June 2009

Cameron suspension down to one game

Brewers center fielder Mike Cameron’s suspension was reduced from two games to one after Major League Baseball officials heard his appeal on Friday. Cameron will sit out Saturday’s game against the Tigers at Comerica Park.

 The discipline stemmed from Cameron’s argument at home plate following a called third strike in Atlanta on June 6, and two days later he was suspended two games and fined an undisclosed amount for making contact with umpire Marvin Hudson. Cameron argued that Hudson initiated the contact.

Cameron declined to answer questions about MLB’s ruling prior to Friday’s game, when he was slotted in the six-hole in the opener of a three-game Interleague Series.

“I’m playing today, sitting tomorrow,” said Cameron, who was quickly asked whether he thought the ruling was fair. “I’m not ever going to say it’s fair, but it is what it is.”

Cameron will take batting practice with the team on Saturday but then must vacate the clubhouse at game time.

Waiting on McGehee?

About to head down to the clubhouse and the Brewers haven’t posted a lineup yet, probably because they are deciding whether Casey McGehee can play on his bum right knee. We’ll also have to see if Ryan Braun is back in after exiting Wednesday’s game early with a recurrence of back tightness.

If I’m downstairs when they post the lineup, I’ll Tweet it.

Miller Park sustains service-level flooding

A severe storm in Milwaukee early Friday morning knocked out power at Miller Park and caused what a Brewers official called “moderate” flooding in parts of the ballpark’s service level, including the clubhouses. But the situation should be resolved before Tuesday, when team returns home to host the Twins.

“We’re maybe looking to replace some carpeting in offices and the clubhouses, but the clubhouses were spared the worst of the problems,” said Tyler Barnes, the Brewers vice president of communications who was doubly affected because his own home took on water.

“The field apparently is in good shape,” Barnes said. “We anticipate absolutely no problems at all being ready to play on Tuesday.”

The team’s e-mail system was still down as of 10 a.m. CT and many employees were working from home. Barnes was preparing to head to the ballpark later in the morning to see the situation first-hand.

While stadium crews at Miller Park dried out, the Brewers were in Detroit preparing for the start of a three-game Interleague Series against the Tigers.

Braun out with back tightness

The lower back tightness that has dogged Brewers slugger Ryan Braun at times this season became a problem again on Wednesday, when Braun exited in the eighth inning of the series finale in Cleveland.

Braun reached on a fielder’s choice and scored from first base on Prince Fielder’s double in the top of the seventh inning, then played the bottom half of the frame in the outfield without a ball hit his way. Braun was replaced in the top of the eighth by pinch-hitter Jody Gerut, who flew out to end the inning and then remained in the game as the left fielder.

Back issues first became a problem for Braun last season, when a strained muscle between his ribs sapped his power stroke down the stretch. The issue returned in Spring Training but Braun has mostly been able to play through it, starting all but three of Milwaukee’s games in left field.

He went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI on Wednesday and is among the National League’s top 10 with a .321 batting average, 49 runs scored and 48 RBIs.

Brewers announce latest Draft signings

The Brewers formally announced today that they had signed second-round Draft pick Cameron Garfield, a high school catcher from Southern California, plus three others:

  • Right-hander Robert Currie (12th round, 376th overall)
  • Right-hander Jose Oviedo (31st round, 946th overall)
  • Left-hander Matt Costello (35th round, 1,066th overall)

Garfield and Currie were assigned to Helena in the advanced rookie Pioneer League. Oviedo and Costello will go to the Brewers’ other rookie affiliate in the Arizona League.

The Brewers have signed 25 total players since the Draft, including 23 picks and two undrafted free agents.

Six innings for Parra in Triple-A season debut

Manny Parra’s first start since his demotion from Milwaukee is in the books, and it was a pretty good one. Pitching for Triple-A Nashville at home against Round Rock, Parra worked six innings, allowing two runs — only one of them earned because of an errant pickoff throw by catcher Carlos Corporan — with four hits, four walks and four strikeouts.

The four walks are a bit discouraging, and they probably contributed to the fact that Parra threw 114 pitches in six innings. But otherwise it looks like a good outing for the left-hander, who is trying to build some confidence in the Minors after going 3-8 with a 7.52 ERA for the Brewers.

