June 2010

Coffey activated, Smith out

On Friday, Todd Coffey tested his bruised right thumb in a one-inning appearance for Triple-A Nashville.
On Saturday, he tested his patience. 
Coffey declared himself ready to return from the 15-day disabled list, but the Brewers, with a relatively-rested bullpen, waited one more game to make the roster move. Following a heartbreaking, 8-7 loss to the Rockies, the team activated Coffey and outrighted fellow reliever Chris Smith to Triple-A Nashville. Coffey will be back in the bullpen for Sunday’s series finale.
“I’m ready to jump back in there in the seventh or eighth inning and go right after them,” Coffey said a few hours earlier.
He was very sharp in his rehabilitation stint for Nashville on Friday night. Coffey needed only 13 pitches in his 1-2-3 inning and struck out the first batter he faced.
It was his first game action since May 29, when Coffey suffered a bone bruise at the base of his thumb during a rare at-bat.
“I feel real good,” Coffey said. “I felt like I had command of everything. I made sure I put a little extra pressure [on the thumb] while throwing the sinker, just to make sure it was good.” 
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Macha wants most from Gallardo

Brewers manager Ken Macha wants to get the most out of his best pitcher, right-hander Yovani Gallardo. Pitching coach Rick Peterson wants to be sure Gallardo is as strong in September as he was in April. 

Those competing aims have led to some interesting conversations of late, Macha revealed on Saturday in the hours before Gallardo’s start against the Rockies. 
“I have some disagreement with the pitching coach as far as the amount of rest guys are getting,” Macha said. “He’s always lobbying to give them the extra day.”
Macha and Peterson spent significant time over the past week setting up their rotation for the final three weeks before the All-Star break, and Thursday’s off-day followed by another this coming Monday have opened the door to a number of scenarios. 
According to Macha, Peterson preferred giving Gallardo two extra days of rest before a Friday start against Seattle. Instead, Macha lined up Gallardo to pitch Thursday against the Twins on only one extra days’ rest. 
“Had we given Yovani another extra day’s rest with the off here, we would go to St. Louis and play four games [from July 1-4] and not have Yovani pitch in any of them,” Macha said. “I just can’t see that happening.
“At the beginning of the year, I kind of said, ‘OK, let’s given everybody an extra days’ rest. We played the Cubs and they beat the daylights out of us because they had their three guys lined up and we didn’t. I like to get input from my coaches, and they have input. I like to give them responsibility, too. But ultimately, I’m the guy who makes the last decision. We went with Yovani pitching in [next week's] Minnesota series so he can end up pitching against the Cardinals.”  
This is not to say Macha intends to abuse Gallardo during the dog days of summer. 
“We were very protective of him last year,” Macha said. “We shut him down. His arm angle is not dropping down. He says he feels great. I know he throws a lot of pitches. He’s throwing the ball as well as I’ve seen him in my two years here.” 
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Brewers release former first-rounder Jones

The Brewers on Saturday released former first-round Draft pick Mike Jones, a right-handed pitcher lauded for a smooth delivery whose career was nonetheless derailed by arm injuries. 

Jones, the 12th overall pick in the 2001 First-Year Player Draft, was 1-1 with a 2.93 ERA in 19 games for Double-A Huntsville and Triple-A Nashville this season. The Brewers needed his roster spot for left-hander Sam Narron, who returned from attending the birth of a child. 
“His performance was OK, we just have one too many guys right now,” assistant general manager Gord Ash said of Jones. 
Jones received a $2.075 million signing bonus after the ’01 Draft but only pitched two healthy seasons. He was limited to 17 starts in 2004 before undergoing major shoulder surgery in 2004 followed by Tommy John elbow surgery in 2007. 
Jones’ career exemplifies the hit-or-miss nature of top Draft picks. Jones followed 2000 top Brewers pick Dave Krynzel, who appeared in the Majors but never stuck, but Jones preceded two Brewers picks who did, in Prince Fielder (2002) and Rickie Weeks (2003).  
“He’s hardworking,” Ash said of Jones. “He could have been a free agent a couple of times but signed back with us. It’s always tough [to part ways] from that point of view. It sounds like he wants to continue to play so we’ll see what happens.
“He would, at times, get into the low 90s [mph]. He just wasn’t able to be consistent in the strike zone.”
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Braun, Fielder flipped

