October 2009

Bosio back as advance scout

BosioC09RS007.jpgChris Bosio will be back with the Brewers in 2010, though he probably won’t spend much time at Miller Park. 

Bosio, who finished 2009 as Milwaukee’s interim pitching coach and was one of three finalists for the permanent job, will instead travel ahead of the team in a newly-created advance scouting position meant to enhance the video-based system already in place. Bosio served a similar role for the Mariners late in the 2001 season. 

“We talked about a number of different things, but this was the one we talked about at the most length,” Bosio said, referring to his discussions with Brewers general manager Doug Melvin. “I enjoy breaking down the game and trying to help us win.” 

Friday’s appointment came 10 days after the team announced Bosio would not return as pitching coach — that job went to organizational newcomer Rick Peterson — but would be back in a role to be determined. Bosio could have gone to the post he held at the start of 2009 as Triple-A Nashville’s pitching coach, but took the scouting job instead. 

The Brewers for years have relied on a video system for their advance scouting reports on opponents. Bosio will work closely with Karl Mueller, the Brewers manager of advance scouting and baseball research, to help to fill what manager Ken Macha called “holes” in that system by seeing upcoming opponents in person. He’ll talk to coaches and fellow scouts about everything from managerial tendencies to who’s swinging a hot bat. 

How Bosio’s reports will fit into the current system and the precise details of his travel schedule remain to be ironed-out with Melvin. 

“It’s another step in my career, another role that interests me,” Bosio said. “I’m thrilled that the organization was looking at me to fill it.” 

Understandably, he would be been more thrilled to be retained as the pitching coach. Bosio took over that job on an interim basis on Aug. 12 when Bill Castro was dismissed. Castro had spent 17 years as Milwaukee’s bullpen coach but lasted only 4 1/2 regular-season months as the pitching coach. 

The Brewers finished the year with a 4.83 ERA, next-to-last in the National League, and tied for last in the Major Leagues with a 5.37 starters’ ERA. Bosio inherited a staff still riddled with injuries. 

“[Returning as the pitching coach] was my first choice, but they wanted to make a change,” he said. “Change happens in baseball. That’s one thing that’s the same whether you’re a player or a coach.

“It was a hell of an opportunity and I tried to make the most of it,” he said. “I enjoyed it, being a guy from Wisconsin and a former Brewer.” 

Bosio, who lives near Appleton, Wis., just north of Milwaukee, was the Brewers’ second-round Draft pick in 1982 and pitched for the team in the big leagues from 1986-92.

“Now my responsibility is different, but I’m going to go work just as hard,” he said. 

Brewers pet calendar on sale today

2010-Pet-Calendar-Sample-1.jpg2010-Pet-Calendar-Sample-2.jpgThe Brewers Wives 2010 Pet Calendar, featuring photos of Brewers players and coaches with their own pets or pets available for adoption through the Wisconsin Humane Society, went on sale Thursday.  The calendars are available in the Brewers Team Store by Majestic at Miller Park, and the proceeds will benefit the Wisconsin Humane Society.

The calendar features the following players and coaches:
Jeff Suppan (January),
Craig Counsell (February),
Mitch Stetter (March),
Frank Catalanotto (April),
Yovani Gallardo (May),
Casey McGehee (June),
Seth McClung (July),
Trevor Hoffman (August),
Manny Parra (September),
Braden Looper (October),
Ed Sedar (November) and
strength and conditioning specialist Chris Joyner (December). 

Brewers wives host a number of events throughout the year as part of the team’s community efforts.  Each summer, the wives host a tailgate party to benefit the Sojourner Family Peace Center, a shelter for battered women and children.  Several of the wives, along with their husbands, support area children with game tickets, food vouchers and donations to youth baseball groups.


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Holiday cards available Friday (updated)

(Updated with details about special offers during the event.)

Brewers Charities is hosting “Trick or Tweet” on Friday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. CT at the Team Store by Majestic at Miller Park to unveil this year’s Brewers Charities 2009 Holiday Cards and to kick-off Brewers Charities’ presence on Twitter (@brewcharities).