I saw that general manager Doug Melvin told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that Parra was bumped up to pitch today to line him up in case he’s the choice when the Brewers need a fifth starter again on June 27. But I’m a bit confused by that, because Nashville has an off-day on June 22 — five days from today and five days before the Brewers need a pitcher. Maybe there is a plan in place to have Parra throw a simulated game, or pitch for a different Brewers affiliate.

Nashville was trailing, 2-1, when Parra exited, so he was in line for the loss. 

Kendall hitting leadoff in finale vs. Indians

With Casey McGehee sidelined by a couple of injuries, the Brewers will employ catcher Jason Kendall as their leadoff man for the first time this season. He enters with a .235 batting average but has gotten on base at a .329 clip. Not great for a leadoff man, but it will have to do.

Jason Kendall  C
Craig Counsell  2B
Ryan Braun  LF
Prince Fielder  1B
Corey Hart  RF
Mike Cameron  CF
J.J. Hardy  SS
Mat Gamel  DH
Bill Hall  3B

McGehee likely to sit out Wednesday

Brewers manager Ken Macha expected to be without the services of his hottest hitter on Wednesday after infielder Casey McGehee made an early exit Tuesday night, apparently with multiple injuries.

The official announcement from the team was “sore right knee.” But Macha indicated after the game that McGehee also had a sore left ankle, the result of a foul ball several days ago.

“It’s his one ankle and the other knee,” Macha said after the Brewers finished a 7-5 win over the Indians. “I doubt if he’ll play [Wednesday].”

McGehee was hitting .538 during a seven-game hitting streak and entered Tuesday on the heels of two consecutive three-hit games. He drove the tying run with a fifth-inning fielder’s choice grounder and then popped out in the top of the seventh with the Brewers clinging to a 4-3 lead.

In the bottom of the inning, Craig Counsell took McGehee’s place at second base. McGehee finished 0-for-4 and wasn’t interested in talking about his status.

“I’m all right,” he said. “I got done hitting and Macha said, ‘We’re going to put Counsell in at second.’ That’s it.'”

Hardy dropped all the way to eighth

Ken Macha said he was considering a change of scenery for shortstop J.J. Hardy, who is hitless in his last 28 at-bats, and he followed through. Here’s the lineup for the opener of a three-game series in Cleveland:

Craig Counsell 2B
Casey McGehee 3B
Ryan Braun  LF
Prince Fielder  1B
Corey Hart  RF
Mike Cameron  CF
Mat Gamel  DH
J.J. Hardy  SS
Mike Rivera  C

Dave Bush  RHP

Parra sent down to Triple-A, Narveson up

The Brewers didn’t wait long to send Manny Parra to the Minors.

General manager Doug Melvin visited with Parra in the clubhouse during the fifth inning of Saturday’s 7-1 loss to the White Sox, after Parra was hit for six runs without escaping the second inning, and told the left-hander he was being optioned to Triple-A Nashville.

The Brewers purchased the contract of left-hander Chris Narveson to replace Parra, and Narveson will be in uniform for Sunday’s series finale. To clear a 40-man roster spot, the team moved second baseman Rickie Weeks to the 60-day disabled list.

The move came as little surprise for two reasons. One, because of two upcoming off-days, the Brewers can get by with four starters until June 28. Two, Parra has been struggling for some time. Since a win in St. Louis on May 17, Parra is 0-4 with a 13.50 ERA (32 earned runs in 21 1/3 innings).

“His confidence level is pretty low,” Melvin said. “He said he didn’t feel comfortable throwing any of his pitches for strikes.”

Narveson, who will return to the big leagues for the first time since pitching in five games for the Cardinals in 2006, had a 3.38 ERA in 20 relief appearances for Nashville this season. He will get a good, long look, Melvin said, because he has no Minor League options remaining.

The Brewers were not exactly flush with options in Nashville. Right-hander Mike Burns worked four scoreless for the Brewers at Florida on June 2, but he was just optioned back to the Minors on Tuesday and must remain there for 10 days before he’s eligible to return. The Brewers could have recalled lefty R.J. Swindle for a third stint in the Majors this season, but both of Milwaukee’s next two opponents — Cleveland and Detroit — feature mostly right-handed hitters.

The other top option was Tim Dillard, who pitched in relief last season for Milwaukee but was converted to a starter this spring and went 7-3 with a 4.23 ERA in his first 11 starts. The Brewers opted to have Dillard make his start as scheduled on Saturday night.