August 2010

Brewers release Riske

The Brewers released right-hander David Riske on Monday and plan to make a corresponding roster move on Tuesday before the opener of a three-game series against the Dodgers. If outfielder Carlos Gomez passes his concussion tests, he could be part of that corresponding move.

Riske signed a three-year, $13 million contract with the Brewers at the 2007 Winter Meetings but developed elbow pain during his first season with the team and underwent a Tommy John reconstruction in June 2008. In 69 appearances, he had a 5.40 ERA. 
The Brewers are on the hook for what’s left of Riske’s $4.5 million salary in 2010. He was unhappy with his role on the team as a mop-up man, and posted a 5.01 ERA in 23 appearances since returning from his injury. Only two of those 23 games were Brewers wins. 
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Parra nearing end of rope?

Brewers left-hander Manny Parra, called his fastball command, “consistently terrible.” The team is considering giving someone else a try in September. 
Parra continued to slam headfirst into some sort of maddening, mid-inning barrier in Sunday’s 7-3 loss to the Padres, keeping the game close early before coming unraveled and making a sudden exit. Parra matched his season-high by lasting six innings, but he surrendered seven runs along the way and still has not recorded a seventh-inning out in any of his 16 starts. 
The Brewers are thinking about a change. Manager Ken Macha and general manager Doug Melvin had what Macha called “a brief discussion” on Sunday morning about September call-ups. The team has four young starters already on the 40-man roster in Josh Butler, Amaury Rivas, Mark Rogers and Cody Scarpetta. 
“We talked a little bit about perhaps who’s coming up and maybe giving somebody else a call,” Macha said. “Really, in all three games in this series, our starters haven’t gotten us where we need to get.” 
Parra, who surrendered seven runs on eight hits with four walks, went the deepest into the game of the three. Ace right-hander Yovani Gallardo lasted only 3 1/3 innings on Friday night, and lefty Chris Narveson made it three innings on Saturday. But the Brewers won each of the first two games in the series thanks to some clutch relief and timely hitting. 
Those hits were not there on Sunday. 
If Parra is indeed removed from the rotation, it would be for the third straight season. In 2008, the Brewers moved him to the bullpen for the stretch drive. In 2009, the Brewers demoted him to Triple-A Nashville in June. 
The team faces a very interesting decision with Parra this winter, when he is arbitration-eligible for the first time. Even with his inconsistency, that means Parra’s price tag is about to increase exponentially. 
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Still no Hart; Counsell plays No. 1,500

The Brewers will aim for a three-game sweep of the first-place Padres on Sunday, without their All-Star right fielder in the lineup but with a shortstop playing a milestone game. 

Corey Hart will sit out for the second straight day to rest his tight right hamstring, an ailment that sent him to the showers early on Friday night. Hart and the Brewers have called his absence precautionary, and giving him another day Sunday affords Hart a nice, long break, since the Brewers have an off-day Monday. 
Craig Counsell is in the lineup at shortstop and will play the 1,500th game of a fine Major League career that spans 15 seasons and includes two Wold Series wins. He turned 40 on Saturday. 
Perhaps Manny Parra will celebrate the occasion by finding his way through the sixth inning. He has yet to pitch more than six innings this season, and has pitched five, 5 1/3 or 5 2/3 innings in nine of his last 10 starts. Considering the bullpen has been used up in the first two games of the series, Parra would do everybody a favor by pitching deep into the game today.
Here’s the full lineup:

Rickie Weeks  2B

Craig Counsell  SS
Ryan Braun  LF
Prince Fielder  1B
Casey McGehee  3B
Lorenzo Cain  CF
Chris Dickerson  RF
Jonathan Lucroy  C
Manny Parra  LHP
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Hart sitting out for precautionary reasons

MILWAUKEE — He hasn’t spent a day on the disabled list this season, but the minor injuries continue to pile up for Corey Hart. If it’s not his hand, it’s his back. If not his back, his leg.

Hart added to that list of injuries Friday night, leaving the game for precautionary reasons with tightness in his right hamstring. On Saturday, the hamstring kept Hart out of the Brewers starting lineup.

