August 2010

Lefty bats in lineup vs. Harang

Reds right-hander Aaron Harang returns to the rotation tonight and the Brewers’ lineup is stacked with a number of left-handed bats. Chris Dickerson starts in his old center field stomping grounds, and Craig Counsell is manning shortstop.
Counsell’s career vs/ Harang: .353 AVG (12-for-34) with one homer, two walks and three strikeouts. 
Here’s the lineup:
Rickie Weeks  2B
Corey Hart  RF
Ryan Braun  LF
Prince Fielder  1B
Casey McGehee  3B
Chris Dickerson   CF
Jonathan Lucroy  C
Craig Counsell  SS
Yovani Gallardo  RHP
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On deck Jan. 30; tix on sale Wednesday

Hot off the presses from the Brewers:

The Milwaukee Brewers announced today that tickets for Brewers On Deck 2011 will go on sale tomorrow (Wednesday) at 10 a.m. CT.  Set to take place Sunday, January 30, 2011 from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. at the Frontier Airlines Center (formerly known as the Midwest Airlines Center), Brewers On Deck is the winter fan festival that bridges the gap between the Wisconsin winter and Spring Training.
“On Deck continues to be one of our most popular events as it gives fans an opportunity to interact with players in an intimate setting,” said Brewers Executive Vice President – Business Operations Rick Schlesinger. “It also serves as the unofficial start of baseball season, with Spring Training beginning just two weeks later.”
Adult tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door while tickets for children ages 14 and under are $9 in advance and $15 at the door.  Fans who purchase tickets by Sunday, October 3 will receive a free ticket voucher (Terrace Box or Terrace Reserved seat) for any Monday – Thursday Brewers home game in April of 2011 (excluding Opening Day and any other Marquee Games).  A portion of the proceeds from Brewers On Deck will benefit Brewers Community Foundation. 
Tickets may be purchased beginning tomorrow at 10 a.m. at the Miller Park ticket office, by calling the Brewers Ticket office at 414-902-4000, or online at brewers.com/ondeck.
Brewers On Deck will feature a number of activities for the entire family.  Autographs and photos from Brewers players and coaches, interactive games in the Kids Area, Q&A sessions and game shows with Brewers players, coaches and broadcasters, vendor booths with baseball memorabilia, the Brewers Community Foundation Live Auction and Rummage Sale and many other activities will all be a part of Brewers On Deck.
Autograph sessions will be staggered during the event, and autograph tickets — ranging from free to $25 each — will be available on the day of the event only.  There will be 250 autograph coupons available for each player and coach at the event.  Coupons for certain players will be available via a lottery process.  Cash will be the only form of payment accepted at the pay stations in the autograph area.  Additional details regarding the autograph schedules and lottery process will be available at a later date.
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Lawrie, Jeffress headline AFL picks

Blue-chip prospects Brett Lawrie and Jeremy Jeffress headline the list of Milwaukee farmhands picked for the prestigious Arizona Fall League. Rosters were unveiled Monday afternoon. 
Lawrie will be joined on the Surprise Rafters by outfielder Logan Schafer, who will try to make up for time lost to a groin injury, infielder Eric Farris and right-handed pitchers Michael Fiers, Jeffress, Brandon Kintzler and Mike McClendon, who is currently pitching out of the Brewers’ big-league bullpen. 
Left-handers Lucas Luetge and Dan Merklinger were named to the taxi squad. 
Double-A Huntsville manager Mike Guerrero will manage the Rafters, a team made up of prospects from the Brewers, Tigers, Royals, Cardinals and Rangers. Play begins Oct. 12. 
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Edmonds leaning toward retirement

Jim Edmonds pulled up his shirt and showed off an ugly purple blotch on his right side, just above his hip. It might be the mark of his last injury as a Major Leaguer. 

