July 2010

Quiet Trade Deadline for Brewers

We’re less than 30 minutes from the nonwaiver Trade Deadline and it appears the Brewers might let it pass without any deals. We’ll chat with Gord Ash later today about the team’s activity over the last 24 hours.

First baseman Brett Wallace, called-up to replace the departed Lance Berkman, is in Houston’s lineup as the No. 6 hitter. The Brewers’ lineup looks like this:
Rickie Weeks  2B
Corey Hart  RF
Prince Fielder  1B
Ryan Braun  LF
Casey McGehee  3B
Jonathan Lucroy  C
Alcides Escobar  SS
Carlos Gomez  CF
Dave Bush  RHP
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Red Sox checked in on Edmonds

The Boston Red Sox recently called the Brewers to inquire about the availability of outfielder Jim Edmonds, who still wasn’t sure as of Friday afternoon whether he wanted to be traded to a contender.

Out of respect for Edmonds’ career and his contributions to the Brewers this season, general manager Doug Melvin promised Edmonds that he would run a trade by the player before striking any deal. 
“I’m still thinking about all that’s going on,” Edmonds said. “I might have more later, maybe even later today. I’m kind of kicking it around: Should I or shouldn’t I? If something comes up, what should I do?
“[Doug] basically told me that if he heard anything, he would come to me. That’s what we talked about. There’s been some rumors out there.”
Edmonds worries about how his lingering right Achillies injury would affect a trade. He has started only one of the Brewers’ last seven games. 
“I don’t know if that would squash it,” Edmonds said. “I don’t know if it would even come up. There’s a lot going on right now behind the scenes, and we’ll know more as the day goes on. It will be interesting. [A trade] is still not beyond the question.”
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Melvin counters critics of his pitching record

Brewers GM Doug Melvin has begun a vocal campaign to counter critics of his club’s record of drafting, developing and otherwise acquiring pitchers over the years, and he called a couple of the team’s regular beat reporters up to the new “war room” at Miller Park this week to air some of this thoughts. You can read his defense in a story that went live over at Brewers.com this afternoon.
Melvin admits mistakes but argues that they are no more glaring than those made by other teams. More importantly to him, the team has a plan in place that Melvin and assistant GM Gord Ash believe will help limit those mistakes in the future. 
It was a very candid chat about the Brewers’ recent past and their future, and I hope you enjoy it. The comments section here is typically quiet but I’d like to get the discussion going on this one: What do you think of Melvin’s self defense?
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Villanueva optioned out, clears path for Hawkins

Carlos Villanueva’s forgettable eighth inning on Wednesday will be his last appearance in a Brewers uniform for some time. He was optioned to Triple-A Nashville after the Brewers’ 10-2 loss to the Reds to clear a path for fellow reliever LaTroy Hawkins to return from the disabled list on Friday. 
Hawkins is on the 60-day DL with right shoulder weakness but will be back in uniform Friday night against the Astros. The Brewers will have to make another move to open a 40-man roster spot when they formally activate Hawkins, but that won’t be a problem. Catcher Gregg Zaun, finished for the season after shoulder surgery, can be moved from the 15-day to the 60-day DL. 
Villanueva has not pitched in the Minors since 2007. He has a 4.96 ERA in 45 appearances this season, including a bad one on Wednesday in which he surrendered five runs. Four of those runs scored on a booming, 450-foot grand slam by Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips that hit Bernie Brewer’s slide high above left field. 
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Hoffman talks trade deadline

Trevor Hoffman insists he’s not sweating Saturday’s non-waiver trade deadline. But if the Brewers do get an offer for the all-time saves leader, it’s very possible that Hoffman would have the final say.
Hoffman has a limited no-trade clause in his contract that blocks the Brewers from trading him to 25 of the 30 Major League teams without his consent. Hoffman talked about the existence of that clause on Wednesday morning, but said he didn’t know any of the details. 
He could be attractive to a team seeking relief. Hoffman has posted a 1.69 ERA over his last 15 appearances, including six consecutive scoreless outings. He’s signed through the end of his season, with a club option for 2011 that can be bought out for $500,000.  
“I haven’t even really thought about it,” Hoffman said. “I’m comfortable here. I think we’re a good enough ballclub to scratch back in this thing. If your mind starts to drift any other way, then I don’t think you’re ‘all-in’ with what we’re doing here. 
“I understand the adage from the time you’re coming up, that as you’re trying to make it with your particular club, there are 29 other teams scouting you. But if you have that kind of back-of-your-mind mentality, you’re going to sabotage yourself.” 
The Brewers plan to wait until Saturday to activate right-hander LaTroy Hawkins from the 60-day disabled list, just in case they trade one of their other relievers before that day’s 3 p.m. CT deadline.
“We think it’s close enough to that point so we’ll just wait and see,” general manager Doug Melvin said. “We don’t have anything currently on the table, but you never know what might come up.” 
Melvin said things were “all quiet” on the trade front Wednesday, making it even more likely that the two Brewers mentioned most often in rumors — first baseman Prince Fielder and right fielder Corey Hart — will stay put after Saturday’s deadline. 
But it’s possible that the Brewers will find a taker for one of their relievers. Hoffman would make sense, or perhaps Todd Coffey, since he has one more year of arbitration-eligibility after this one before he reaches free agency. 
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Brewers seek series win vs. Reds

