Author Archive

Brewers being super cautious with Gomez

Carlos Gomez wanted to play, but the Brewers’ powers that be ordered him to rest one more day.

The speedy Gomez, bothered lately by tightness in his left hamstring, sat out a second straight start Tuesday when the Brewers played the D-backs at Chase Field, but said unequivocally that he would return to the lineup on Wednesday night.

Manager Ron Roenicke agreed, saying he sidelined Gomez for a second day out of an abundance of caution.

“Yeah, he could have played today,” Roenicke said. “The conversation with Carlos was more, ‘If you get on base, are you going to steal second? And if you’re playing center field and there’s a ball in the gap, are you going to go full-go to get it?’ And if those things are there and he’s not comfortable 100 percent, I feel better trying to at least get him closer to that point. Even though we love him in the batter’s box, he depends a lot on his legs. And to not be able to go 100 percent bothers me.”

“There’s no rush,” Gomez said. “He wants me to be 100 percent. I understand. I wanted to play today, and yesterday I could play, too, but he decided to give me the day off.

“It’s not like a tear or I pulled something. It’s not that. It’s general. I’ve had an injured hamstring before, and it’s not even close. When you pull a hamstring — you saw Rickie [Weeks] last year — you go down.”

Gomez tried to change Roenicke’s mind, attempting to talk — and run — his way into the lineup.

Today, “I came in early and I told Ronnie, ‘I want to play,’” Gomez said. “They said, ‘Let’s go see you running.’ I was running, giving everything. After that, I felt a little bit fatigued, a little tight, but it’s not like pain. They said, ‘We’re going to give you another day because I prefer you to take two days off [instead of] playing not 100 percent and taking a week or week and a half with no stolen bases, only running under control. Take two days, then come tomorrow and give everything you have.’”

He said he would start Wednesday against Arizona left-hander Wade Miley.

“For sure, no matter what [Roenicke] says,” Gomez said with a laugh.

*

Follow me on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy

 

Roenicke expresses support for Estrada

Young Caitlin Swieca will have much more in today’s game story, but Brewers manager Ron Roenicke just expressed some support for struggling starter Marco Estrada in his postgame meeting with reporters. Estrada allowed three more home runs today in a blowout loss to the Reds, and leads the Majors with 23 homers allowed this season. That’s on pace to shatter Braden Looper’s Brewers record of 39, set in 2009, and to top Bert Blyleven’s Major League record of 50 home runs allowed in a season.

Put on the spot after the game, Roenicke avoided making any grand pronouncements about Estrada’s future in Milwaukee’s starting rotation.

“We’ll stay with it and talk about it and see if we can get him straightened out. Right now, I haven’t had that discussion with Doug [Melvin, Milwaukee’s GM],” Roenicke said.

With Jimmy Nelson available at Triple-A Nashville, what are the negatives of making a move?

“Next start’s in Colorado,’ Roenicke said.

He did not avoid the bigger issue, that Estrada is not pitching well at the moment. To Roenicke, a pair of factors are behind that.

“It’s location,” Roenicke said. “He got a couple offspeed pitches up in the zone. It’s confidence. When you’re confident, the ball gets to spots better, it’s not more life on it. I still thought he was confident coming into the game, but after that first inning [when the Reds homered twice and took a 3-0 lead], it’s tough. …

“It’s command, which is confidence, usually. I think everything else is fine. He is [attacking the zone] at times, he’s just leaving some pitches up. When he’s good, his breaking ball is down. He got hurt with a curveball up to [Billy] Hamilton. He got hurt with a change-up up to [Brandon] Phillips. When he’s good, those two pitches are down.”

Roenicke downplayed the idea that Estrada could be tipping pitches. He was asked about the tricky balance of weighing recent results versus track record, and again appeared to position himself in Estrada’s corner.

