First let me say that I realize that bonuses usually come at the end. In this case, it simply doesn’t work out that way.

The reason for this bonus article is that four players were announced after the day on which they would have otherwise had their individual article written and posted.

The players in question are Rafael Neda, Kentrail Davis, Hunter Morris, and Adam Weisenberger. They were assigned jersey numbers 94, 93, 92, and 91, respectively.

These won’t be in-depth profiles of these players but I wanted to make sure you knew a little something about them before camp opens and you see their names popping up in box scores.

#94 – Rafael Neda

rafaelnedaRafael Neda is a 24-year-old catcher who stands 6’1″ tall and weighed in last year at 215 pounds. He was born in Obregon, Mexico and played collegiate ball at New Mexico before the Brewers drafted him in the 10th round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft.

He has never been touted for his bat which is reflected in his career minor-league slash line of .220/.314/.271, but he calls a good game and the pitchers I’ve spoken with that play with Neda all enjoy throwing to him. He is a good leader on the field and, presumably, in the clubhouse as well.

Neda played the entirety of the 2012 season at the Class-A affiliate Wisconsin Timber Rattlers based in Appleton, Wisconsin. The Timber Rattlers wound up winning the Midwest League Championship in 2012 and Neda’s gamesmanship played a large part in that championship run. While his catching skills helped a number of his early season teammates get their promotions up to Class-A Advanced Brevard County, his leadership helped hold the team together with new, young faces as they marched to postseason sucess.

I covered a game as a credentialed media member up in Appleton for one game (column here) back in June of last year and Neda was the offensive hero. He hit his first (and still only) professional home run during a rally inning and then won the game in extra innings with a walk-off single with the bases loaded.

Most young ballplayers in the minor leagues experiences flashes like that. It’s the gentlemen who can stack flashes together and reshape them into consistency that move up the organization and hopefully one day become Major League ballplayers.

To be blunt, Neda doesn’t fit the profile of someone who will ever excel enough behind or in front of the dish to become a big league regular. I have no doubt though that he’ll be a quality contributor this spring as pitchers hone their craft and that Neda won’t be going anywhere out of the Brewers system for as long as he wants to play. The term “organization guy” gets thrown out as a negative a lot of the times I see it used to describe someone, but in Neda’s case if that’s what he becomes, I think that the Brewers minor leaguers he plays with along the way will be that much better for it.

#93 – Kentrail Davis

kentraildavisAn outfielder from Mobile, Alabama by way of the University of Tennessee, Kentrail Latron Davis (5’9″, B/T: L/R) reached the Double-A affiliate Huntsville Stars in 2012 following a strong showing in the 2011 Arizona Fall League.

Davis, 24, was originally drafted out of high school by the Colorado Rockies in 2007 but chose to go to college instead. The Brewers then picked him in the supplemental first round in 2009 (39th overall).

He struggled out of the gates in 2010 after being assigned straight to Class-A Advanced Brevard County to begin his professional career. After finishing out the 2010 season with the Timber Rattlers, where he hit very well, Davis spent all of 2011 back at Brevard County. His prospect status was in some doubt though after a lackluster season at the plate where he hit only .245/.317/.361 in 565 plate appearances. He was very good when he reached base though, stealing 33 bases in 41 attempts (80% success rate), and scoring 76 runs.

In 2012, Davis was a Huntsville Star and perhaps being home in Alabama helped him relax. He finished the year with a .274/.357/.404 line in 498 plate appearances over 122 games. He has a ways to go before he’ll be under consideration for a 40-man roster spot (let alone a 25-man one) but if he can improve his vision and discipline he has the chance to perhaps contribute one day in a reserve OF role at the big league level.

Of note: Davis is ranked as the 11th best prospect in the Brewers system entering 2013 by MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo.

#92 – Hunter Morris

huntermorrisJeffrey Hunter Morris had quite the 2012 in a year which he needed it the most.

After an inauspicious start to the year, Morris, 24, turned on the power in a big way in the second half of the season. He finished with the following statistics:

136 G, 571 PA, 522 AB, .303/.357/.563, 77 R, 158 H, 40 doubles, 6 triples, 28 HR, 294 total bases, 113 RBI, 2 SB, 40 BB, 117 K

Those numbers were good enough to win the Southern League’s Most Valuable Player Award! But the accolades wouldn’t stop there as Morris was also awarded the Minor League Gold Glove for first basemen. Yeah, out of all of them, spread over 10 “domestic-based, full-season leagues”, Morris was named the best fielder as his position.