The Brewers made a late change to their starting lineup on Saturday, flipping Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder from the order originally posted early in the afternoon. No real surprise there, because the Brewers have used this new alignment recently when the team faces a left-handed starter. Tonight, that starter is Colorado’s Jeff Francis. 

Here is the amended lineup:
Rickie Weeks  2B
Corey Hart  RF
Prince Fielder  1B
Ryan Braun  LF
Casey McGehee  3B
Jonathan Lucroy  C
Carlos Gomez  CF
Alcides Escobar  SS
Yovani Gallardo  RHP
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Schafer to undergo hernia surgery

Brewers outfield prospect Logan Schafer’s tough-luck season keeps getting worse. 
Not only does Schafer have a fractured right foot that would have sidelined him for 6-8 weeks, he will go to Phoenix next week for a surgical fix of the groin problem that has dogged him since Spring Training. Schafer is expected to undergo inguinal hernia surgery on Monday after consulting with the doctor who saw him in Spring Training, assistant general manager Gord Ash said. 
That combination of injuries means Schafer, the Brewers’ reigning Minor League player of the year, is finished for 2010. 
“I don’t think you can pretend that it’s good. A lost year is a lost year,” Ash said. “The best thing we can do is hopefully make up for it this winter.” 
The Brewers hope Schafer will heal in time to play in the Arizona Fall League, and then perhaps compile more at-bats in a winter league. 
Last season, Schafer won the Florida State League batting title with a .313 average for Class-A Brevard County, but he never got going in 2010. Schafer was supposed to participate in big league Spring Training camp, but he suffered what was described as a groin injury in a minicamp only days before he was to report to the Major League clubhouse. The ailment lingered deep into the season, and Schafer playing only his seventh game for Brevard County on Monday when he exited with the foot injury. 
Ash said Schafer actually hurt his foot at extended Spring Training camp around June 8, on a foul ball. 
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Lucroy hitting sixth

Rookie catcher Jonathan Lucroy is moving up in the world, first to the Brewers’ No. 1 catching slot and now up to sixth in manager Ken Macha’s lineup. Here’s how the Brewers will go after Jason Hammel and the Rockies tonight at Coors Field:
Rickie Weeks  2B
Corey Hart  RF
Ryan Braun  LF
Prince Fielder  1B
Casey McGehee  3B
Jonathan Lucroy  C
Carlos Gomez  CF
Alcides Escobar  SS
Manny Parra  LHP
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Report says Schafer out for season

Brewers general manager Doug Melvin told the Huntsville Times that Class A Brevard County outfielder Logan Schafer, the team’s reining Minor League player of the year, is finished for the season after suffering a fractured bone in his foot this week.
Melvin was in Huntsville to visit some prospects and mentioned Schafer in a conversation with reporter Mark McCarter about the organization’s injury troubles. 
“It’s been a rough year because of injury,” Melvin said before watching the Stars drop a 9-4 loss to Montgomery. “Throughout our whole system it’s been a big problem. We’ve had them all over the place, from the big league team on down.”
Schafer won the Florida State League batting title with a .313 average for Brevard County in 2009 with six home runs, 58 RBIs and 16 stolen bases. The fine season earned him the organization’s player of the year honor and a late-season trip to Miller Park, where he was recognized on the field before a game. 
But he never got going in 2010. Schafer was supposed to participate in big league Spring Training camp, but he suffered a groin injury in a minicamp only days before he was to report to the Major League clubhouse, and that ailment lingered deep into the season. He was playing only his seventh game for Brevard County on Monday when he injured his foot.
Schafer will turn 24 in September.
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Wright works a Triple-A gem