This year’s set of holiday cards are available for $15 for 10 cards — two of each design — plus 10 envelopes. They feature cards inspired by four members of the Brewers squad, Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder, Yovanni Gallardo and Rickie Weeks, as well as the Brewers Hall of Fame Broadcaster Bob Uecker.

The first 100 people to buy a set of 2009 holiday cards from the Brewers Team Store will be able to stop by the Brewers Charities Tweet table for a free gift with purchase of the 2009 holiday cards, information for fans to be able to follow Brewers Charities on Twitter and Halloween candy.

Every thirty minutes, there will be incentives offered for fans at the Brewers Team Store by Majestic with the purchase of a set of 2009 holiday cards. Here are those details:

Trick or Tweet Specials – While supplies last. One per customer.

  • 11 a.m. CT-11:30 a.m. CT — Receive an Authentic Game-Used Baseball from the 2009 Brewers season. All baseballs are authenticated by MLB. No exchanges on baseball dates.
  • 11:30 a.m.-12 p.m. — Take 20 percent off all regular priced merchandise when you purchase a set of Brewers 2009 Holiday Cards. (Sale and Game-used merchandise not included).
  • 12 p.m.-12:30 p.m. — Receive an Authentic Brewers Line-up card from the 2009 season. All cards are signed by Manager Ken Macha and authenticated by MLB. No exchanges on line-up cards.
  • 12:30 p.m.-1 p.m. — Receive a FREE Racing Sausage Bottle Opener with any purchase of Brewers Holiday cards. Choose your favorite sausage mascot: Brat, Polish, Italian, Hot Dog, or Chorizo. 


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Where will Sheets wear No. 15 next season?

ben-sheets.jpgFormer Brewers right-hander Ben Sheets returned to his Louisiana high school last week and saw his No. 15 uniform retired. Sheets intends to be wearing it again in 2010.

He missed all of 2009 after undergoing surgery in February to repair a torn flexor tendon in his right arm, but a member of Sheets’ camp said he is participating in a flat-ground throwing program and is planning to be “more than ready to go” when the 2010 season begins. If that is the case, Sheets could draw some serious action on this winter’s free-agent market.

But that wasn’t the focus last Friday night, when Sheets returned to St. Amant High School in a small town between Baton Rouge and New Orleans and became the school’s first baseball player honored with a retired number.

“It’s time,” said Walter Lemons, the Gators’ head baseball coach and whose tenure began in Sheets’ freshman year.

“I’ve been working on this for four or five years,” Lemons said. “We finally got it done. He’s well-deserving, and I wanted to make sure he was the first baseball number we retired. I wanted to make it special for him.”

For more on Sheets and his possible destinations, see my story on Brewers.com.


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Braun unanimous pick for Sporting News honor

From Sporting News…..

Twins catcher Joe Mauer and Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols highlight Sporting News’ 2009 American League and National League All-Star teams, as selected by a panel of 31 Major League Baseball general managers and assistant GMs.
Mauer received votes from all 17 A.L. executives who participated, while Pujols, Phillies second baseman Chase Utley and Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun were on the ballots of all 14 N.L. team executives who voted.
Mauer led the Majors with a .365 batting average and won his third A.L. batting title in the past four seasons. His .444 on-base percentage also was the best in the majors, and he set career highs with 28 homers and 96 RBIs despite missing all of April because of back problems.
Pujols, named SN’s 2009 player of the year, led the majors with 47 homers, 124 runs scored, a .658 slugging percentage and a 1.101 OPS. His 135 RBIs and 115 walks both ranked third in the majors, his .443 on-base percentage was second and his .327 batting average was sixth.
In addition to Mauer, the A.L. all-star team features Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira, Blue Jays second baseman Aaron Hill, Rays third baseman Evan Longoria, Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, Mariners outfielder Ichiro Suzuki, Red Sox outfielder Jason Bay, Angels outfielder Torii Hunter and Yankees DH Hideki Matsui.
In addition to Pujols, Utley and Braun, the N.L. all-star team includes Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina, Diamondbacks third baseman Mark Reynolds, Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez, Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp and Phillies outfielder Jayson Werth.
Sporting News is unveiling its award winners throughout the week on sportingnews.com. On Tuesday, Phillies lefthander J.A. Happ and White Sox third baseman Gordon Beckham were named SN’s 2009 rookies of the year. On Wednesday, Royals righthander Zack Greinke and Giants righthander Tim Lincecum were named SN’s pitchers of the year, and the Angels’ Mike Scioscia and Rockies’ Jim Tracy were named SN’s managers of the year. Today, SN also named Pujols as 2009 player of the year.