Edmonds, placed on the 15-day disabled list by the Reds last week with a strained oblique, said he will probably retire at the end of the 2010 season, his 17th in the Majors. 
“I’m leaning toward shutting it down and being a family man again,” Edmonds said. “I’ve made my mark. I’ve done as much as I can do as an everyday player.”
Edmonds has not been ruled out for a late-season return to the Reds, who own first place in the National League Central. But he said he misses Milwaukee, and called his time with the Brewers, “the best part of my year.”
The nagging injuries, though, have worn him down. Edmonds dealt with oblique, back and Achilles strains during his Milwaukee tenure and said he walked into manager Ken Macha’s office at Wrigley Field in early August and said he was thinking of shutting it down. Macha talked him out of it. 
“It was the only thing that kept me going,” Edmonds said. 
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Brewers open series in Cincy

No surprises in the Brewers’ lineup for the opener of a three-game series in Cincinnati:

Rickie Weeks  2B
Corey Hart  RF
Ryan Braun  LF
Prince Fielder  1B
Casey McGehee  3B
Lorenzo Cain  CF
Alcides Escobar  SS
George Kottaras  C
Randy Wolf  LHP
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New fix for Miller Park shadows: Move the roof

shadow.jpgPhoto courtesy Bob Brainerd/FS Wisconsin
After getting approval from the stadium operations staff and the umpiring crew, the Brewers tried a new fix for the notoriously tough daytime shadows at Miller Park on Sunday by manipulating part of the ballpark’s fan-shaped retractable roof. 
General manager Doug Melvin said it was manager Ken Macha’s idea. Usually, the roof panels stack on top of each other above each of the foul lines, two movable panels in left field and three in right, creating a line of sunlight and shadow that creeps across the infield early in afternoon games. The effect is particularly tough, hitters say, when the pitcher’s mound is bathed in sunlight and the batter’s box is in the shade.
On Sunday, two of the right-field panels were left hanging over right field instead of being tucked in their usually, full-open position. That meant both pitcher and hitter were in the shadows from the first pitch. 
“This has to be an ongoing experiment,” assistant general manager Gord Ash said, “because the position of the sun is different at different times of the year.”
Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder are the two most prominent critics of the hitting conditions during the day at Miller Park. They have suggested simply closing the roof for day games, but that is not considered a good option, partly because Miller Park is heated, but not air-conditioned, and partly because part of the fan experience is enjoying the game on a beautiful, sunny day. 
The Brewers were interested in a third-party opinion of the shadows issue so they contacted Mike Port, Major League Baseball’s vice president of umpiring. Port who surveyed the umps and found that they, too, have particular trouble seeing the baseball on sunny days in Milwaukee.
“This is a real issue,” Ash said.  
The Brewers are moving two day games to the night in 2011, Ash said — one Saturday in April and another weekday during the summer. But they cannot — and do not wish to — completely eliminate daytime baseball, so club officials have tried taking other steps. 
Last offseason, the Brewers removed ivy beyond the center field wall that created glare, and re-painted the hitting background with dark, glare-resistant paint. 
One big problem remains, and the Brewers are not sure there is a fix for the large banks of windows above the grandstands that allow light in during the late afternoon and early evening. Players have suggested tinting the windows, but that would block the light necessary for grass to grow on the field. The Brewers have looked into a massive system of blinds, but it would require a seven-figure investment. 
That’s cost-prohibitive, officials say, at least for now. So manipulating the roof to cover the early innings was the next best option. 
Major League Baseball has rules governing the operation of retractable domes, but they mostly cover the timing of such moves and not the positioning of panels. When Ash was GM in Toronto, for example, the Blue Jays would manipulate a certain roof panel to provide shade for fans in the stands. But it didn’t affect the way sunlight hit the field, he said. 
“You can’t, for example, open the roof while [the opponent] is hitting and then move it like this when we’re up,” Ash said. “Wherever you set it, it has to stay there.”
To make sure, the Brewers consulted with umpire Mike Reilly, the crew chief working the Brewers-Pirates series this weekend. 
Neither team had trouble hitting in the first inning on Sunday. Pirates rookie Neil Walker connected against Brewers starter Dave Bush for a two-run home run in the top of the inning, and the Brewers scored three runs on three hits against Charlie Morton in the bottom half. 
Braun finished 4-for-4 with his 19th home run, and reached safely all five times up. But he declined to talk to reporters after the Brewers’ 8-4 win. 
What did Dave Bush and the rest of the Brewers’ pitchers think?
“I’m smart enough to know it’s not a pitching game any more,” Bush said. “It’s an offensive game between the ballparks and baseballs and everything else. Everything is geared toward hitters right now. In that regard, I’m not surprised. 
“But it’s just part of the game, and when I’m out on the mound I’m worried about what I’m doing, the pitch I’m trying to throw. If we score eight every time with the roof half-closed, I’ll be all right with that.”
Macha deflected questions to the players, especially one about whether there are times a manager tries psychological ploys to draw out performance. 
“Me? Psychological things? Those are all questions for them,” Macha said. “I come to the ballpark and my focus is there. I’m ready to go.”
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After no-no, Odorizzi to make one more start

