August 2011

Gomez, Maldonado, Schafer are Sept. call-ups

The Brewers said their list of September 1 call-ups would be short, and they weren’t kidding. The team announced that only three extra players would be in uniform when rosters expand Thursday — outfielders Carlos Gomez and Logan Schafer and catcher Martin Maldonado.

All three will be in uniform for Thursday’s afternoon series finale against the Cardinals. The Brewers will probably promote more players in the days to come, either as need dictates or after Triple-A Nashville’s season ends on Monday.

Gomez is coming off the 15-day disabled list, recovered from the fractured left collarbone that had sidelined him since July 20. Maldonado was to be recalled from Nashville and Schafer’s contract purchased, meaning he will join the team’s 40-man roster for the first time. The Brewers would have had to add Schafer this winter, anyway, to avoid exposing him to December’s Rule 5 Draft.

Schafer, 24, will also participate in the prospect-rich Arizona Fall League, a way to make-up time he lost earlier this season to a fractured thumb. He was 2-for-4 with a triple in the Sounds’ 1-0 win on Wednesday, and batted .331 with five home runs and 23 RBIs at Nashville.

Maldonado, who turned 25 in August, was regarded as a defensive catcher until this season. He hit .321 with eight homers and 25 RBIs in 39 games at Nashville, and belted 11 homers with 59 RBIs in 103 games in the Minors this season.

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One more shot for a club record

After losing Tuesday’s opener to the Cardinals, the Brewers have one last opportunity tonight to set a club record for wins in a single month. They are 21-6 in August so far, tying the 1978 Brewers, who went 21-9 in June of that breakthrough season.

Randy Wolf gives the Brewers a good shot. The team has won each of his last six starts, including all five in August.

Here’s the lineup:

Corey Hart RF
Nyjer Morgan CF
Ryan Braun LF
Prince Fielder 1B
Casey McGehee 3B
Yuniesky Betancourt SS
Jerry Hairston Jr. 2B
George Kottaras C
Randy Wolf LHP

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Brewers unveil plan for postseason ticket lottery

Some news from the Brewers that I know a number of you have been waiting for:

The Milwaukee Brewers today announced details for a Postseason Single Game Ticketing Opportunity that will give fans an opportunity to register for the right to purchase tickets to potential individual 2011 Postseason games held at Miller Park.

 In addition, Season seatholders who currently have their Postseason order forms are reminded that TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 6 is the hard deadline for payment of 2011 Postseason Tickets.

Beginning Wednesday, September 7 at noon CT., fans interested in registering may go to Brewers.com and look for the link to “Postseason Single Game Ticketing Opportunity.”

 With inventory expected to be very limited, it is likely that only a very small number of fans will be selected to purchase tickets through this registration opportunity.

 “In 2008, we had over 220,000 fans register for a similar opportunity and we were only able to accommodate fewer than 5,000 of them,” said Rick Schlesinger, Brewers Chief Operating Officer. “The simple reality is that the demand for tickets far outpaces the supply.”

 Fans looking to guarantee tickets to Postseason games may bypass the single game registration by placing a deposit on a Season Seat Plan for 2012. Details on all Postseason ticket options follow:

 POSTSEASON SINGLE-GAME TICKETING OPPORTUNITY

Registration will begin at 12:00 p.m. CT Wednesday, September 7 and will close at 12:00 p.m. CT, Wednesday, September 21, 2011.

The Brewers will conduct a random selection of winners from the pool of registrants for each of the three Postseason series. The N.L. Division Series (NLDS) winners will be selected on or around September 22 and will have the opportunity to purchase up to four (4) tickets to one (1) game of the 2011 NLDS.

Winners for N.L. Championship Series (closes Friday, September 30) and World Series (closes Monday, October 10) will be selected from the same of pool registrants at later dates. Registrants (including winners of previous drawings) will be eligible for each drawing.

There is no charge to register for this opportunity, and additional rules and information are available at Brewers.com.

 GUARANTEED RIGHTS TO POSTSEASON TICKETS

The first option is for fans to purchase a Full Season Ticket Plan for the 2012 season. Fans who select this option will be given the opportunity to purchase tickets to ALL 2011 Postseason games at Miller Park, including the World Series.

The second option is for fans to purchase a 20-Game Plan for the 2012 season. Those who choose this option will be given the opportunity to purchase tickets to all 2011 NLDS and NLCS games at Miller Park.

Fans interested in either one of these two options can visit brewers.com or call 414-902-HITS.