Make no mistake though, Morris was drafted in the 4th round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft out of Auburn University for his bat which is what will get him to the big leagues should he achieve such, but his developing defense would be a nice boost to his chances.

Morris has things that are often looked for in a prospect (he’s 6’2″, 200 lbs, for what it’s worth), but he also has some reports about the things that could hold him back. But if this power remains the norm and he can increase his walk rate, the Brewers might be looking to add his left-handed swing and glove to their everyday lineup as early as 2014.

In a recent radio appearance, Brewers GM Doug Melvin said that they’re going to watch Morris closely this spring as their evaluation of him very well could impact their long-term decision about the future of the now incumbent 1B Corey Hart in Milwaukee who is only signed through the end of the upcoming 2013 season.

No pressure, kid.

Of note: Morris is ranked the #7 overall Brewers prospect by MLB.com, and is #4 on the overall list of first base prospects in the minor leagues entering 2013.

#91 – Adam Weisenburger

After being chosen as the Best Defensive Catcher in the Brewers system by Baseball America, Adam Robert Weisenburger will enter big league camp in 2013 much like the rest of the players in this article. That is to say that none of them stand a chance of breaking camp with a plane ticket to Milwaukee in hand.

Don’t let that dissuade you from understanding how a guy like Weisenburger will be spending his time before being reassigned to the minor league fields at Maryvale.

Catching bullpens, working with some pitchers he’ll likely meet up with down the road in the 2013 MiLB season, and other things in preparation, but with starting big league catcher Jonathan Lucroy leaving camp to play with Team USA in the 2013 World Baseball Classic, there will be plenty of innings behind the dish in actual big league Spring Training games.

It’s why Neda is there. It’s why Weisenburger is there. It’s also why the Brewers have invited non-roster catchers Blake Lalli and Anderson De La Rosa and Dayton Buller to camp. To be clear, however, if Weisenburger lives up to the billing as the best defensive catcher in the system than he could see the bulk of the game time given to these youngsters.

Weisenburger split time in 2012 between Class-A Advanced Brevard County and Class-AA Huntsville. While he didn’t hit particularly well at either stop (less so as the competition got tougher), his ability to receive, throw, and call a game are what could further his advancement in the system. He’s an interesting case to watch this spring in whatever game action he’s afforded.

Physically, the Minnesota native is 5’10” and listed at 185 pounds. He bats right-handed. Weisenburger was drafted in the 34th round of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft out of Miami University, in Ohio.

Milwaukee Brewers Announce 2013 Spring Training Schedule

The Milwaukee Brewers today announced the Club’s 2013 Spring Training schedule which opens on Saturday, February 23 at Maryvale Baseball Park against Oakland.  The Brewers will play a total of 35 Spring Training and exhibition games in 2013, including 17 at Maryvale Baseball Park in Phoenix and two games at Miller Park.

The Brewers will play games at Maryvale against NL Central rivals Cincinnati on Saturday, March 16 and against the Chicago Cubs on Friday, March 22.  Other home highlights include a St. Patrick’s Day game (Sunday, March 17) against Los Angeles in Glendale and a matchup versus Team Canada’s World Baseball Classic entry on Tuesday, March 5.

The team has two split squad games scheduled during the spring.  The slate includes Monday, February 25 vs. San Diego (SS) and at Cincinnati, and Sunday, March 24 vs. Colorado and at San Diego.

The final home game at Maryvale Baseball Park for the Brewers is set for Wednesday, March 27 against Kansas City.  The Brewers will return home to Miller Park to play two games against the White Sox to round out the exhibition season, scheduled for Friday, March 29 at 7:10 p.m. and Saturday, March 30 at 1:10 p.m.

All Brewers games played in the Cactus League are scheduled for 1:05 pm starts (Arizona Time), except for Wednesday, March 13 at the Diamondbacks (7:10 p.m. local/9:10 p.m. CT start).

Pitchers and catchers with zero to three years of Major League service time are scheduled to report to Spring Training on Tuesday, February 12.  All position players and pitchers and catchers with three-plus years of Major League service have a report date of Friday, February 15, 2013.

