August 2010

Gomez to begin rehab assignment

The Brewers just announced that center fielder Carlos Gomez will begin a Minor League rehabilitation assignment on Friday at Triple-A Nashville. He expects to return to active duty for the Brewers one week later. 

Gomez, who has not played since he was struck in the head by a pitch on Aug. 2 in Chicago, is eligible for reinstatement from the 15-day disabled list on Aug. 18 but he doesn’t expect to rejoin the Brewers until two days later. That’s because the big league team finishes a brief, two-game series in St. Louis on the 18th, then is off on Aug. 19. 
“Why fly to St. Louis for one day, then fly home and be off?” he said. “This way I can play for Nashville two [extra] days and come back.”
Gomez isn’t shy about the fact he would have preferred to avoid a DL stint in the first place. The Brewers list his injury as a concussion, but Gomez says he suffered no symptoms at all other than a sore spot where the Brian Schlitter pitch struck the left side of his helmet. The Brewers say results of a cognitive and motor skills test were inconclusive so they decided to be cautious, but Gomez says that test was flawed because of a poor Spanish translation. 
“I really don’t understand the reason,” for the DL assignment, Gomez said, “but it’s OK. I’m ready to go.”
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Hart back, Fielder plays 300th straight

Ryan Braun remains sidelined with a strained left wrist, but fellow All-Star right fielder Corey Hart is back in the Brewers lineup Wednesday after sitting out two games with a stiff lower back. 

The Brewers need to win the final two games of this four-game series to avoid their first series loss to the D-backs since July 14-16, 2006, when they dropped two of three at Chase Field. The Brewers haven’t lost a home series to Arizona since Sept. 19-21, 2003, when they also dropped two of three.
Oh, and Prince Fielder is playing in his 300th consecutive game tonight. Considering all of the  hit by pitches and the myriad of ways we’ve seen other players banged up, it’s an impressive streak of durability.
Rickie Weeks  2B
Lorenzo Cain  LF
Corey Hart  RF
Prince Fielder  1B
Casey McGehee  3B
Chris Dickerson  CF
Alcides Escobar  SS
Jonathan Lucroy  C
Dave Bush  RHP
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Commercial-free for a good cause

BCFlogo.gifThe Brewers’ telecast will air without commercial interruption tonight as part of a unique Brewers Community Foundation auction to raise funds for the group’s charitable efforts. There are some really cool packages up for grabs, including Mark Attanasio’s front-row seats at Miller Park and a chance to coach first base in Spring Training. 

For the full list of items and “experiences” being offered, you can click through the story I wrote last night about this event. The auction ends just before midnight tonight, so place your bids!
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Rogers to Double-A DL with blister

I’d say this qualifies as good news for fans of former Brewers first-round Draft pick Mark Rogers. The ailment that sent him to Double-A Huntsville’s disabled list Monday is only a blister. 

That would explain Rogers’ rough outing on Sunday. He surrendered six runs on two hits and four walks in only two innings, a rare blemish on a stellar season. Even with those runs, Rogers has a 3.78 ERA in 22 starts for Huntsville and Triple-A Nashville. 
Right-hander Michael Fiers was reinstated from the DL at Huntsville and took Rogers’ place.
In other Minor League news, the Brewers formally announced two more signings from the 2010 Draft: Seventh-rounder Joel Pierce, a right-handed pitcher, and 10th rounder Rafael Neda, a catcher. The Brewers have locked-up their second through 12th round picks, leaving only first-rounder Dylan Covey, a right-handed pitcher, unsigned
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Macha shakes up Brewers lineup vs. D-backs

Hours after trading veteran center fielder Jim Edmonds to the Reds for outfielder Chris Dickerson, manager Ken Macha had plenty of changes in store for the Brewers lineup.

Milwaukee’s regular starters for both corner outfield positions, Ryan Braun (wrist) and Corey Hart (back), got the night off on Monday with minor injuries. The ripple effect of those moves resulted in rookie Alcides Escobar making his first career start in right field.
Utility man Joe Inglett will start in left field. Making the move even more peculiar is the fact that Dickerson is expected to be in uniform Monday night for the Brewers. Rather than use the newly-acquired outfielder, though, Macha opted for Escobar who has impressed in the outfield.
Sounds like Dickerson won’t arrive in Milwaukee until about 5 p.m., however, so that may explain the decision to use Escobar in the outfield. Still, the move leaves the Brewers bench with no infielders, just Hart, Braun, Dickerson and catcher George Kottaras.
The batting order saw some changes as well, beginning at the top:
Escobar  RF
Counsell  SS
Weeks   2B
Fielder  1B
McGehee  3B
Cain  CF
Inglett  LF
Lucroy  C
Narveson  P
— Jordan Schelling, Associate Reporter

Dickerson tipped to trade by buddy Braun

The Brewers swapped outfielders with the Reds on Monday, acquiring Chris Dickerson from the Reds for Jim Edmonds. Dickerson had a spy in the Brewers clubhouse who tipped him off to the deal two days ago. 

