June 2010

Edmonds, Counsell to start series finale

Manager Ken Macha made no major changes to the Brewers lineup Thursday, but two veterans are back in the starting lineup in favor of a pair of youngsters.

At shortstop and center field, Macha opted for Jim Edmonds and Craig Counsell, giving Carlos Gomez and rookie Alcides Escobar the day off.
Aside from those two changes, the lineup is business as usual for Milwaukee:
Weeks  2B
Hart  RF
Fielder  1B
Braun  LF
McGehee  3B
Edmonds  CF
Lucroy  C
Counsell  SS
Gallardo  P
– Jordan Schelling, Associate Reporter
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Brewers add six more signees

Three additional draft selections, including second-round pick Jimmy Nelson, have been signed this week by the Brewers, the club announced Wednesday.

Nelson, a right-hander from the University of Alabama, joins two other draft picks and three undrafted players in the Brewers’ latest round of signings. 
Additionally, the Brewers have signed 21st round pick Kevin Shackelford, another right-hander from Marshall University, and utility player Derrick Shaw, who was drafred in the 41st round out of Florida A&M.
The three new undrafted signees are lefty Charlie Bashara, right-hander Travis Stortz and center fielder Reggie Keen.
With the six new signees, the Brewers have now signed 34 players, 29 of which have been draft picks from the 2010 First-Year Player Draft.
– Jordan Schelling, Associate Reporter

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Gomez back in starting lineup vs. Liriano

With lefty Francisco Liriano on the mound tonight for the Twins, former Minnesota outfielder Carlos Gomez was back in the starting lineup Wednesday for the Brewers.

Gomez, who has struggled since coming off the disabled list on May 21, is back in the lineup in place of left-handed hitting Jim Edmonds, who went 3-for-4 last night with two runs scored and two doubles.
Aside from Gomez starting, the rest of manager Ken Macha’s batting order remains the same:
Weeks  2B
Hart  RF
Fielder  1B
Braun  LF
McGehee  3B
Gomez  CF
Lucroy  C
Escobar  SS
Parra  P
– Jordan Schelling, Associate Reporter
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Fourth-round pick Morris visits Miller Park

ILWAUKEE — With his team off until Friday, first baseman Hunter Morris, the Brewers’ fourth-round draft pick, joined the club on Tuesday at Miller Park.

 

Morris, a 6-foot-2, 200-pound first baseman from Auburn, has been busy since leaving home for Wisconsin early last week.

“I left my house on Sunday afternoon of last week and drove almost all the way to Milwaukee,” Morris said. “I got my physical Monday morning, got up to Appleton Monday night, and then 7:30 the next morning I’m on a four-hour bus ride to Clinton, Iowa.”

Morris has not spent much time in Appleton yet, but he said that “it’s a nice place.” He added that he was excited to be there, but “more excited about the opportunity to play baseball.”

For Morris, who had been to Miller Park previously for a pre-draft workout as a high school senior, the week has been filled with many unfamiliar places as well.

“That was the first time I’ve ever been to Clinton, Iowa,” Morris said. “And I know for a fact it won’t be the last. I’ve been all across the country, but never to Clinton, Iowa.”

Morris, selected 129th overall by the Brewers earlier this month, was among the first draft picks to sign with the club.

According to Morris, he had no interest in prolonging the signing process.

“I was ready to start playing,” Morris said. “I didn’t have any interest in missing the whole summer negotiating and all that stuff. So, I’m excited about getting out there and playing.”

– Jordan Schelling, Associate Reporter

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Hoffman could still close for Brewers

MILWAUKEE — With the way Trevor Hoffman has been pitching lately, the possibility of the all-time saves leader closing for the Brewers again is still there, manager Ken Macha said Tuesday.

 

Hoffman’s last outing, a scoreless eighth inning in a 1-1 ballgame Sunday in Colorado that earned him the win in the Brewers’ eventual 6-1 victory, was the fifth in a row for Hoffman in which he has not allowed a run.

Since giving up three runs and taking the loss on June 1 in Florida, Hoffman has tossed five scoreless innings, allowing just three hits.

“After that outing, I’d feel pretty good about him coming in now,” Macha said. “I thought the other day was his best outing. … He certainly threw the ball well enough to close the game.”

Macha was quick to point out the decision was not an easy one to make, especially considering the criticism that would come along with replacing current closer John Axford, who has not yet blown a save.

“It puts you out on the plank,” Macha said. “But I think he’s done real well, so let’s just see. I’ve got that amongst the other pressures that are placed on me when I come to the ballpark every day.”

As for if or when he would remove Axford from the role, Macha said it would “work itself out.”

At the same time, however, Macha recognizes what it would mean for Hoffman to get the four saves he needs to reach the 600-save mark.

“I certainly would like Trevor to reach his goal,” Macha said. “If that’s getting 600, I’d like to get that done for him. Or 610 or whatever he wants.

“He hasn’t given up an earned run since June 1. The game was on the line the other day, we had a tie game with the heart of their order coming up. It’s a good inning for him.”

– Jordan Schelling, Associate Reporter

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Davis wins Midwest League HR derby

Wisconsin outfielder Khris Davis won Monday’s Midwest League home run derby as part of the All-Star festivities at Parkview Field in Fort Wayne, Ind.