Tickets for the Milwaukee Brewers home Spring Training games will go on sale at 10 am CT on Monday, December 3 via the internet at Brewers.com and by phone at 1-800-933-7890.  Normal business hours are from 9am – 5pm CST.  Sales at the Maryvale Baseball Park Box Office will begin on Monday, February 4, 2013.  Tickets are available in four seating areas: Field Box ($22), Infield Reserved ($16), Outfield Reserved ($13) and Lawn Seating ($8).  Information on Spring Training Season Tickets can be obtained by calling the Milwaukee Brewers Ticket Office at 414-902-4000.

Please note that games and times are subject to change.

Milwaukee Brewers 2013 Spring Training Schedule

Date        Time (local)    (CT)                Opponent                               Place____

Sat, Feb 23

1:05 pm          2:05 pm          Oakland Athletics                  Maryvale

Sun, Feb 24

1:05 pm          2:05 pm          Cleveland Indians (SS)         Maryvale

Mon, Feb 25

1:05 pm          2:05 pm          San Diego Padres                  Maryvale

1:05 pm           2:05 pm           at Cincinnati Reds                  Goodyear

Tue, February 26

1:05 pm          2:05 pm          Seattle Mariners                    Maryvale

Wed, Feb 27

1:05 pm           2:05 pm           at Kansas City Royals             Surprise

Thu, Feb 28

1:05 pm          2:05 pm          Chicago White Sox                Maryvale

Fri, Mar 1

1:05 pm           2:05 pm           at Colorado Rockies               Talking Stick

Sat, Mar 2

1:05 pm          2:05 pm          Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim    Maryvale

Sun, Mar 3

1:05 pm           2:05 pm           at Chicago Cubs (SS)              Mesa

Mon, Mar 4                                         OFF DAY

Tue, Mar 5

1:05 pm          2:05 pm          Team Canada                        Maryvale

Wed, Mar 6

1:05 pm           2:05 pm           at Seattle Mariners                  Peoria

Thu, Mar 7

1:05 pm          2:05 pm          Arizona Diamondbacks        Maryvale

Fri, Mar 8

1:05 pm          2:05 pm          Texas Rangers                       Maryvale

Sat, Mar 9

1:05 pm           2:05 pm           at Cincinnati Reds                  Goodyear


Sun, Mar 10

1:05 pm          3:05 pm          San Francisco Giants            Maryvale

Mon, Mar 11

1:05 pm          3:05 pm          Los Angeles Dodgers            Maryvale

Tue, Mar 12

1:05 pm           3:05 pm           at Texas Rangers                     Surprise

Wed, Mar 13

7:10 pm           9:10 pm           at Arizona Diamondbacks      Talking Stick

Thu, Mar 14                                     OFF DAY

Fri, Mar 15

1:05 pm          3:05 pm          Cleveland Indians                 Maryvale

Sat, Mar 16

1:05 pm          3:05 pm          Cincinnati Reds (SS)             Maryvale

Sun, Mar 17

1:05 pm           3:05 pm           at Los Angeles Dodgers (SS) Glendale

Mon, Mar 18

1:05 pm           3:05 pm           at Cleveland Indians               Goodyear

Tuesday, March 19

1:05 pm          3:05 pm          Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim     Maryvale

Wed, Mar 20

1:05 pm           3:05 pm           at San Francisco Giants (SS)  Scottsdale

Thu, Mar 21

1:05 pm           3:05 pm           at Chicago White Sox             Glendale

Fri, Mar 22

1:05 pm          3:05 pm          Chicago Cubs                       Maryvale

Sat, Mar 23

1:05 pm           3:05 pm           at Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Tempe

Sun, Mar 24

1:05 pm          3:05 pm          Colorado Rockies                  Maryvale

1:05 pm           3:05 pm           at San Diego Padres                Peoria

Mon, Mar 25

1:05 pm           3:05 pm           at Oakland Athletics               Phoenix

Tue, Mar 26                                       OFF DAY

Wed, Mar 27

1:05 pm          3:05 pm          Kansas City Royals (SS)       Maryvale

Thu, Mar 28

1:05 pm           3:05 pm           at Colorado Rockies               Talking Stick

Fri, Mar 29

7:10 pm                                  Chicago White Sox                Miller Park

Sat, Mar 30

1:10 pm                                  Chicago White Sox                Miller Park


• Home games in bold

• Note: Daylight-Savings Time begins on March 10

• All Games/Times subject to change

Want a more colorful look at the Brewers’ 2013 Cactus League slate? Click the image.