The remaining schedule:
– Friday morning: Comeback players of the year, relievers of the year
SN’s entire 3-page awards package can be found in the new issue of the magazine, which arrives later this week at all Barnes & Noble, Borders and Hudson Retail outlets.

Cracked the Top 10

userpic-73-250x250.pngJust wanted to say thanks to all of you who made Brew Beat the 10th-most visited beat writer blog on our MLB.com network during baseball’s regular season. We trailed teams like the Braves and Cubs and Yankees and Cardinals, and needed only one more spot to give me permanent bragging rights over Ian Browne and Red Sox nation. I’ll see what I can cook up this winter to pass him by.

The full list of regular-season leaders in all categories is available here.

Peterson: 'Our philosophies are aligned'

The Brewers did not just hire a pitching coach on Tuesday. They hired a pitching philosophy.

The team announced its deal with former A’s and Mets pitching guru Rick Peterson, who has a degree in psychology and a track record of success employing biomechanics, a system of analyzing pitchers’ deliveries to look for ways to limit injuries and improve performance. Brewers medical staffers and coaches have been working in that area for several years, but now they are willing to embrace it in earnest.

“I asked right up front: Are you looking just for a big league pitching coach, or are you looking for an organizational philosophy?” Peterson said. “I’m more interested in integrating a philosophy, and that’s what they were looking for.

“How much more exciting can it be? This is the work I’ve done my entire career, and it’s the path the organization wants to go down.”

Peterson got a two-year contract. The Brewers also announced that bullpen coach Stan Kyles would be back for a second season, and that Chris Bosio, who finished the 2009 season as Milwaukee’s interim pitching coach, will return to the organization in a role yet to be determined.

Peterson has yet to look at video of Milwaukee’s pitchers, most of whom are under team control for next season. Peterson was more interested in getting a feel for the organizational pitching philosophy, and whether key decision-makers were willing to embrace his program.

He was left with little doubt.

“It’s very important that our philosophies are aligned,” Peterson said. “Until the interview, I didn’t realize how much we were aligned. I didn’t know that the Brewers’ orthopedic doctor [longtime head team physician William Raasch] was implementing biomechanical analysis throughout the organization.

“I was on the ground floor of this in 1989 with Dr. [James] Andrews at ASMI Lab. When you look at my career path, my life’s path, I tried to design the best pitching system that could be designed, and now I’m coming to an organization that embraces that philosophy.

“Some of the other places I’ve been, it was a battle to a degree. They either didn’t have anything in place or felt like it was too scientific, too data-driven. Whatever it was, there was opposition and a desire to be more old-school. With Milwaukee, all the way up to the ownership, it seems they are a very forward-looking team. It’s traditional baseball intertwined with new-age thinking.”

Peterson will now begin looking at video of the pitchers Milwaukee has in place and will also do “inside the numbers” analysis of their statistics to look for ways to improve. At some point during or just before Spring Training, Peterson would like to have those pitchers undergo a biomechanical analysis to look for ways to improve.

Peterson gets two-year deal; Kyles, Bosio back

Brewers general manager Doug Melvin wondered aloud during the team’s tough 2009 season whether his biggest loss wasn’t free agent pitchers CC Sabathia or Ben Sheets but free agent pitching coach Mike Maddux, who bolted after six seasons in Milwaukee for more money with the Texas Rangers.

So on Tuesday, on the heels of a woeful season for the Brewers’ pitching staff, Melvin moved to fill that hole and finalized a two-year contract for former A’s and Mets pitching coach Rick Peterson.