“Some guys, you do stick with because of the history,” Roenicke said. “Marco certainly probably falls into that. He’s done a nice job for us. He’s going through a spell that we have to get through, and hopefully he comes out of it and gets back to that really good pitcher. He’s good when he’s on. You guys have seen him on, I’ve seen him on. He can go through good lineups when he’s on, and we have to figure out how to get him back to that.”

Estrada’s own comments will be available in the game story at Brewers.com.

*
Follow me on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy

 

Thornburg to DL, Fiers coming up

A day after absorbing most of the blows in the Pirates’ eight-run sixth inning, Brewers reliever Tyler Thornburg hit the 15-day disabled list Saturday with a sore right elbow. Thornburg said initial tests did not raise significant red flags about his ulnar collateral ligament, but he was scheduled to travel to Milwaukee on Sunday for an examination with head team physician William Raasch.

The Brewers promoted right-hander Mike Fiers from Triple-A Nashville to take Thornburg’s spot in the bullpen.

“Obviously, there’s so many different things in there that it could be,” Thornburg said. “We’re waiting to get it checked out to see if we can be a little more specific and go from there. We’ll narrow it down.”

Elbow injuries have plagued pitchers throughout baseball this season, the most serious of which, involving the UCL, require reconstructive “Tommy John” surgery and a yearlong rehabilitation. Thornburg said he suffered a partially torn UCL during his freshman year in high school, but rehabbed without surgery and has not experienced a notable elbow injury of any kind since then.

He hopes things stay that way.

“It’s been going on a good bit,” Thornburg said of the soreness. “It’s just one of those things that was more annoying. Then it started to get a little bit worse and I let them know about it a couple of weeks ago. We’ve been trying to work on some stuff and it started to get a little bit better. Then it got into a situation where I don’t know whether it was fatigued or what, but I couldn’t really grip the ball well. Obviously, things have gotten progressively worse as far as my control.

“The bullpen needed it, so I was trying to fight through it, but as soon as I’m not helping the team and doing more damage than good, it’s one of those things where [he had to shut it down]. I thought it was inevitable. I’m hoping to take 15 days and be 100 percent back to where I was.”

Before this season, Thornburg had never pitched regularly as a reliever.

“I wasn’t used to bouncing back, but I feel like I take care of myself pretty well,” he said. “Sometimes you can do everything possible, and things will happen. That’s the nature of the game. No matter how good you take care of yourself and what you do, it’s unnatural throwing.”

*

Follow me on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy

 

Thornburg suffers undisclosed injury

A day after absorbing most of the blows in the Pirates’ eight-run sixth inning, Brewers reliever Tyler Thornburg was unavailable Saturday because of an undisclosed injury that may prompt a roster move.

Neither manager Ron Roenicke nor assistant GM Gord Ash would say what part of Thornburg was injured, but Roenicke suggested it was not related to a shoulder that has occasionally given Thornburg some trouble.

“He’s got some other things going on so he will not pitch today,” Roenicke said. “Some physical things. We’ll find out a little bit more.”

Roenicke expected the Brewers to need a pitcher from Triple-A Nashville, where there are plenty of options but no automatic ones because none of the relievers who are pitching best — Donovan Hand, Dustin Molleken and Jeremy Jeffress — are on the 40-man roster. Left-hander Tom Gorzelanny had a promising rehab outing on Friday night, but is not yet ready to return to the big leagues.

“We don’t have those pieces in the bullpen where it’s an automatic [call-up],” Roenicke said. “Not like our starters. Our starters, we can grab [Jimmy] Nelson, we can grab Fiers. The bullpen pieces aren’t like that. [Michael] Blazek isn’t throwing like we hoped he would. [Alfredo] Figaro’s still on the DL; coming off of it pretty soon. But the guys that we have there on the roster are not in a position where we just kind of pop somebody up.”

Whatever the precise nature of Thornburg’s issue, Roenicke said he had been dealing with it for some time, perhaps helping to explain why the right-hander has not been as sharp of late.