Brewers 2012 Spring Training Coverage

This spring, whenever I’ve posted a lineup or scheduled pitchers for a given game, I’m invariably asked whether the game is on TV or radio (or hopefully both).

I don’t mind answering the questions because interaction with you on Twitter and/or Facebook is part of the reason that I’ve got the community that I do, but in order to help get you the answer more quickly, I’m posting everything and will post the link to this blog.

I’d absolutely suggest to add this post’s URL to the favorites list in your internet browser of choice.

In case you’re reading this via the homepage, the permalink for this post is:


Here are the dates, with scheduled first pitch time listed in Central Time. It takes into account Daylight Savings Time which begins in two days.


– Sunday, March 4, 2:05 p.m.
– Tuesday, March 6, 2:05 p.m.
– Saturday, March 10, 2:05 p.m.
– Tuesday, March 13, 3:05 p.m.
– Wednesday, March 14, 3:05 pm.
– Saturday, March 17, 3:05 p.m.
– Sunday, March 18, 3:05 p.m.
– Wednesday, March 21, 3:05 p.m.
– Saturday, March 24, 3:05 p.m.
– Sunday, March 25 – 3:05 p.m.
– Wednesday, March 28 – 3:05 p.m.
– Thursday, March 29 – 3:05 p.m.
– Saturday, March 31 – 2:05 p.m.
– Sunday, April 1 – 3:05 p.m.
– Tuesday, April 3 – 8:40 p.m.
– Wednesday, April 4 – 2:40 p.m.


– Monday, March 5, 8:35 p.m. || MLB Network
– Tuesday, March 6, 2:05 p.m. || FSWisconsin
– Saturday, March 10, 2:05 p.m. || WGN, MLB.TV
– Saturday, March 17, 3:05 p.m. | FSWisconsin, MLB Network, MLB.TV
– Tuesday, March 20, 3:05 p.m. | FSWisconsin, MLB Network, MLB.TV
– Friday, March 30, 3:05 p.m. | FSWisconsin, MLB Network (on delay), MLB.TV
– Saturday, March 31, 3:05 p.m. | FSWisconsin, MLB.TV
– Wednesday, April 4, 2:40 p.m. | FSWisconsin, MLB Network (on delay)

How The Rest Were Won: Final Roster Spots Preview

By: Big Rygg

I double-checked how many days it is until pitchers and catchers report to Maryvale Baseball Park so that I could update the blog’s Facebook page with the information. Since it’s 25 days away, that naturally got me thinking about the 25-man roster and how it will shake out when the team heads north to face the Detroit Tigers at Miller Park to close out Spring Training. Yes, they don’t have to have it to 25 men at that point, but by then they pretty much know what they’re going to do.

Let’s review what we know today, Sunday, January 24th.

Assuming everyone is healthy on April 5th, and no trade has been made involving them, the following men (alphabetically, by position) are locks* to make this team:

SP – Doug Davis, Yovani Gallardo, Randy Wolf
RP – Todd Coffey, LaTroy Hawkins, Trevor Hoffman, Mitch Stetter, Claudio Vargas, Carlos Villanueva
C – Gregg Zaun
INF – Craig Counsell, Alcides Escobar, Prince Fielder, Rickie Weeks
OF – Ryan Braun, Jody Gerut, Carlos Gomez, Corey Hart

I also think that Jeff Suppan will be on the big league roster for certain, I just can’t say for certain whether he will be in the rotation or the bullpen.

First of all, you may be asking yourself where Casey McGehee is on my list. To be honest, despite his success last year, I can’t guarantee him a spot on the roster. If he comes into Spring Training this year as cold as he was hot last year, and Mat Gamel plays like this year’s McGehee…suffice it to say that I don’t see them both on the 25-man roster since they both need to be playing most every day. If Gamel plays lights out and McGehee doesn’t come back strong from his surgery, it could very well be McGehee that starts the year with Don Money and the Nashville Sounds. It would be a harsh reality, but that’s what can happen in this game.