The team also announced that Stan Kyles would return for a second season as bullpen coach. Chris Bosio, who served as interim pitching coach after Bill Castro was dismissed Aug. 12, also will be offered a position in the organization, either in his former role as the pitching coach at Triple-A Nashville or a newly-created job as an advance scout.

Peterson has been Milwaukee’s top target from the start, and Melvin traveled on the final day of the regular season to Newark Airport in New Jersey for an interview. Peterson’s ties to Brewers manager Ken Macha date back to 1997, when Macha managed Double-A Trenton in the Red Sox chain and Peterson was his pitching coach for a half-season.

They reunited in 1999 in Oakland, where Peterson was already the pitching coach and Macha joined manager Art Howe’s staff as the bench coach. When Macha was elevated to manage the team in 2003 Peterson remained for one more season, then left to re-join Howe with the New York Mets.

Howe was succeeded after the 2004 season by new manager Willie Randolph, and Peterson and Randolph worked together until both were dismissed in June 2008. Randolph is now the Brewers’ bench coach.

Peterson, who turns 55 next Friday, was out of coaching in 2009 and focused on his business, 3P Sports, which offers biomechanical analysis to amateur and professional pitchers.

“After taking this year off to recharge my batteries a little bit, my passion to get back on the field is unbelievable,” he told MLB.com on Oct. 9. “It’s a very intriguing place to be because I think Milwaukee could win if the pitching gets turned around. That’s pretty much what I do best. I think it’s a place that would be a mutual fit.”

Brewers in talks with Peterson

willie-randolph-rick-peterson-180sm.jpg(UPDATED, at 5:30 CT with comment from Peterson)

The Brewers have focused on Rick Peterson for their pitching coach vacancy and were working Friday to conclude negotiations quickly.

Peterson, the former A’s and Mets pitching coach considered an expert on biomechanics, worked closely in the past with Brewers manager Ken Macha and third base coach Brad Fischer in Oakland and Brewers bench coach Willie Randolph in New York. He would be called upon to turn around a Milwaukee staff that posted the second-highest ERA in the National League last season including the worst mark among starters.

Speaking generally about the search late Friday morning without naming any candidates, Brewers assistant general manager Gord Ash said that the process was “moving along.”

“It’s getting into the final bits here,” Ash said.

Reached later in the day, Peterson declined to say that he had been offered the job but said, “I think it’s a great fit, without question. I’m really excited to hear what decision they make and where we’re going to go with this. I have talked to some other teams and interviewed with some other teams, so I want to find out what’s on the table as soon as possible. …

“Philosophically, we are totally, totally in line,” he said of his discussions with Brewers officials. I’m incredibly optimistic. I think this is a great, great fit. I walked out of the interview going, ‘Wow.’ I am incredibly excited.”

The Brewers might have some competition in wooing Peterson. He has also had contact with other teams in need of a pitching coach, including the Cincinnati Reds, but as of last week he had not formally interviewed for that job. This week, Peterson indicated an interest in the Florida Marlins’ opening to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, though that story did not say whether the Marlins had called him in to interview.

Peterson has spoken with several Brewers officials about the job in recent days but that does not necessarily mean negotiations will be a slam-dunk. Former Brewers coach Mike Maddux set the standard when he left Milwaukee last winter for a deal in Texas that made him one of the game’s highest-paid pitching coaches, with an annual salary reportedly in the neighborhood of $600,000. When the Mets hired Peterson away from Oakland after the 2003 season, negotiations lasted nearly a month, according to one report.

The Mets dismissed Peterson along with Randolph in June 2008 and he spent his year out of the coaching ranks focused on a business, 3pSports.com, that offers biomechanical analysis and training programs to amateur and professional pitchers.

Brewers, Reds complete Weathers deal

The Brewers announced Friday that they had sent cash to the Reds to complete the Aug. 9 trade that brought veteran reliever David Weathers to Milwaukee. Weathers appeared 25 times for the Brewers and posted a 4.88 ERA, giving him a 3.92 ERA in 68 games between the two teams.

He turned 40 on Sept. 25 and the Brewers have until 10 days after the World Series to decide whether to exercise Weathers’ $3.7 million club option. If the team declines, Weathers gets $400,000 and a chance to test his value in free agency.