That would be All-Star left fielder Ryan Braun, a fellow Los Angeles native who is a few years younger than Dickerson, 28, but has long shared a circle of friends. Braun sent a text message over the weekend when he heard the Brewers were close to dealing Edmonds. 
“He kind of tipped me to what was going to happen,” Dickerson said. “Sure enough, he was right.”
Dickerson was the Reds’ 16th round Draft pick in 2003. Now he’s starting fresh.
“It’s strange,” Dickerson said. “It’s a weird feeling for anybody, especially the first time. Even talking to the GM today, he expressed that. I was drafted by the Reds and came up through their system, and it’s tough to [sever] the relationships that you have. It’s going to be different. I’ve been playing with [Joey] Votto for seven years. It’s a part of the game, but it doesn’t make it any easier. 
“But the positive thing is that it’s a chance to start over and get an opportunity to play now that I’m healthy. I had success in my rehab stint and I’m ready to go.”
Dickerson hit the ground running in his Minor League rehabilitation assignment after spending his downtime looking at video of the game’s great hitters. He’s a left-handed hitter, so the list included Adrian Gonzalez of the Padres and Chase Utley of the Phillies, but it also included a right-handed hitter: Braun. 
“He does so many things really well,” Dickerson said. “I looked at a lot of the game’s great hitters and compared my swing to theirs, and I took that down to Louisville with me and it worked out really well. My first game back went well and I think that gave me a lot of confidence. Then when I knew I was healthy, it snowballed from there.”
Dickerson, a natural center fielder who can play all three outfield positions, has not played since Tuesday because of a death in the family.  
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Braun is NL player of the week

Ryan Braun earned a new watch on Monday. Here are the details from Major League Baseball:

Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun has been named Bank of America Presents the National League Player of the Week for the period of August 2-8, 2010. Bank of America, the Official Bank of Major League Baseball, is the presenting sponsor of the National League and American League Player of the Week Awards, which reflect Bank of America’s long-standing tradition of promoting and recognizing higher standards of accomplishment.
Braun led the Majors with a .538 (14-for-26) batting average and a .586 on-base percentage in six games last week. His 14 hits also led the big leagues while his eight runs scored were tied for first. Braun added four RBI and three walks while slugging .538 on the week. The 2007 N.L. Rookie of the Year hit safely in each of his six games, including four multi-hit performances. On Monday, August 2nd, Braun tied a career-best with five hits (previously, April 21, 2009 at Philadelphia) in an 18-1 win over the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. Braun and Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder, who also had five hits in the game, became the third pair of teammates in franchise history to each record five hits in one game (Paul Molitor and Darryl Hamilton each had five hits on July 28, 1991 at Minnesota and Kevin Seitzer and Scott Fletcher both had five hits on August 28, 1992 at Toronto). 
The California native went 2-for-4 with two RBI and three runs scored in an 11-6 win on Sunday against Houston, extending his hitting streak to eight games (dating back to July 31st). This is Braun’s second-career weekly award. He won previously for the week of May 5-11, 2009.
Other nominees this past week included Ryan’s teammates Prince Fielder (.423, 11 RBI, 11 H), Casey McGehee (.318, 2 HR, 11 RBI) and Yovani Gallardo (2-0, 3.75 ERA, 12.0 IP, 19 SO); Pittsburgh’s Pedro Alvarez (.348, 3 HR, 9 RBI, .739 SLG); Washington’s Adam Dunn (.250, 5 HR, 11 RBI, .786 SLG), Ryan Zimmerman (.308, 4 HR, 7 R) and Livan Hernandez (1-0, 1.26 ERA, 14.1 IP); Colorado’s Carlos Gonzalez (.423, 4 HR, 8 RBI, 7 R); Atlanta’s Chipper Jones (.391, 3 HR, .870 SLG) and Tim Hudson (2-0, 0.64 ERA, 14.0 IP); Albert Pujols (.522, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 1.000 SLG) of the Cardinals; Philadelphia’s Carlos Ruiz (.417, 2 HR, 7 RBI) and Roy Halladay (2-0, 3.86 ERA, 14.0 IP, 19 SO); Ted Lilly (2-0, 2.77 ERA, 11 SO, 13.0 IP) and Vicente Padilla (1-0, 0.00 ERA, CG, SHO) of the Dodgers; and Cincinnati’s Travis Wood (2-0, 2.03 ERA, 13.1 IP).
The Bank of America Presents the National League Player of the Week, Ryan Braun, is awarded a watch courtesy of Game Time, the leader in licensed sports watches, available at

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Melvin: Dickerson will join big league club

Newly-acquired outfielder Chris Dickerson is ready to return from his Minor League rehabilitation assignment and is expected in uniform for the Brewers tonight at Miller Park. 