Left-hander Chase Wright tossed a complete-game, one-hit shutout to lead the Triple-A Nashville Sounds to a 9-0 rout of the division-leading Memphis Redbirds on Wednesday at Greer Stadium.
Wright allowed only a leadoff single to Jon Jay, who has spent some time this season with the Major-League Cardinals, in his third career shutout and first since 2007. Wright walked four batters and struck out four in his 111-pitch effort.
The complete-game shutout was the first by a Nashville hurler in four seasons, dating back to an Adam Pettyjohn seven-hit gem on July 30, 2007.
Third baseman Mat Gamel homered and drove in four runs as part of a 2-for-4 night to lead the Nashville offensive effort. Gamel continues to swing a hot bat, hitting .350 (28-for-80) over his last 21 games.
The win was the fifth shutout of the year for Nashville (35-31), which pulled back within a game of the division lead with its second straight victory.
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Chuckie hacks

chuck_carr.jpgCorey Hart dressed at a famous locker at Angel Stadium this week, and probably didn’t even know it. 

Brewers traveling secretary Dan Larrea pointed out this morning that the famous “Chuckie Hacks” incident happened right here, in front of a locker near the entrance to the visitor’s clubhouse in Anaheim that was occupied for the last few days by Hart. Larrea is one of the few people who actually saw it happen. 
It was May 16, 1997, a 5-1 Brewers loss to Chuck Finley and the Angels. Carr led off the eighth inning with the Brewers down, 4-1, ignored a “take” sign and popped a 2-and-0 pitch weakly to third base. After the game, before reporters were let in, then-manager Phil Garner approached him in front of that locker and asked Carr what he was thinking. The response, as most Brewers fans know, was classic. 
“Chuckie don’t play that game,” he said. “Chuckie hacks on 2-and-0.”
It was Carr’s last at-bat for the Brewers, who released him with a .130 batting average. He finished the season, his final one in the Majors, with the Astros. 
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Coffey, Davis ready for rehab assignments

Brewers reliever Todd Coffey and starter Doug Davis both threw off the mound at Angel Stadium on Tuesday in their final steps before rehabilitation assignments to Triple-A Nashville. 
Coffey will be up first. He has not pitched since May 29 because of a bruised right thumb, but threw a 30-pitch bullpen session on Tuesday and felt ready to pitch in a game. He will appear for Nashville on Thursday night in a doubleheader against Memphis and hopes to be activated by the Brewers on Friday night in Colorado. 
“Roger [Caplinger] and Dan [Wright] have done a great job of keeping my shoulder in shape,” Coffey said, referring to the Brewers’ athletic trainers. “Today in my bullpen, I felt like I didn’t miss a beat. I’ll get in one game real quick and then get back and throw some strikes.”
Davis, on the disabled list since May 16, when he developed inflammation of the lining around his heart, threw about 45 pitches in a three-inning simulated game at Angel Stadium on Tuesday and is scheduled to start for Nashville on Saturday against Oklahoma City and again the following Thursday, June 24, at Memphis. If those outings go well, he should return to the Brewers on June 29. 
“I feel great,” Davis said. “I was a little rusty throwing strikes in the third inning, just because I probably wasn’t waiting as long as I would wait between innings. Maybe I got a little tired from throwing too hard. But my arm felt good, my stuff was sharp.” 
Utility man Joe Inglett served as the batter. 
“The swings he was getting off me made me feel pretty good, especially when he turned around right-handed,” Davis joked. 
Inglett bats left-handed. 
Davis is scheduled to throw his usual between-starts side session on Thursday. That’s an off-day for the Brewers, so the team sent him Tuesday night to Phoenix, where Davis has an off-season home and where the Brewers have their year-round training facility.  
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