April 2011

Significant progress for Hart

During our daily meeting with Brewers manager Ron Roenicke, he said that right fielder Corey Hart had finally gotten past his strained rib-cage muscle and was on the cusp of a Minor League rehabilitation assignment with Triple-A Nashville.

Hart is scheduled to take batting practice with the Brewers on Tuesday in Pittsburgh before club officials decide whether he’s ready to play in the Minors. He has not played at all this spring because of a strained left oblique suffered in a late-February throwing drill.

“Corey is close to going out,” Roenicke said. “He’s full-out in the things he’s doing right now. He has no discomfort in his side, so they’re expecting him to come really fast now.”

*

Follow Brew Beat on Twitter.

 

Greinke timetable getting clearer

Right-hander Zack Greinke threw his second bullpen session on Saturday and is on a tentative schedule that puts him back in the Brewers’ starting rotation during the first week of May.

Greinke is no longer feeling any discomfort from his cracked left rib and again threw his full assortment of pitches in the bullpen on Saturday afternoon. He has a series of bullpens and simulated games ahead of him, but the Brewers have already scheduled two rehabilitation starts at Triple-A Nashville during the final week of April. Greinke would throw 40-45 pitches in the first and about 75 pitches in the second.

Assuming he has no setbacks along that aggressive schedule, then he would be ready to make his Brewers debut during a three-city road trip that ends with stops in Atlanta (May 2-5) and St. Louis (May 6-8).

“Everything is feeling good,” Greinke said after Saturday’s session. “Now it’s just as fast as I can get ready. It’s not 100 percent right now, but it’s pretty good.”

Greinke was asked how stretched out he’d have to be to feel comfortable starting a Major League game.

“It depends on how you’re feeling,” he said. “It’s possible I may need to get a full, six-inning start [in the Minors]. It’s possible it’s just three innings. That’s just my opinion. … It usually takes four or five [starts] in Spring Training to start feeling good, but at the same time I’m kind of messing around your first couple of starts.

“So, maybe I’ll still need five. Maybe only two or three. I don’t know. I’ve never had to come back like this before.”

As for his arm strength, “It’s not there yet, but maybe not too much longer for that. [When the arm strength is back,] then you get pitching down a little bit.”

The Brewers will rely partly on Greinke’s own analysis of his progress.

“He’s going to have to tell us if he’s ready to go,” assistant general manager Gord Ash said.

“Too bad it wasn’t a couple of weeks ago at this point,” he said. “But for right now, it’s good, so that’s nice. I’ve accepted it. It’s just too bad. I’m just trying to get ready and not have another setback, and be able to pitch the rest of the season strong. That’s the goal.”

*

Follow Brew Beat on Twitter.

Brewers get cash for Villanueva

At the end of the Brewers’ postgame notes tonight was this little nugget: They received cash considerations from Toronto to complete the Dec. 3 deal in which right-hander Carlos Villanueva was sent to the Blue Jays.

No big surprise there. The Brewers were planning to nontender Villanueva, and they found a last-minute trade partner in Toronto. Villanueva has not allowed a run in two relief appearances with his new team.

*

Follow Brew Beat on Twitter.

 

Two innings for Hawkins

The box score says LaTroy Hawkins had a very successful season debut down in Daytona, Fla., where he struck out four batters in two scoreless innings of work for Class A Brevard County. It was the first step of a Minor League rehabilitation assignment for Hawkins, who is working back from right shoulder surgery last August.

Hawkins struck out two batters in a 1-2-3 sixth inning and struck out two more while allowing two hits in a scoreless seventh, when Hawkins worked around an error by catcher Rafael Nada.

Adding a positive report from Chad Seely, one of the Daytona Cubs’ broadcasters, who posted on Twitter that, “Latroy looked great down here … the velocity that he lacked is back. Dialed it up to 93-94 [mph].”

More Twitter reaction, this time from Hawkins himself: “Felt great,” Hawkins wrote on Twitter, where he posts as @Adidas219. “The guys in the [bullpen] down here gave me the nickname grandpa! What can I say!”

*

Follow Brew Beat on Twitter.

Morgan stars again vs. Cubs

Nyjer Morgan earned himself another start with his all-around effort in Thursday’s series finale against the Braves, a game in which he stole a base to set-up the game-winning score and made a pair of highlight-worthy catches in the outfield.

Here’s how the Brewers will go after Carlos Zambrano and the Cubs in the opener of a three-game series:

Rickie Weeks 2B
Carlos Gomez CF
Ryan Braun LF
Prince Fielder 1B
Casey McGehee 3B
Yuniesky Betancourt SS
Nyjer Morgan RF
George Kottaras C
Randy Wolf LHP

*

Follow Brew Beat on Twitter.

