July 2010

Gomez back in the lineup

With lefty Zach Duke set to start for the Pirates, center fielder Carlos Gomez is back in the Brewers lineup for Game 3 of this series at PNC Park.
Rickie Weeks  2B
Corey Hart  RF
Ryan Braun  LF
Prince Fielder  1B
Casey McGehee  3B
Carlos Gomez  CF
Alcides Escobar  SS
George Kottaras  C
Randy Wolf  LHP

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Escobar moves up

Only a minor lineup tweak for Brewers manager Ken Macha, who bumped-up rookie shortstop Alcides Escobar to the seven-hole, ahead of catcher Jonathan Lucroy. The Brewers are 6-2 over their last eight games and will try to stay rolling against the Pirates tonight. 
Rickie Weeks 2B
Corey Hart RF
Ryan Braun LF
Prince Fielder 1B
Casey McGehee 3B
Jim Edmonds CF
Alcides Escobar SS
Jonathan Lucroy C
Dave Bush RHP
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Capuano returns to rotation

Filling-in for the injured Doug Davis, Brewers left-hander Chris Capuano will make his second start of the season tonight as the Crew begins a four-game series in Pittsburgh. Here’s how they’ll line up behind him:

Rickie Weeks  2B
Corey Hart  RF
Ryan Braun  LF
Prince Fielder  1B
Casey McGehee  3B
Jim Edmonds  CF
Jonathan Lucroy  C
Alcides Escobar  SS
Chris Capuano  LHP
Look out for Braun, who is 6-for-13 in his career against Pirates starter Jeff Karstens with two home runs. Braun has hit safely in six of his last seven games. 
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Cain coming up, Davis back to DL

The Brewers announced in their pre-game media notes that outfielder Lorenzo Cain had been recalled from Triple-A Nashville to replace left-hander Doug Davis, who landed back on the 15-day disabled list, this time with tendonitis in his elbow.

Davis spent nearly two months on the disabled list this season after developing inflammation around his heart, but his latest setback is completely unrelated. He made one start for the Brewers before the All-Star break, on July 9, and took a no-decision after allowing four earned runs in five innings. 
Cain was close to a call-up earlier this month after Brewers right-hander Yovani Gallardo strained a rib-cage muscle, but was sent back to Nashville when the Brewers decided initially not to place Gallardo on the DL. When club officials did put Gallardo on the DL a few days later, they activated Davis instead. 
Davis was supposed to make his second-half debut on Monday in Pittsburgh. Now the Brewers will have to make alternate plans. 
Cain, 24, is batting .326 in the Minor Leagues this season with 48 runs scored, 22 RBIs and 25 stolen bases. He started the year at Double-A Huntsville and earned a promotion to Triple-A Nashville, where he batted .341 with a .400 on-base percentage in 10 games. 
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Successful first outing for Hawkins

Rehabbing Brewers reliever LaTroy Hawkins made his debut at rookie-level Arizona last night and pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings. He allowed two hits and struck out two in his first outing since May 6, when Hawkins surrendered a game-winning grand slam to the Dodgers’ Andre Ethier and insisted to reporters that his arm felt fine. Three days later, he was placed on the disabled list with shoulder fatigue. 

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Randolph on Steinbrenner

Here’s what Brewers bench coach Willie Randolph, who played 13 of his 18 big league seasons for the Yankees, had to say about the passing of George Steinbrenner:

“He was a complex man,” Randolph said. “He was a real knucklehead at times, but he believed in Willie Randolph. Gretchen [Randolph’s wife] and I just started reminiscing, telling Steinbrenner stories. It made me feel good and bad. It’s good to know we spent special times together. We were there, and he was drenched with champagne and we were hugging. You don’t forget those moments.” 
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Attanasio on Steinbrenner

Brewers principal owner Mark Attanasio grew up in the Bronx and was a lifelong Yankees fan. Here’s what he had to say Tuesday about the passing of Yankees boss George Steinbrenner: 
“George really picked the franchise up when it was down and took it to not only a new level but a level unprecedented in sports,” Attanasio said. 
“The first time I was supposed to meet him was before I was a baseball owner. It was the Aaron Boone game, when the Yankees were playing the Red Sox in the playoffs, and I was supposed to go to his suite and meet him through some business contacts. But I think the Yankees went down, 5-0, in that game, and we got word that it wasn’t a good time for a first meeting. You have to admire his fervent desire to win. His passion to win was unbelievable, and his leadership from the top kind of infused the organization with that attitude and even the fans. As a fan, you loved that.”
Attanasio finally did meet Steinbrenner at the 2008 All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium. That was three and a half years after Attanasio was formally approved as the Brewers’ owner, and he inherited a Milwaukee franchise that had a payroll in the $27 million range in 2004 and hadn’t posted a winning record since 1992.
It wasn’t exactly the same as buying a storied Yankees franchise in the dumps, but perhaps there were some loose parallels. 
“I think the owners, whether it’s expressly or not, measure themselves against [Steinbrenner],” Attanasio said. “We try to emulate that desire to win every year no matter what. For our market, I’m trying to make it to the playoffs every year. There was a time for our franchise where maybe some thought that .500 was good enough, but every time I thought about that, I thought of George Steinbrenner. That’s an ownership model that I try to emulate.”
I also asked Attanasio about the Brewers’ 40-49 first half record. 
“Like the fans, I’m disappointed with where we sit right now,” Attanasio said. “I really didn’t expect to be nine games under .500 at this point. But I’m hopeful that we can close the gap. I’ve always felt that if you’re within five games of first place, you’re in it. We’re encouraged that we’re going to close the gap. That said, I’m disappointed with the way we started.”
He deferred a question about manager Ken Macha’s status to GM Doug Melvin. 
“You have to ask Doug, but I don’t see Doug making a manager change,” Attanasio said. “But that’s a question for him.”
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Hart, Guerrero have Derby plan