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Parra’s elbow surgery complete

The Brewers just reported that left-hander Manny Parra underwent arthroscopic surgery today by Dr. William Raasch to remove a bone spur from his left elbow and perform a general elbow “clean up.” Parra, who is arbitration-eligible this winter, will return to Phoenix to begin his rehabilitation on Thursday.

We learned last week that Parra would need surgery related to a screw inserted in his elbow when he was a teenager. He’s been sidelined all season by injury issues, first his back and then his elbow. My understanding then was that Parra should be ready for Spring Training, and the club did not indicate differently on Tuesday.

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Flores opts out of contract

If you’re wondering about left-hander Randy Flores joining the Brewers’ righty-heavy bullpen in September, you can forget about it. Flores opted out of his Triple-A contract with the Brewers on Tuesday Sunday and was granted his release, per the teams of a deal he signed with Milwaukee earlier this month.

Flores, who turned 36 just  before he signed, had a 4.91 ERA in 11 appearances at Triple-A Nashville, allowing more batters to reach base (12, on 10 hits and two walks) than he retired (11). He did pitch clean innings in his final two Sounds appearances.

The Brewers actually do have a lefty reliever at the moment in Chris Narveson, who is in the middle of an 11-day period of downtime between starts. Manager Ron Roenicke said he would be more inclined to use Narveson for a full inning than as a specialist called-upon for one batter.

Narveson’s next start is scheduled for Saturday in Houston.

In other Minor League transactions:

– RHP Cody Scarpetta has been reinstated from the DL at Huntsville. He will be active for the Stars today at Jackson (Noon CT).

– INF Anderson Machado has been transferred from Huntsville to Nashville.

– LHP Manuel Ruiz has been transferred from Arizona to Brevard County. Ruiz will join the Manatees for their game on Wednesday when they host Clearwater.

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Brewers officially hit three million mark

News from the Brewers that we previewed on MLB.com a couple of days ago:

The Milwaukee Brewers today announced that the club has eclipsed three million tickets sold for the 2011 season. This marks the third time in franchise history that the Club has eclipsed three million (also in 2008 and 2009).

Today’s date is the second-earliest that the Club has reached the milestone in a season, missing the 2008 record by just two days. In 2008, the mark was reached on August 28 while in 2009, it came on September 2.

The Brewers currently have sold out 27 games on the season and through 66 home games have a season attendance of 2,453,617. The Brewers average attendance of 37,176 currently ranks ninth- highest in all of Major League Baseball. In 2008, the Brewers established a franchise attendance record with 3,068,458 tickets sold.

“Reaching three million tickets sold is the ultimate testament to the passion of Brewers fans, and it speaks volumes about their commitment to supporting the Club,” said Brewers Chief Operating Officer Rick Schlesinger. “With the team currently holding the best home record in Major League Baseball, our fans have played a huge role in creating the best home field advantage in the game.”

The Brewers have 15 home games remaining in the 2011 regular season, beginning with tonight’s series-opener against the Cardinals. Tickets remain for all future games, but advance purchase is strongly encouraged as availability for some games is limited.

Individual tickets may be purchased online at brewers.com, the Miller Park Box Office and by calling 414-902-4000.

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Numbers getting goofy for Brewers

The Brewers have 50 wins at Miller Park with 15 home games to play. They have won 27 of their last 32 games overall, including 21 of 26 in August to match the winningest month in franchise history. They have a closer who has converted his last 37 save opportunities, a first baseman who leads the National League with 102 RBIs and a left fielder who is two points off the pace for the batting title.

And, thanks to a nail-biting, sweep-clinching, 3-2 win over the Cubs on Sunday, the Brewers have a 10 1/2 game lead over second-place St. Louis in the National League Central.

The numbers are getting downright silly.

“The double-digit lead is hard to believe,” said Zack Greinke, who remained perfect at Miller Park by beating the Cubs. “It seems like just the other day we were one back. That is weird to see.”

It was actually a bit more than a month ago that the Brewers were 1/2 game back, but they swept the Cubs from July 26-28 at Miller Park to begin a remarkable rampage in which they have gone 27-5 and left the rest of the division in the dust. The Brewers can further cement their standing atop the NL Central in a three-game series against the Cardinals that begins Tuesday night at Miller Park.

On Sunday, Greinke and right fielder Corey Hart finished the sweep with a two-man show. Greinke became the second Brewers pitcher ever to steal a base, but was more interested in talking about his work on the mound than the basepaths. He pitched 7 2/3 innings and didn’t allow a hit until the fifth or a run until the eighth. Hart finished a sensational series with two more hits, including a two-run home run, and he helped his pitcher’s cause with a shoestring catch.

