April 2009

Melvin 'disappointed' by suspended prospect

Major League Baseball on Thursday suspended Brewers pitching prospect Pedro Lambertus 50 games after he tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug.

The Brewers tacked on their own 10-game suspension, according to general manager Doug Melvin. Lambertus, a 20-year-old right-hander who had been pitching for Class A Wisconsin, tested positive for metabolites of Boldenone, an anabolic steroid developed for veterinary use, mostly for the treatment of horses, in violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.

“You’re always disappointed when any player is suspended anymore,” Melvin said. “They’re all educated enough that it shouldn’t happen.”

The Brewers hold seminars during Spring Training with every player in the organization on the topic of performance-enhancing drugs. All players, including the Major Leaguers, are instructed not to take any nutritional supplement unless it comes from a member of the team’s medical staff.

Regular lineup vs. D-backs

No surprises in the Brewers lineup today for the opener of a four-game series against Daron Sutton and the Diamondbacks. Here they are:

DIAMONDBACKS
Felipe Lopez  2B
Chris Young  CF
Chad Tracy  1B
Mark Reynolds  3B
Conor Jackson  1B LF
Justin Upton  RF
Chris Snyder  C
Josh Wilson  SS
Max Scherzer  RHP

BREWERS
Rickie Weeks  2B
Corey Hart  RF
Ryan Braun  LF
Prince Fielder  1B
Mike Camerson  CF
J.J. Hardy  SS
Bill Hall  3B
Jason Kendall  C
Jeff Suppan  RHP

Rivera on the DL, Corporan on the way up

The Brewers decided to place backup catcher Mike Rivera on the 15-day disabled list after Wednesday’s win over the Pirates. A visit with head team physician William Raasch revealed that Rivera’s left ankle injury was “more serious than that thought,” according to the player.

Rivera characterized his injury as a high ankle sprain. The Brewers were still referring to it as a simple, Grade 1 sprain, when they announced the roster move. The corresponding move would be announced later Wednesday or at some point on Thursday, according to a club spokesperson.

(That move came just after 6 p.m. CT. The Brewers will promote Carlos Corporan from Nashville and add him to the 40-man roster.)

The only other catcher on the 40-man roster is Angel Salome, who is hitting just .182 at Triple-A Nashville and missed much of Spring Training with a back injury. Triple-A backup Corporan is much more familiar with the Brewers’ staff because he stayed with the big league club all the way through its exhibition games in Los Angeles just before the start of the regular season. 
 

Duffy in the lineup

We interrupt Weather Day at Miller Park — 4,000 kids are in the seats behind the Brewers’ dugout being entertained by the Channel 4 “Storm Team,” who are lucky that it’s not storming outside at the moment — to bring you the lineups for the Brewers’ series finale against Pittsburgh:

PIRATES
Nyjer Morgan  CF
Freddy Sanchez  2B
Brandon Moss  LF
Adam LaRoche  1B
Eric Hinske  3B
Andy LaRoche  3B
Ramon Vazquez  SS
Robinson Diaz  C
Ian Snell  RHP

BREWERS 
Rickie Weeks  2B
Chris Duffy  CF
Ryan Braun  LF
Prince Fielder  1B
Corey Hart  RF
J.J. Hardy  SS
Bill Hall  3B
Jason Kendall  C
Yovani Gallardo  RHP

Ankle injury knocks out Rivera

Brewers backup catcher Mike Rivera sprained his left ankle trying to block the plate in the fourth inning of Tuesday’s game against the Pirates and exited after finishing the frame.

He was replaced by Jason Kendall, Milwaukee’s regular catcher who led the Majors last season with 149 starts. Manager Ken Macha hoped to lower that number a bit this season by pairing Rivera with Brewers starter Dave Bush, giving Kendall a built-in break every fifth day.

The Pirates took a 2-1 lead into the fourth inning and extended it to 3-1 on Nyjer Morgan’s sacrifice fly to left field. It scored speedy Pirates shortstop Brian Bixler, who arrived at home plate along with Ryan Braun’s throw but slid safely through Rivera, who immediately crouched in pain.

After a visit from assistant athletic trainer Dan Wright, Rivera remained in the game as Bush finished the inning.

Rivera grounded out in his only plate appearance on Tuesday and is hitting .308 in limited duty. Last year he played in just 21 games but batted .306 with 14 RBIs.

Braun still upset

If Ryan Braun was upset Monday night about the pitch that split his shoulder blades, he was downright angry by Tuesday afternoon.

