Emptying the notebook…
Some random items that did not find a home in news stories over the past few days:
– Prince Fielder, Craig Counsell and Hernan Iribarren reported to camp on Monday, leaving only three players absent ahead of Tuesday’s report date for position players: Mike Cameron, Alcides Escobar and Mat Gamel. All three are expected to arrive on time.
Cameron is a veteran so it’s not surprising to see him report on time instead of early, but it’s a bit surprising that Escobar and Gamel, two of Milwaukee’s top prospects, have yet to show. Escobar planned to arrive Monday but he missed a flight out of Venezuela, and Gamel stayed back in Florida because he’s about to become a dad for the first time.
– Speaking of Escobar, assistant general manager Gord Ash said the shortstop prospect was not kicked off his winter ball team, refuting a rumor that has circulated the Internet during the offseason.
– Fielder was in high spirits, and he does appear to have slimmed down over the winter. You can see the change in his face.
– The Brewers have already scheduled a “B” game for the March 10 off-day, and will play the Rangers in Surprise, Ariz. at 9:30 a.m. that day. The team is also working to schedule a “B” game for the March 4 off-day, but has not found any takers.
Those games are intended mostly to keep Brewers pitchers on schedule. All of the regular offensive players will get that day off.
– Manager Ken Macha intends to play left fielder Ryan Braun extensively in early Cactus League games so he is ready for the World Baseball Classic. While players like Fielder get their one or two at-bats and call it a day, Braun could play some full games, Macha said.
– Camp was lively on Monday, when the pitchers were divided into teams for a bunting competition. Mitch Stetter is a surprisingly good bunter and so is Trevor Hoffman, though it’s not all that surprising since Hoffman is a former shortstop. Carlos Villanueva delivered the best bunt, landing the baseball within a small target along a virtual third base line.
On a side note, Villanueva is batting right-handed again. He tinkered as a lefty last season, but since he’s now permanently in the bullpen, he figured it was best to keep things sinple.
– General manager Doug Melvin on catching prospect Jonathan Lucroy: “That kid is going to be a player. He reminds me a little of [former A’s catcher] Terry Steinbach.”