Ken Macha dropped Joe Inglett down to the eighth spot in the order today against Reds left-hander Brandon Wood, but otherwise the lineup looks familiar for the Brewers, who are trying to win the series against the team ahead of them in the standings. 
Here’s the full lineup:
Weeks  2B
Escobar  SS
Braun  LF
Fielder  1B
McGehee  3B
Lucroy  C
Gomez  CF
Iglett  RF
Narveson LHP
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Inglett pitches 1-2-3 ninth for Brewers

MILWAUKEE — Ken Macha does not like to use position players as pitchers. A week ago, Macha went so far as to call it “embarrassing.”

 

Yet, with the Brewers trailing the Reds, 12-4, on Tuesday, Macha asked utility man Joe Inglett to pitch the ninth.

“It’s really the first time I’ve ever used a position player, even when I managed in the Minor Leagues,” Macha said. “It was interesting. He was throwing 51 and got them out.”

Inglett was effective, retiring the top of the Reds lineup in order. Brandon Phillips, Orlando Cabrera and Joey Votto had combined to go 11-for-15 before facing Inglett, driving in four runs with seven runs scored.

Against Inglett, the top of the Reds’ order managed just a popup to third, a groundout to second base and a long fly out to center field.

“One, two, three. That’s all I can say,” right-handed starter Yovani Gallardo said of Inglett. “I was pretty impressed. For him to go in there and get three outs, he made it seem easy.”

Inglett touched 56 on the radar gun once, with his average pitch speed being 54.

While the pitches registered as knuckleballs on the pitch tracker, catcher Jonathan Lucroy said Inglett was just throwing the ball to the glove.

“I put down fastball, but it wasn’t fast,” Lucroy said. “It’s just flipping them in there. That’s all it is. Just trying to save our pitching staff for tomorrow.”

– Jordan Schelling, Associate Reporter

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Three Dominican Leaguers suspended

Three players with the Brewers’ Dominican Summer League team were suspended 50 games after testing positive for performance-enhancing substances in violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. 
The players are third baseman Allixon Cequea and outfielder Erickson Salaya, both of whom tested positive for metabolites of Nandrolone, and pitcher Leonard Lorenzo, who tested positive for a metabolite of Boldenone.  All three suspensions are effective immediately.
The suspensions are a first for Brewers’ new facility in the Dominican Republic, where players undergo extensive education about the league’s drug policy and the dangers of using non-approved supplements. 
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RHP Jeremy Jeffress promoted to Huntsville

Since returning in early June from a 100-game suspension that came as a result of a failed drug test, right-handed reliever Jeremy Jeffress has been impressive on and off the field.

As a result, the Brewers have added him to the 40-man roster and given him the opportunity to quickly climb the ladder through their Minor League organization.
On Monday, Jeffress took another step, as he was promoted from Class-A Advanced Brevard County to Huntsville, the Brewers’ affiliate at the Double-A level.
In five appearances with Class-A Wisconsin, the Brewers first-round pick from 2006 did not allow a run or a hit, while striking out 14 against three walks over eight innings. 
After he was promoted to Class A-Advanced Brevard County, he was not as sharp, allowing six earned runs on 10 hits over 10 innings. Jeffress still recorded 14 strikeouts while walking seven batters, though.
Monday’s move comes as right-hander Mike Fiers has been placed on the disabled list at Huntsville, retroactive to July 22. Taking Jeffress’ place at Brevard County will be lefty Mike Ramlow, who has been reinstated from the DL.
Jeffress will travel on Tuesday from Melbourne to Huntsville and will be in uniform for the Stars on Wednesday night when they host Mississippi at 7 p.m. CT.
– Jordan Schelling, Associate Reporter
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Still no Hart in Brewers lineup

Corey Hart remains sidelined by a wrist injury as the Brewers begin a key, three-game series against the Reds at Miller Park. If the Brewers really harbor hopes this season, they’ll have to absolutely dominate their remaining games against Cincinnati and St. Louis. 

We’ll get an update on Hart’s condition in a few minutes and will pass it along.
Here’s the lineup:
Rickie Weeks  2B
Alcides Escobar  SS
Ryan Braun  LF
Prince Fielder  1B
Casey McGehee  3B
George Kottaras  C
Carlos Gomez  CF
Joe Inglett  RF
Randy Wolf  LHP
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