“We’re the wrong team to mess with,” Braun said.

But he wasn’t angry at Jeff Karstens, the Pirates right-hander who delivered the first-inning slider that Braun deposited over the left-field wall for a solo home run, and then the third-inning fastball that struck Braun in the back. Braun said he would be “shocked” if the plunking was truly not intentional. 

“I guarantee you that kid wanted nothing to do with me,” Braun said. “It came from somebody else. For sure. [Karstens] wouldn’t even look at me.

“Look, when I’m deserving and I get hit, that’s fine. I have no problem with that. If people have a problem with me admiring a home run, then plunk me and that ends it. But yesterday was uncalled for. It was way too high. When I watched it today, it made me even more angry.”

Karsten’s pitch appeared to hit Braun’s name on the back of his jersey.

“I really didn’t realize how high it was until I went and saw it on the video. If you want to hit me in the thigh, in the butt, that’s cool, man. That’s baseball. It’s uncalled for, it’s unnecessary, but if you want to do that, it’s fine. It’s all good.

“When you start throwing up and in, that’s not OK. That’s not something I’m going to stand for and that’s not something we’re going to stand for as a team. … I don’t know if they were trying to intimidate us, or send a message. Whatever it was, they [messed] up.”

Rogers on track to start Saturday

We weren’t sure of the schedule last night, but Brewers assistant GM Gord Ash sent word this morning that pitching prospect Mark Rogers is scheduled to make his next start on Saturday, when Class A Brevard County hosts Lakeland. Rogers missed a turn in the rotation when he banged into the wall during batting practice and bruised his surgically-repaired right shoulder, but it appears that the setback was minor.

Speaking of Brevard County, MiLB.com did a nice story about Evan Anundsen’s no-hitter this morning that’s available on the Brewers.com homepage. Here’s a link to that piece.

Bush takes another crack at no-no

Five days after he took a no-hitter into the bottom of the eighth inning at Philadelphia, Dave Bush is back on the mound tonight as the Brewers look to continue their winning streak against the Pirates. As usual, Mike Rivera is Bush’s catcher.

PIRATES
Nyjer Morgan  CF
Freddy Sanchez  2B
Brandon Moss  LF
Adam LaRoche  1B
Eric Hinske  RF
Andy LaRoche  3B
Jason Jaramillo  C
Brian Bixler  SS
Paul Maholm  LHP

BREWERS
Rickie Weeks  2B
Corey Hart  RF
Ryan Braun  LF
Prince Fielder  1B
Mike Cameron  CF
J.J. Hardy  SS
Bill Hall  3B
Mike Rivera  C
Dave Bush  RHP

Could get interesting…

Ryan Braun’s postgame comments tonight could cost him a couple of bucks.

Braun wasn’t happy that Pirates starter Jeff Karstens plunked him between the shoulder blades with a pitch in the third inning, two frames after Braun put the Brewers on the board with a solo home run.

Of course, reporters asked Braun if he thought Karstens’ pitch was intentional. And of course, Braun responded with something bland along the lines of, “Well, it was a bit suspicious…”

Oh, wait. Braun and “bland” don’t go together.

“It’s rare for Major League pitchers to miss that much with a fastball,” Braun said. “So, we play them about 17 more times. Tell Mr. Selig [Major League Commissioner Bud Selig] to see what happens. It’s going to be interesting.”

Actually, the Brewers and Pirates play only 13 more times. One game is already in the books with Monday’s 10-5 Brewers win. Mike Cameron, who homered two batters after Braun was plunked, said Karstens’ pitch might have had an unintended effect. 

“That kind of fueled us a little bit,” Cameron said. “I guess if you can’t get him out, you just put him on.”

Brewers manager Ken Macha took a more level-headed approach.

“I don’t think anybody has a way they can look into somebody’s mind and say, ‘They did this intentionally,'” he said.

Stay tuned. The Brewers and Pirates will be back at it Tuesday night. 

No surgery for Cain

This qualifies as very good news for Brewers prospect Lorenzo Cain: He won’t need surgery to repair his injured left knee.

Cain underwent an MRI scan on Monday that revealed a posterior cruciate ligament tear from an injury he suffered diving in the outfield on Thursday for Double-A Huntsville. He is expected to miss 4-6 weeks, according to Brewers assistant general manager Gord Ash.

There was an initial fear that Cain had torn the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, and injury that might have required season-ending surgery.

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