Getting back to the point, if you count the players I listed above, it totals 19 when you include Suppan.

That leaves a total of six spots to be decided, but the competition isn’t nearly as open as that number would make it seem. Looking more closely, you will find that given a standard 12 pitcher (5 starters, 7 relievers)/13 hitter breakdown of the roster that what is available are two spots in the rotation, one spot in the bullpen and four spots for hitters. Before you complain that those numbers add up to seven, keep in mind my belief that Suppan make the roster. If he does, he would take either one of the rotation spots or the open bullpen spot.

Regardless, we need to better analyze who will be competing for the open spots. Let’s begin with the rotation.

As I said, Jeff Suppan stands to make this team and will be competing for a spot in the starting rotation and just might have the inside track given his experience and his salary. Should he pitch his way out of that spot, the other men that will be eager to take his (and the other) place include 2009 rotation hold overs Dave Bush and Manny Parra.

Some guys also will be competing in the “longshot” category. One guy trying to revive his Major League career after spending 2009 pitching in Japan in Kameron Loe, a second revival story in Chris Capuano who is trying to make it back following his second Tommy John surgery, along with the Brewers’ own late-season standout Chris Narveson. Last spring, Narveson pitched very poorly and cleared waivers on his way back down to the minor leagues. Had the team tried to send Narveson back to AAA prior to the end of last season, you can bet that he wouldn’t have made his flight to Tennessee. Still another name that might be brought up is former Oriole farmhand Chris Waters. He is the outer fringe of the longshots and is most likely slated directly for Nashville to start and provide much better depth than the team had last year.

I won’t be discussing people not signed to a contract with Milwaukee. Should anyone sign between now and the time I do my podcast, I’ll discuss the player or players at that time.

By the way, other than performance, I will be more than happy to give my point/counterpoint on whether individual players will or will not make the roster that takes the field for the pomp and circumstance of Opening Day, but for that early analysis, you’ll have to download our upcoming podcast which will be recorded just prior to the start of Spring Training.

So assuming that Suppan and either Gamel or McGehee are on this club, we have five open spots to fill.

One of them will definitely be a backup catcher; a competition for which will be limited to those that know how to catch. This list includes 2009 AAA starter Angel Salome, 2009 AA starter Jonathan Lucroy and free agent signees George Kottaras and Matt Treanor. This leaves a totals of two spots for the pitching staff and two spots for the bench. I spoke about the rotation first, but ‘ll get back to the bullpen in a bit as I talk about the position players.

If you’re with me, then you think having two backup non-catcher infielders and two backup outfielders just makes sense for the sake of balance if nothing else. It also helps you get your backups more regularity in their at-bats and spot starts. With Craig Counsell and Jody Gerut having been brought back to handle two of those jobs (one IF and one OF job respectively), that leaves one more of each position to fill.

(Sidebar: Personally, I think the Brewers made a good signing in bringing back Jody Gerut. If you’ve read anything I’ve written here, listened to any podcast where he is brought up or sat near me at a game where Gerut plays whether you knew you were nearby or not, you might be shocked to hear that admission. I was shocked to say it, but the more I thought about it, the more my optimistic nature influenced my brain. “Gerut can backup all three OF positions”, my brain would think. “Gerut hits left-handed,” my brain would opine. “Gerut had pretty good numbers to finish the year once he played more consistently,” my brain would suggest. Well, color me gullible because I started to listen.)

For the infield we have heard a few names that could be under consideration for the IF spot. They include Hernan Iribarren, Adam Heether, and the loser of the Battle for the Hot Corner. As I’ve stated elsewhere for some reasoning, I think that Iribarren has the inside track for that position as he is out of options. It also doesn’t hurt that he has played both 2B and CF though reports are that he doesn’t play CF very well as he is a natural 2B.

As for the final OF spot? Right now the team could go in a few different directions. They claimed Trent Oeltjen off of waivers from Arizona, they have a couple of young OF prospects that they could conceivably bring up I guess, but I’ve also been told that they are keeping tabs on a few inexpensive free agents like the very capable Frank Catalanotto who is quite adept at pinch-hitting. (Sidebar: Catalanotto also had one of the biggest karaoke-inducing walkup themes of the year in The Outfield’s “Your Love”. After the music cut in the stadium, you could hear the fans singing along for at least a line or two. Loved it.) High-ceiling prospect Logan Schafer was given an invitation to Spring Training as well, but since he isn’t even on the 40-man roster yet, it would take nothing short of a miracle or disaster for him to be the 5th outfielder this year. A final name to remember is Norris Hopper. While he wasn’t given a formal invitation to the big league side of Spring Training, he will obviously be performing on the minor league side and, should an injury or ineffectiveness rear its ugly head he could easily spend some time with the Brewers.