 

Merklinger clears waivers

The Brewers just announced that left-hander Dan Merklinger had cleared waivers and been assigned outright to Double-A Huntsville. The team designated Merklinger for assignment on Wednesday to clear a spot for righty Marco Estrada on the 40-man roster.

It’s a good keep for the Brewers. Merklinger, 25, doesn’t garner particularly high scores from scouts but went 8-7 with a 3.65 ERA at three Minor League stops in 2010. He tied for fourth in the Class A Florida State League with 142 strikeouts in 133 2/3 innings and produced two 13-strikeout games.

*

Follow Brew Beat on Twitter.

Estrada could join regular rotation

Right-hander Marco Estrada will remain with the Brewers after his effective start on Wednesday and could pitch again earlier than April 16, the next date the club originally expected to next need a fifth starter.

“We’re trying to still figure that out,” manager Ron Roenicke said. “It’s a possibility that he could end up being in the rotation to try to push back some of the other starters so they’re not always on their fifth day. Sometimes, they may be on their sixth. We’re looking at it.”

The decisions will be made on a number of factors including the outcome of Shaun Marcum’s start on Thursday and the availability of reliever Takashi Saito, who was still out Thursday because of a sore left hamstring.

*

Follow Brew Beat on Twitter.

 

Marcum back to mound seeking series win

Right-hander Shaun Marcum will try to be more like himself when he takes the mound this afternoon at Miller Park. He matched a career-high with five walks in his Brewers debut in Cincinnati, and said he would “kick my own [butt]” if he ever had an outing like that again.

He’ll have some speedy outfielders tracking down fly balls. Ryan Braun is in left field, of course, with Carlos Gomez in center and Nyjer Morgan in right. Here’s the lineup:

Rickie Weeks 2B
Carlos Gomez RF
Ryan Braun LF
Prince Fielder 1B
Casey McGehee 3B
Yuniesky Betancourt SS
Nyjer Morgan RF
George Kottaras C
Shaun Marcum RHP

*

Follow Brew Beat on Twitter.

 

 

Parra nearing rehab assignment

Brewers reliever Manny Parra, on the disabled list with a back injury, threw two simulated innings at Miller Park on Wednesday and will begin a Minor League rehabilitation assignment on Saturday at Class A Wisconsin.

Parra had an injection late in Spring Training to relieve a facet joint injury in the middle of his back. Since then, he’s made steady progress.

“I’m at the point now where I don’t even think about it,” Parra said after Wednesday’s simulation. “I get my treatment and do other stuff to maintain where I’m at right now, but I’m past [the injury]. I felt really good. I just have to get my endurance up. You can run all you want, but it’s not the same as throwing.”

Assistant general manager Gord Ash said Parra would probably throw one inning in his debut, followed by a bullpen session several days later and then a multiple-inning appearance in another game.

“The good news is he’s making progress, but the timetable is still that he needs some time,” Ash said.

The Brewers also announced that catcher Jonathan Lucroy (finger) would begin a rehabilitation assignment on Thursday with Double-A Huntsville, and that right-hander Latroy Hawkins (shoulder) would pitch Friday for Class A Brevard County.

*

Follow Brew Beat on Twitter.

Arnett out with shoulder injury

Right-hander Eric Arnett will begin the Minor League season on the disabled list because of a right rotator cuff injury, Brewers assistant general manager Gord Ash said.

Arnett, milwaukee’s first pick in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, was already off to a 3-13 start in his professional career with a 6.18 ERA. He is expected to miss a significant chunk of the season.

“Let’s put it this way,” Ash said. “It’ll be about a month before he throws.”

Arnett is in Phoenix strengthening his shoulder. The Brewers gave him last winter off after Arnett went 3-9 with a 6.67 ERA between rookie-level Arizona and Class A Wisconsin while working with dramatically decreased velocity compared to his days at Indiana University.

“We’re discouraged, yes,” Ash said. “He didn’t participate in any winter programs, and the idea was for him to come in and be ready to go, and he wasn’t. … We wanted him to take this time to get his mind [clear] because he had been a couple years straight of participation. This was a physical break for him, and he just wasn’t ready to go.

“You never give up. We’re certainly not giving up. We’re disappointed, but we haven’t given up.”

Another ’09 Draft pick, outfielder D’Vontrey Richardson, will also start the season on the DL with a hip injury. His stint will be much shorter than Arnett’s, and when Richardson is healthy he’s expected to play for Class A Brevard County.

*

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 78 other followers