The 28-year-old, acquired by the Brewers on Monday in a trade that sent Jim Edmonds to the Reds, has missed a large chunk of 2010 after surgery to repair a broken hammate bone in his right hand and a clean-up procedure on his right wrist. He last played Tuesday for Cincinnati’s Triple-A affiliate. 
I asked Brewers GM Doug Melvin whether this deal was about acquiring Dickerson or accommodating Edmonds, who now gets to play for a first-place team. 
“A little bit of both,” Melvin said. “But the reason a player like Dickerson is in it, is that we’re still trying to win as many games as we can. I don’t consider us out. I consider us trying to get a good streak together. We’re still coming back with a player who can play on our Major League team, not a Class A prospect.” 
Dickerson is under club control for four more seasons after this one and will still be a low-cost, “zero to three” player in 2011. 
In parts of the past three seasons with the Reds, Dickerson is a .274 hitter with eight homers and 30 RBIs in 148 games, including 94 starts. He’s a left-handed hitter and thrower. 
“There’s a little bit of injury history to him, but he can play all three outfield positions,” Melvin said. “He’s a contact guy more than a power guy. He can run well.”
Of Edmonds, Melvin said, “I liked him. He played well for us and is a good, veteran guy. I liked his presence, too. He’s the kind of guy who follows the game real well, and I thought he was good for our club. He got some big hits for us. I believe he can still play if he gets through the injury factor.”
Both teams reviewed the players’ medical records before consummating Monday’s trade. Edmonds only earns an $850,000 base salary this season, so there’s no cash involved.
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Edmonds dealt to Reds

Jim Edmonds will continue his comeback season in a pennant race. 
Edmonds, the 40-year-old who returned from a year off and proved he still can play, was traded within the National League Central from the third-place Brewers to the first-place Reds on Monday. The Brewers received another outfielder, 28-year-old Chris Dickerson, in return.
Dickerson was in Cincinnati’s Opening Day lineup but has missed most of the season after surgery to repair a broken hammate bone in his hand and to “clean out” his right wrist. He has been on rehab assignment at Triple-A Louisville since July 16, batting .442 (19-for-43) with three homers, seven RBIs and six stolen bases in 13 games.  He is coming off consecutive three-hit games but has not played since Tuesday.
In parts of the past three seasons with the Reds, Dickerson is a .274 hitter with eight homers and 30 RBIs in 148 games, including 94 starts. He’s a left-handed hitter and thrower.
Edmonds turned 40 on June 27 and has battled a series of nagging injuries this season after sitting out all of 2009. His most recent ailment is a very sore right Achilles that has limited his ability to run but hasn’t hampered him at the plate, where Edmonds owns a .286 average this season with eight home runs and 20 RBIs in 73 games.
With Edmonds out of the picture, it could open more playing time for Brewers rookie center fielder Lorenzo Cain, who made his first two career starts during the just-completed sweep of the Reds and logged his first RBIs and stolen base on Sunday. 
The trade is general manager Doug Melvin’s first since Spring Training, when he dealt catcher Matt Treanor to the Rangers. 
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Big week ahead for Cain

Brewers rookie outfielder Lorenzo Cain made the most of his two weekend starts against left-handed pitchers, and now comes the really interesting part. The D-backs will feature right-handed starters throughout the four-game series this week at Miller Park, and Jim Edmonds won’t play all of those games in center field. 

That means a key opportunity for Cain.
“He’s not going to sit all four of those games,” manager Ken Macha said. “He’s going to play.”
Macha would like to see Cain log some more Triple-A at-bats before playing him every day in the Majors, but necessity is forcing the manager’s hand. Carlos Gomez is out with a concussion, Jim Edmonds is hobbled by a sore Achilles and Joe Inglett has been much more effective off the bench. 
Cain is 6-for-12 in his first six Major League games and on Sunday logged his first three RBIs and his first stolen base. 
“I’m hoping for many more stolen bases, many more RBIs,” said Cain, 24. “I’m just trying to go out there and be consistent.” 
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