“It’s one of those things that I think we’re just kind of nervous to play and go out there and make it really bad and miss a lot of time instead of taking it easy for a few days,” Hart said. “I think it’s trying to play cautious and that way I don’t push it and miss more time than I need to.”

Hart, who had missed time earlier this month with back stiffness, did not think the two injuries were related.

He speculated the hamstring tightness may have occurred on his first-inning triple to right field. Eventually, he realized the issue was significant enough to come out of the ballgame in the eighth inning.

“I felt something kind of pull,” Hart said. “It just gradually kept getting tighter. After I went first-to-third on [Ryan Braun's sixth-inning single], I came in right away and I was trying to wrap it up, trying to get away from it stiffening up on me.”

A few more inches on his triple, and Hart’s hamstring may never have become an issue. Hart’s ball hit high off the wall in right field, narrowly missing a home run.

Now, it’s another waiting game for Hart, something he’s grown accustomed to this season.

“It’s crazy, one after another,” Hart said. “My thumb was like five days, my back was a couple. It’s tough. I could go out there and try to play today, but if I do it, I might end up making it really bad and missing two or three weeks instead of a couple days.”

Jordan Schelling is an associate reporter for MLB.com.

Hawkins to have shoulder surgery Friday

MILWAUKEE — Following the results of another MRI on his right shoulder Friday, veteran reliever LaTroy Hawkins has opted for arthroscopic surgery to repair his rotator cuff and labrum.

 

Hawkins, 37, will leave the team Sunday to fly home and spend some time with his family before flying Wednesday to Los Angeles, where he will have Dr. Lewis Yocum perform the scope on his shoulder.

“It’s scope, but he said if he sees anything else, he’s got to fix it,” Hawkins said. “We’re praying and anticipating he won’t have to do anything else but just clean up. When I wake up on Friday, I’ll know exactly what he had to do.”

The recovery process for Hawkins will vary depending on whether the arthroscopic procedure is sufficient in repairing the “fraying” on his rotator cuff and labrum. If it is just a scope, Hawkins said he could be throwing again before Thanksgiving.

“If he has to put a stitch in there or something,” Hawkins said, “it’ll be a lot longer.”

Hawkins, 37, has struggled with shoulder issues all season, which has kept him on the disabled list for much of the season. The first indication of injury came in Spring Training, when Hawkins reported tightness in his shoulder after pitching on March 11.

That issue seemed to have resolved itself shortly thereafter, as Hawkins was lights out through his first four appearances of the regular season. Hawkins was tagged for seven runs on six hits in his next two outings before giving up just one run in his next six appearances.

Finally, after giving up a walk-off grand slam to Andre Ethier in one-third inning of work at Dodger Stadium on May 6, the Brewers sent Hawkins to the disabled list with right shoulder weakness.

Hawkins remained on the DL until pitching again on July 30 in Houston. He pitched five times after his return, including an ugly, one-third inning, three-run, four-hit outing in Chicago as the Brewers lost, 15-3, to the Cubs.

“I threw that pitch in Spring Training, I felt tight,” Hawkins said. “Then I recovered again and I threw the ball well, and then [went on the DL]. Just like I recovered this time. It breaks back down again.”

Hawkins said he planned to rehab initially in Dallas, where he said the Brewers had a “guy they work with in Dallas that’s going to work with me.” After working in Dallas, he planned to be back in September, to spend time with the club and let trainer Roger Caplinger look at the progress on his right shoulder.

Regardless of the length of recovery, Hawkins now has his eyes set on pitching in 2011 the way he was expected to this season when he signed with the Brewers.

“If we get it right and I can be back next year and pitch the way I’m accustomed to pitching — being out there and being able to be used once every three days, that’s not what they signed me for,” Hawkins said. “They signed me to pitch the way I’ve been able to pitch, three out of four days, five out of seven. I just haven’t been able to do that.”