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When Corey Hart steps into the batter’s box in tonight’s State Farm Home Run Derby, he won’t just be hacking. 
“There is definitely a strategy,” said Sandy Guerrero, the longtime Brewers coach who will serve as Hart’s pitcher tonight. Guerrero helped Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder win the event in St. Louis last year. 
“You really want to make it to the second round and be strong, right?” Guerrero said. “To make it to the second round, you have to conserve energy. So we’re going to try to hit a ball, take a couple of pitches, hit a ball, take a couple more pitches. Keep your timing. Maintain your energy. 
“You see a lot of the big guys in the Derby come in and hit 12 in the first round and then one in the second. That doesn’t get you far. We’re not saving bullets. We’re just not swinging at all the pitches.
“The other thing is, don’t swing too hard. Control yourself. You don’t get any points for hitting the ball 450 feet. I’d rather have him hit the ball off the top of the fence and have the wind blow it over. Those count the same.”
Guerrero and Hart go way back to 2003, when Guerrero was the hitting coach at Double-A Huntsville and Hart was the Southern League’s MVP. 
Fielder tabbed Guerrero last year and edged Rangers’ outfielder Nelson Cruz for the Home Run Derby crown. Fielder hit 11 homers in the first round, six in the second and six more in the finals. 
Did Fielder offer any special gifts to Guerrero for helping him win?
“A lot of people ask me that, and the answer is no,” Guerrero said. “Just for him to give me the opportunity to be on the mound at the All-Star Game, that was enough. A lot of people won’t understand that, but it is really an honor to be invited by one of the players to be around the best players in the game.”
Guerrero played in the Minor Leagues for the Blue Jays and Brewers. His father, Epy, is a legendary scout who spent time on the Jays’ coaching staff in the 1980s. Sandy Guerrero said he remembered attending the 1987 All-Star Game in Oakland with his dad. 
“To be here with Corey and [Ryan Braun], guys who I have known for a long time, this is unbelievable,” Guerrero said. “For guys like me — I’ve been around baseball all my life with my dad — this is a feeling I can’t really describe.”
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Zaun at the All-Star Game

The Brewers have a fourth representative at the All-Star Game. Well, sort of. 

Injured catcher Gregg Zaun, out for the season following shoulder surgery, is in Anaheim as a credential-carrying member of the media. He’s working as a correspondent for Canada’s Rogers Sportsnet.
“I asked Doug [Melvin] and Gord [Ash] if I could do it, and they were nice enough to say yes,” Zaun said. “I really appreciated that. This is pretty cool.”
Zaun is very popular in Canada after playing for the Blue Jays from 2004 through most of 2009. He signed as a free agent with Milwaukee last winter but his season was cut short by a torn labrum in his shoulder. Zaun underwent surgery on June 16 and until Sunday wore a sling.
The Brewers hold a club option on Zaun for 2011, which he expects they will decline. He’ll decide later whether to continue his career.
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Lawrie has sights on September call-up

Lawrie.jpgWe already knew that Brewers prospect Brett Lawrie comes from the Ryan Braun school of self-confidence. Lawrie was at it again on Sunday, before the stepped into the batters’ box as the leadoff hitter for the World squad in the All-Star Futures Game at Angel Stadium. 

“Hopefully, I get a September call-up,” he said. “That was my main goal. if I play hard in Double-A, I hope I get that call. I feel like I deserve that right now. Obviously, I have the rest of the season to keep playing hard. I think if I hold my own the rest of the season, play well and keep doing what I’m doing, hopefully I’ll get a call-up.”
To be clear, this is simply hope at this point. Nobody from the Brewers’ front office has told Lawrie that a call-up could be in the cards. 
Lawrie, Milwaukee’s first-round Draft pick in 2008, has risen fast. He didn’t sign until late in the year, split 2009 between the Brewers’ two Class A affiliates and then debuted in the Double-A Southern League this season. He’s batting .295 with six home runs and 44 RBIs in 87 games as the league’s second-youngest player at the moment. Lawrie was born Jan. 18, 1990, making him five weeks older than West Tenn shortstop Carlos Triunfel, born Feb. 27, 1990. 
He knows that his name has popped up in trade rumors of late. 
“You hear things floating around, but it’s out of my control,” he said. “I don’t want to go anywhere. I want to stay where I am right now.”
Lawrie is participating in his second Futures Game, which has been a tremendous stepping-stone for Brewers prospects. Every Brewers representative in the prospect-rich showcase has advanced to the big leagues. Here’s the full list: 
1999 – Kyle Peterson
2000 – Ben Sheets
2001 – Nick Neugebauer
2002 – Bill Hall, Corey Hart
2003 – J.J. Hardy, Dave Krynzel
2004 – Prince Fielder, Rickie Weeks 
2005 – Nelson Cruz, Hernan Iribarren
2006 – Ryan Braun
2007 – Alcides Escobar
2008 – Mat Gamel, Matt LaPorta
2009 – Escobar, Brett Lawrie
2010 – Lawrie 
Look for more on Lawrie, including a video interview with MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo (pictured with Lawrie above), later today on Brewers.com.
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