Davis, a right-handed hitting slugger, hit 25 homers in three rounds of competition, including 11 in the finals to defeat infielder Nate Freiman of the Fort Wayne TinCaps.
In his postgame interview on the field, Davis noted that he just tried to go out and do what his favorite player, Ken Griffey Jr., used to do in the Major League home run derby.
Through 65 games this season, Davis has slugged eight home runs with 34 RBIs for the TImber Rattlers.
– Jordan Schelling, Associate Reporter
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Edmonds in center field against Twins

Center fielder Jim Edmonds, who was unavailable to play over the weekend due to a shoulder injury, is in the starting lineup Tuesday for the Brewers. 

Edmonds gets the start against Minnesota in place of former Twins center fielder Carlos Gomez, who batted just .105 on the last road trip. Gomez has struggled at the plate since impressing in his first game back from injury on May 21 at Target Field.
Here’s the rest of the lineup:
Weeks  2B
Hart  RF
Fielder  1B
Braun  LF
McGehee  3B
Edmonds  CF
Lucroy  C
Escobar  SS
Narveson  P
– Jordan Schelling, Associate Reporter

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Lawrie to represent Brewers in Futures Game

MILWAUKEE — Second baseman Brett Lawrie, the Brewers’ first-round draft pick in 2008, will represent the club at the 12th annual XM All-Star Futures Game, Major League Baseball announced Tuesday.

 

“It’s an incredible honor for him to receive,” assistant general manager Gord Ash said. “He’s very well-deserving of the honor. He’s worked hard and he’s made some necessary adjustments that have allowed him to become more consistent on offense and defense.”

A British Columbia native, Lawrie was listed as a member of the World Team and is the Brewers’ lone representative in the game.

The XM All-Star Futures Game, which features many of the top Minor League prospects in the league, will begin at 5:00 p.m. CT on Sunday, July 11. The game will air live on ESPN2, ESPN2 HD and MLB.TV. Additionally, XM will provide satellite radio play-by-play coverage on XM 175.

Each Major League organization is represented in the game, and the World Team features players from 10 different countries and territories.

The selection is Lawrie’s second straight for the Futures Game, as he joins just 58 players to have played in the game at least twice.

Lawrie joins current Brewers shortstop Alcides Escobar as the only current player on the club to make two Futures Game appearances.

Through 69 games this season, Lawrie has batted .297 with six home runs and 40 RBIs for Double-A Huntsville.

Brewers scouting director Bruce Seid, who was with the organization in 2008 as the club’s west coast crosschecker, has not seen Lawrie play in nearly a year, but remains impressed with the young second baseman.

“We feel he has the potential to be an everyday Major League player for us,” Seid said. “He’s had a really good year. Being named to the Futures Game means being recognized as someone who has the potential to play at the next level, and we certainly see that in Brett.”

Current Brewers who played in the All-Star Futures Game include Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun, Corey Hart, Chris Narveson, Rickie Weeks, Alcides Escobar, Yovani Gallardo and George Kottaras.

Braun, Fielder and Hart are among a list of 62 players to have played in both the Futures Game and the All-Star Game.

At just 20 years old, Lawrie is one of the Brewers most highly regarded prospects. Ash said he was impressed with the way Lawrie has “excelled with the challenge” of playing for the club’s Double-A affiliate at his age.

“He’s got unlimited potential,” Ash said. “He’s a great athlete and he could play anywhere on the field for us.”

Jordan Schelling is an associate reporter for MLB.com.

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Turning point for the pitching?

The Brewers won Sunday with a five-run outburst in the ninth inning, but manager Ken Macha was even more pleased with what he saw over the first eight. 
Randy Wolf pitched through the seventh inning in his second consecutive quality start, and deposed closer Trevor Hoffman delivered a 1-2-3 eighth inning in what Macha called one of the all-time saves king’s best outings of his down season. Hoffman’s replacement, John Axford, stayed sharp with a perfect ninth inning as the Brewers — with the final two innings of Saturday’s loss notwithstanding — continued a promising pitching trend that has some still holding out hope of a mid-season revival.
With Wolf’s outing, the Brewers have seven quality starts in their last nine games. The starters own a 3.34 ERA in that span.
“You can see the difference. They’re keeping us in games and we’re winning more games,” left fielder Ryan Braun said. “Everybody is throwing the ball great. The pitching has really come together, which is exciting to see because there’s a lot of season left.” 
The hitters pushed the Brewers over the top on Sunday, of course. Rickie Weeks and Corey Hart delivered two-run doubles and Prince Fielder added an RBI double of his own to finish a 3-3 road trip on a high note. 
“It was a pretty good road trip, 3-3,” Macha said. “You always have those would-have, could-haves, but I think the starting pitching on this trip was pretty good. That’s something we need to build on as we go home for a pretty long homestand.”
Jordan Schelling will have it covered for MLB.com while I step away for a couple of weeks. I’ll be back in time for July 4, when we’ll find out who will represent the Brewers in Anaheim at the All-Star Game. 
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No McGehee, Edmonds in finale

Third baseman Casey McGehee is getting a day off Sunday and center fielder Jim Edmonds is apparently unable to play, so veteran infielder Craig Counsell is making his first career start in the five-hole. Manager Ken Macha said last night he was hoping to start Edmonds this afternoon. I’ll update Edmonds physical status after speaking to Macha this morning. 

In the meantime, here is the lineup:
Rickie Weeks  2B
Corey Hart  RF
Prince Fielder  1B
Ryan Braun  LF
Craig Counsell  3B
Carlos Gomez  CF
George Kottaras  C
Alcides Escobar  SS
Randy Wolf  LHP
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