– Jordan Schelling, Associate Reporter

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Gomez wants CF job back

gomez.jpg

Carlos Gomez was back at Miller Park on Saturday, anxious to reclaim his role as the Brewers’ starting center fielder. 
Not so fast. 
Gomez took batting practice with the team and said he had no effects at all from the Aug. 3 beaning that sent him to the disabled list, but the Brewers did not immediately make a place for him on the 25-man roster. So Gomez remained in limbo while the team continued its series against the Padres. 
“The best I can tell you is he’s eligible to come off, and when we figure out if he’s ready to go or our corresponding move, we’ll let you know,” manager Ken Macha said. 
Gomez was anxious to return to active duty, saying. “They know I’m ready.” He was even more anxious to take back his spot as the regular center fielder, a role that went to rookie Lorenzo Cain in Gomez’s absence. Cain entered Saturday’s start batting .375 with a .422 on-base percentage in his first 14 games. 
In his 75 games with the Brewers, Gomez is batting .228 with a .286 on-base mark. 
Asked about the logjam, Gomez said, “I don’t have any opinion. The only opinion I have is that when I get my time, I’m going to show [the Brewers] that I’m not a backup. I’m 24 years old. I’m the center fielder, and I have to take my job again.” 
Gomez played eight games for Triple-A Nashville on a rehabilitation stint and batted .286 (8-for-28) with a .412 on-base percentage thanks to five walks. He worked one-on-one daily with Sounds hitting coach Sandy Guerrero. 
“I didn’t go there for vacation,” Gomez said. “I went there to come [back] here ready to finish the last month and a half of the season really good. The season is not done yet. I only have [246] at-bats, and when you get a couple games of two, three base hits, then you’re hitting .260. I’m not going to say I’ve had a bad year because you can go two, three games 2-for-4, 3-for-4, and then you’re hitting .260 and that’s not a bad year. You have to finish hard. Right now, the only thing I need is a little more time to play and show them I’m the center fielder, not a backup.” 
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Hart remains out of Brewers lineup

After leaving the game for precautionary reasons on Friday night with a tight right hamstring, All-Star right fielder Corey Hart remained out of the lineup Saturday for the Brewers.

In his place, was recently-acquired outfielder Chris Dickerson. With Hart missing from the No. 2 hole, manager Ken Macha opted to go with rookie shortstop Alcides Escobar batting behind leadoff hitter Rickie Weeks.
Here’s the rest of the lineup:
Weeks 2B
Escobar  SS
Braun  LF
Fielder  1B
McGehee  3B
Cain  CF
Dickerson  RF
Lucroy  C
Narveson  P
– Jordan Schelling, Associate Reporter
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Block party a go

The Brewers asked me to help spread the word that their final summer block party is on as scheduled today at Ellsworth Park in Bayside. For all of the details, check out the main block party page of Brewers.com.

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Another MRI for Hawkins

Brewers reliever LaTroy Hawkins had another MRI scan of his balky right shoulder on Friday and was still deciding whether to undergo exploratory surgery to look for the source of stiffness in the joint.
That decision could have been made as early as Friday night, after Hawkins conferred with Brewers physician Dr. William Raasch to go over the latest test results. Hawkins also underwent a contrast MRI on Monday in Los Angeles with noted orthopedist Dr. Lewis Yocum that revealed only normal wear and tear. 
If Friday’s scan was similarly inconclusive, then surgery could be necessary. Hawkins was not available after the Brewers’ 10-6 win over the Padres to discuss the outcome. 
“We just want to be sure before we make a decision,” Hawkins said before the game. 
Hawkins is in his second stint on the disabled list with what the Brewers have described as “weakness” in his shoulder. In the first season of a two-year, $7.5 million contract, Hawkins has an 8.44 ERA in 18 appearances. 
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Gallardo looks for win No. 12

Nothing out of the ordinary in the Brewers lineup Friday night as they open a three-game series with the Padres.

With left-handed starter Wade LeBlanc on the mound for the National League West leaders, Brewers manager Ken Macha has rookie Lorenzo Cain in center field, leaving Chris Dickerson on the bench for the third straight game.
Here’s the rest of the lineup:
Weeks  2B
Hart  RF
Braun  LF
Fielder  1B
McGehee 3B
Cain  CF
Escobar  SS
Lucroy  C
Gallardo  P
– Jordan Schelling, Associate Reporter
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