John Axford had to work hard for his 40th save — tying him with Atlanta’s Craig Kimbrel for the Major League lead — but finished the Brewers’ 13th series sweep and boosted the team to 21-5 this month, setting a franchise record for wins in August and tying the club record for wins in any month.

“I don’t know the rest of the teams in the league that well, but I don’t know if there’s a team playing better than this one,” said Cubs catcher Koyie Hill. “You can arguably say that this team right now is the best team on the planet.”

The ’78 Brewers went 21-9 in June and finished with a franchise-record 54 wins at home. This crop of Brewers is 50-16 so far at Miller Park, with 15 home games still remaining. The Brewers have won 21 of 24 games at home since their only back-to-back losses here all season, on July 4-5 against the D-backs.

Are the Brewers enjoying this? Or is there still too much work to do?

“It’s kind of both,” Hart said. “Whether you’re at the top or the bottom, when you go through a stretch like we are right now, you can’t not enjoy it. At the same time, we know that every day the focus has to be there, because the Cardinals aren’t going anywhere.”

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Brewers kick-start homestand

Baseball’s best home team is back at Miller Park tonight for the start of a busy homestand, with Cubs fans set to invade this weekend before the Brewers host the second-place Cardinals for a key series that will either bury St. Louis in the National League Central or keep the Cards alive. On top of the baseball, the Brewers will host their first-round Draft picks, right-hander Taylor Jungmann on Saturday and  left-hander Jed Bradley  on Tuesday. We should also get some news about rehabbing Brewers Carlos Gomez and Rickie Weeks, and we’ll have September call-ups on Thursday.

So, stay tuned to Brewers.com.

The busy week begins tonight, with Rodrigo Lopez vs. Randy Wolf. Enjoy.

CUBS
Starlin Castro SS
Darwin Barney 2B
Aramis Ramirez 3B
Jeff Baker 1B
Geovany Soto C
Marlon Byrd CF
Alfonso Soriano LF
Reed Johnson RF
Rodrigo Lopez RHP

BREWERS
Corey Hart RF
Nyjer Morgan CF
Ryan Braun LF
Prince Fielder 1B
Casey McGehee 3B
Yuniesky Betancourt SS
Jerry Hairston Jr. 2B
George Kottaras C
Randy Wolf LHP

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‘On Deck’ set for Jan. 29; tix on sale next week

News this morning from the Brewers:

The Milwaukee Brewers announced today that tickets for Brewers On Deck 2012, presented by Time Warner Cable, will go on sale next Thursday, September 1 at 9 a.m. CT. Set to take place on Sunday, January 29, 2012 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.

Advance tickets are $15 for adults and $9 for children 14 and under. Tickets the day of the event are $20 for adults and $15 for children 14 and under. Fans who purchase tickets by Wednesday, September 28 will receive a free ticket voucher (Terrace Reserved seat) for any Monday – Wednesday Brewers home game in April of 2012 (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 Thursday, September 1 at 9 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 Treasure Hunt and many other activities will all be a part of Brewers On Deck.

Autograph sessions will be staggered during the event and autograph vouchers 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 areas. For more information regarding the lottery process, visit brewers.com/ondeck. Additional details regarding the autograph schedules will be available at a later date.

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Parra to undergo elbow surgery — but not TJ

Brewers left-hander Manny Parra needs elbow surgery, but not that elbow surgery. Parra, on the disabled list all season because of back and elbow injuries, had a setback this week related to a screw that was inserted in his elbow as a teenager to fix a stress fracture in the joint.

“The screw has caused him some issues and we need to have it replaced,” assistant general manager Gord Ash said.

The issue is separate from the ones that scuttled Parra’s return from a back injury in May. He developed discomfort in his elbow identified as strains to the flexor tendon and ulnar collateral ligament, problems that sometimes lead to Tommy John ligament replacement surgery. But Brewers doctors believe, and Dr. Lewis Yocum agreed in a second opinion, that Parra can work his way back without that major procedure.

The Brewers’ head physician, Dr. William Raasch, will examine Parra this weekend in Milwaukee to make a final call about surgery to replace the troublesome screw. Parra would have to spend the winter rehabbing, but would be ready for Spring Training. He is arbitration-eligible this winter for the second time.

And, just for the record, Zack Braddock will not pitch again this season.

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