Spring Training begins

pitchers.jpgMother Nature provided just enough of a window on Monday morning for the Brewers to get down to business at Maryvale Baseball Park. 

The team’s pitchers, catchers and early-reporting position players took to the rain-soaked fields in Phoenix for the first official workout of the team’s 40th-anniversary season in Milwaukee. The rest of the position players will formally join the fold on Saturday, and Spring Training will be officially under way.

“You always feel like it’s going to be a long time, but then all of a sudden the offseason is over and it’s time for Spring Training,” said righty Yovani Gallardo, who threw a 40-pitch session along with about a dozen other pitchers on a covered bullpen mound. “It’s always fun to have an opportunity to come back, step on that mound and throw to your catcher. I’m feeling really excited about this upcoming year.” 

Manager Ken Macha gathered his coaches and players for the first time at 10:15 a.m. CT sharp for some opening remarks. Fifteen minutes later, everybody was out on the field to stretch in a routine that will repeat itself daily in the six weeks leading to the team’s April 5 season opener.

The wet conditions did force Macha to alter slightly his Day 1 agenda, but a number of pitchers including starters Gallardo, Doug Davis, Dave Bush and Manny Parra were able to throw bullpen sessions under the watchful gaze of new pitching coach Rick Peterson, and hitting coach Dale Sveum led the hitters to covered batting cages for some work. 

“I’m excited about our pitching staff because we’ve really made some upgrades,” Macha said. “But, that said, if you look at it we’ve still got a pretty young ballclub, so there’s still a lot of work to do. The only guy with some grey hairs is the catcher. 

“On the other hand, we’ve got great talent. I’ve got a lot of confidence that we’re going to be able to get it done.” 

All of the team’s pitchers and catchers were present and accounted for on Monday including closer Trevor Hoffman, who was reserving his enthusiasm for Saturday’s full-squad debut. 

“It’s exciting, but until you get the whole team together, it doesn’t feel quite right,” Hoffman said. “In these first few days you find coaches saying, ‘When everybody is here we’ll address this or that.’ So I’m going to wait until everybody is here before I get too excited.” 

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