Yes, Brewers pitching prospect Jake Odorizzi admitted, his arm was a bit sore in the days following the most memorable start of his career. 
The 20-year-old Odorizzi threw 117 pitches in eight brilliant innings for Class A Wisconsin on Tuesday and combined with fellow Timber Rattlers right-hander Adrian Rosario on a combined no-hitter, the first by a Brewers Minor League affiliate this season. The pitching duo was invited to Miller Park on Sunday and recognized on the field before the Brewers-Pirates game. 
“It’s been a hectic week,” Odorizzi said. “But worth it.” 
Some Brewers front office officials consider Odorizzi to be Milwaukee’s best pitching prospect. The team drafted him in the supplemental phase of the first round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft, one of four pitchers selected by Milwaukee before the end of the second round and the only one having success in 2009. 
In 22 games, 19 starts, Odorizzi is 7-3 with a 3.34 ERA and 130 strikeouts in 116 innings. He’ll make one last start on Tuesday at home against Kane County. 
It will be tough for Odorizzi to top his gem last week in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where he matched his career high with 10 strikeouts. A 28-pitch eighth inning, including an 11-pitch battle with the last hitter he faced, put him at 117 pitches for the night and forced a call to the bullpen. 
“I wasn’t happy about coming out until I was told my pitch count, and then I was like, OK, that is a very good reason to come out,” Odorizzi said. “I was told I wasn’t allowed to go over 120 [pitches], and I didn’t think I was going to be able to get three quick [outs on three pitches], so they gave it to Rosario.” 
Rosario, signed out of the Dominican Republic in August 2006, worked a hitless ninth with two strikeouts. 
“It felt so good because they gave me a chance to finish inning No. 9,” Rosario said. “I wasn’t nervous. I knew what was going on.” 
“You get remembered by what you do, and this is a pretty good thing to be remembered by,” Odorizzi said. “It’s something to build off of. When you have this kind of success, you want to go out there and do it every time. It helps you push yourself more, knowing you can do this.” 
He almost did it in April. Odorizzi worked the first five innings on April 16 without allowing a hit, and Damon Krestalude preserved the no-hitter until the ninth inning, when he surrendered a two-out double. 
“This one had a better feeling to it,” Odorizzi said. “Everything worked the whole night. You knew it was going to happen.” 
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Former Brewers pitching coach McLish dies

The man with the longest name in baseball history, Calvin Coolidge Julius Caesar Tuskahoma McLish, passed away Thursday at the age of 84.
He spent 15 seasons in the Major Leagues with Brooklyn, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Cincinnati, both Chicago teams and Philadelphia between 1944-64. He went 19-8 with a 3.63 ERA for the Indians in 1959 and made his only All-Star team. 
McLish then spent 16 seasons as a pitching coach, including a stint with the Brewers from 1976-82. 
He might have been best known for that long name, which McLish explained to The Oklahoman newspaper in 1999. 
“There were eight kids in the family, and I was No. 7, and my dad didn’t get to name one of them before me,” McLish told the paper. “So he evidently tried to catch up.”
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Inglett gets a start

Joe Inglett is getting a rare start in right field for the Brewers, who are aiming for a three-game sweep of the Pirates on Sunday afternoon. Here’s the lineup:

Rickie Weeks  2B
Joe Inglett  RF
Ryan Braun  LF
Prince Fielder  1B
Casey McGehee  3B
Chris Dickerson  CF
Alcides Escobar  SS
George Kottaras  C
Dave Bush  RHP
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Capuano returns to rotation

Brewers lefty Chris Capuano takes his place in the starting rotation tonight with a return engagement against the Pirates, the team he beat in his most recent start on July 19. He’ll get a series of starts in a very important final five-plus weeks of the season. For Capuano, it’s a chance to showcase his ability heading into free agency. For the Brewers, it’s a chance to see whether he’s worth continuing to invest in. 

The lineup is pretty standard. Still no Carlos Gomez:
Rickie Weeks  2B
Corey Hart  RF
Ryan Braun  LF
Prince Fielder  1B
Casey McGehee  3B
Lorenzo Cain  CF
Alcides Escobar  SS
Jonathan Lucroy  C
Chris Capuano LHP
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