Then again, with Gerut’s ability to play all three OF positions and Iribarren being able to backup CF in an emergency, they might decide to keep Adam Heether as he can play at least LF along with some IF positions. The 13th man on the bench will be an interesting decision indeed.

Back to the pitching spots that are available. I already made mention that Suppan will make this team in my opinion. If he makes the rotation, that means either Dave Bush or Manny Parra is out and, in my opinion, off the team. Though I started this article on January 23rd, as I finish this up it is the evening of January 24th and Bush has signed a one-year deal with a salary that isn’t guaranteed until Opening Day. I do think, though, that Bush would have to perform very poorly toward the end of Spring Training to miss the ballclub. Again, the “why” to that point will be in the podcast.

As for Manny Parra, if he fails to make the rotation, the Brewers might be able to stash him in AAA simply so that he can continue to start. Parra’s mental make up has been questioned by Brewer Nation at times, so who is to say how he would handle a perceived demotion. The only real option in his case would be to tell him that he pitched the worst of the three and he’s needed for depth. Hopefully, though, he pitches great so that his maturation can contiinue at the big league level.

As for the other bullpen spot, the main candidates at this point appear to be Chris Smith, Chris Narveson, Rule 5 Draft Pick Chuck Lofgren, the potentially rehabbed David Riske and a handful of others that will be involved in the discussion but will probably fall short. The bottom line in the bullpen is that there are a bunch of candidates and only one (possible) spot available. The team can probably start Riske off in the minors on a rehab assignment to give themselves a bit more time to decide if they aren’t quite sure, but performance will have a big effect on the ‘pen.

Then again, in every competition it’s nice if there can actually be true competition. The best performer will win the majority of the time. Yes, track record factors in, but in the end he who is performing tends to get the opportunity to continue.

But isn’t that kind of what we’re going for here?

News and Notes

By: Big Rygg

There are two newsbites that I want to make sure I touch on.
First, Corey Hart agreed to a one-year contract for $3.25 million that avoided what was looking like the first arbitration hearing in the Doug Melvin era as general manager.
This is a good thing for a couple of reasons. The dollar amount is less than Hart could have been awarded had the deal gone to arbitration (not that I think he would’ve won that case), and it lets Hart just play baseball this year.
Also, Hart avoids the dreaded arbitration hearing where it is the team’s task, nay responsibility, to tear the player down and point out every shortcoming in an effort to have the arbiters choose the team’s submitted dollar figure over that of the player.
Hart seemed to struggle enough mentally during the second half of last year. Many times after waving over a pitch low and away it looked like he had resigned himself to always swinging and missing at that pitch. A multi-hour tear down session reminding him of that horrible stretch of games not to mention bringing things up that he had probably already forgotten about from other times in the season…..well, that wouldn’t be very productive for your 20/20 guy, would it?
The other newsworthy item that I want to talk about today is the team’s surprise move to resign relief pitcher Eric Gagné to a minor league contract with an invitation to Spring Training.
After being courted this offseason, most notably by the Minnesota Twins who had a deal in place which Gagné had agreed to only to then pull it off the table before there was a chance for him to sign it, Gagné returns to the team that he feels he let down in 2008.
It is a no-risk signing for the Brewers. Either Gagné pitches well enough in Spring Training to earn his way into the bullpen by March 25th or he has the option of becoming a free agent again. It’s a similar deal to the one that Jeff Weaver signed last season. The major difference is that while Weaver pitched with AAA Nashville during his Minor League contract, Melvin does not expect Gagné to do the same. He feels that Gagné will exercise the right to become a free agent on March 25th if he hasn’t made the bullpen for certain by then.
If Gagné makes the 25-man roster, he’ll earn a base salary of $1.5 million with the opportunity to earn up to $3 million more in incentives. For the record, $2 million of that is tied to the number of games in which he appears and the other $1 million is tied to the number of games he finishes.
It’s a far cry from the $10 million that he didn’t quite earn (by most people’s definition including Gagné’s own admission) and if you couple all these factors together, we might just be singing Doug Melvin’s praises again when the year is done.
  • The Mitchell Report isn’t hanging over Gagné with the same crushing weight this season
  • Gagné doesn’t haven’t the expectations of fulfilling a $10 million contract nor the expectations of being “the guy” in the bullpen
  • Gagné actually pitched acceptably in the second half of last season in a set up role, a role that was previously blamed for his mighty struggles with Boston in 2007
He may never pitch again in a regular season game for the Brewers, that’s true. But the fact that the Brewers are paying him next to nothing in return for letting him prove himself to both Milwaukee and the 29 other teams around the league in live action is the real value here.
Some people blasted Melvin for handing $10 million to a guy that was more likely to be dominated than dominate. Well, consider this signing as a way to make amends. After all, a two-year $13.5 million contract sound a lot better anyway. And the fact that it was ostensibly front-loaded? Mere semantics at this point. If anything, it would allow the Brewers to have the extra money this season that they needed for all of their arbitration-eligible players…like Corey Hart.

Open Season at the Hot Corner

By: Big Rygg

I know that this news is a couple of days old already, but I wanted to make sure it got touched on here at the Brewer Nation.

As I’m sure you’re well aware by now (or just in case you aren’t) Bill Hall will miss the majority, if not all, of Spring Training this year with a partially torn calf muscle in his left leg. The rehab is expected to take 4-6 weeks which, if it’s the latter, take Hall’s convalesence right up to Opening Day in San Francisco.

Tim Lincecum will be on the bump for the Giants on Opening Day, barring an injury of his own of course, so maybe Ken Macha would have give the start to Mike Lamb anyway, making this a very strict platoon from the get go.

Ken Macha has stated that he will evaluate the players on their merits and performance throughout Spring Training and make his lineup and roster decisions from there.

But again, we know all that.

What we don’t know quite yet is exactly how the team will use the extra reps at the hot corner during the February and March that just became available. That is what I’d like to discuss today.

As is stands now, Mike Lamb and Bill Hall were set to platoon (at least to an extent) at third base. Hall hits right-handed and struggled greatly against right-handed pitching last year to the tune of .174 battingn average. Lamb, hits left-handed and is probably the first option to be the yang to Hall’s yin all season long.

However, now in the absence of Hall from the games and whatnot, where does the team go? Does waiver wire pick up Casey McGehee get all of Hall’s at-bats? Do they give Mat Gamel those turns at the dish which therefore would give him that many more chances in the field to show what progress he’s been able to make this past winter with his glove?

Personally, I think it’s a golden opportunity for Gamel to show what he’s made of. We know the kid can hit, that’s obvious. In fact, if not for an elbow injury that he hid from the organization last year, he might have led the prospect-rich AA team in all offensive categories in 2008.

Gamel, however, led in another category. His 30 errors while with Huntsville in 127 games played translates very poorly…heck, standing on its own merits it’s bad enough. The fact is, one error every four games isn’t nearly good enough to cut it at the big league level. Poor fielding is what led to a position switch for some guy by the of Ryan Braun. All he did was happen to win the National League’s Rookie of the Year Award based primarily, I’m sure even he would tell you, on his offensive prowess. Braun, though, had major trouble adjusting to 3B and was moved to left field where he continue to shine.

Gamel’s situation is different for two reasons. First, there isn’t anywhere else for him to go right now. Mike Cameron is still playing a good centerfield, Corey Hart isn’t going anywhere other than right field for the time being and Braun patrolls LF as previously stated. Suffice it to say, the outfield is full…not that you’d put Gamel in center anyway, but you get what I’m saying.

The only other spot to move a guy with a great bat but heavy glove is first base, but as we also all should know by now, Prince Fielder was signed to a two-year contract which locks him in as the team’s first baseman through the 2010 season.

In other words, what this all means is that 3B is Gamel’s position and to make it to the show with the roster the way it currently is constructed, that’s where he’ll have to play. The good news is that Gamel is committed to becoming a serviceable 3B at worst. He wants to play there which is an important factor in all this.

So, the question needs to be asked, Brewer Nation…

If you were Ken Macha, how would you handle it?