After making the team as a long man, Thornburg pitched his way into a high-leverage set-up role and posted a 0.61 ERA in April, holding opponents to a .122 batting average in 14 games and producing a stretch of 13 consecutive scoreless appearances from April 5-29, retiring 21 consecutive batters in one stretch. In 11 appearances in May, Thornburg had a 6.00 ERA and a .319 average against.

He worked two scoreless innings against the Twins on Tuesday before enduring a nightmare outing at PNC Park on Friday night. Thornburg inherited two baserunners and a 6-3 deficit from Brewers starter Kyle Lohse and saw the Pirates extend their lead to 13-3. Thornburg was charged with five runs, all earned, on three hits and four walks, including a pair of bases-loaded walks.

“He was out there panicking,” said catcher Jonathan Lucroy, who visited the mound with third baseman Aramis Ramirez late in the inning.

He may also have been hurting.

A couple of other notes from today’s pregame:

– Gorzelanny’s Friday night rehab start for Triple-A Nashville went well — very well.

“His first encouraging outing,” Roenicke said. “Stuff was there and he felt good. Afterward he felt good. He pitches again Monday, I think it is, and we’re getting to the point where we need to make some decisions. But this has been the first good one he’s had.”

Gorzelanny allowed only one hit and no runs while throwing 34 pitches over 2 1/3 innings, with no walks and one strikeout. Jimmy Nelson, the previously-scheduled starter, pitched the game’s final six innings to finish a 1-0 Sounds victory.

He is scheduled for at least one more outing on Monday, 20 pitches in relief, and could subsequently pitch one more game Thursday before his 30-day rehab assignment expires. If Gorzelanny is ready, the Brewers will reinstate him to a bullpen that already features three left-handers (Will Smith, Zach Duke and Wei0Chung Wang). If Gorzelanny is not ready, he would return to the Brewers but stay on their disabled list.

Would it work to have a bullpen with four lefties?

“I don’t think it does in the long run unless your lefties are really dominating right-handers also,” Roenicke said “Smith has been able to do that. Duke has done it but we would like Duke more in situations with left-handers.”

– Wang underwent x-rays late Friday after he was struck on the right knee by a comebacker.

“He’s OK,” Roenicke said. “Sore, but OK.”

*

Follow me on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy

 

Brewers nearing decision on Gorzelanny

Brewers left-hander Tom Gorzelanny faced what assistant GM Gord Ash called a “pivotal” outing in his Minor League rehabilitation assignment on Friday, when he started for Triple-A Nashville ahead of top prospect Jimmy Nelson, who was scheduled to follow Gorzelanny’s 35 pitches.

Gorzelanny is still trying to get back from a December shoulder surgery and the Brewers wanted to see him in an extended, controlled outing. Hence, it made sense to have him go first and Nelson second.

“Because Tom is going to go more pitches than he has before, as you said, stretch out, we didn’t want to get into a situation where you didn’t really know how much game you needed left to accommodate his 35 pitches,” Ash said. “If you took Nelson out in the sixth to give [Gorzelanny] three innings for his 35, you don’t know. It’s just easier to do it this way to accommodate both of them and what they need to do.”

How has Gorzelanny been throwing the ball?

“I would respond to that by saying he’s still there,” Ash said.

Gorzelanny’s 30-day rehab assignment expires Thursday. His ERA in eight Minor League appearances so far looks good — 1.54 — but Ash said Gorzelanny’s varying velocities have been worrisome. He has reached 90 mph, “but it’s been inconsistent.”

“Tonight will be pivotal,” Ash said. “Depending on what he does and shows tonight, we’ll have to make some decisions.”

What are the options?

“Well, he’s continued to still report some stiffness, and if he continues to report that, the ability not to get loose, then we’ll have to bring him back from the rehab and just leave him on the DL for a while,” Ash said. “The goal, obviously, is to get him [back on the active roster]. With his experience, we could use him. But if he’s not physically right, we’re going to have to look at the alternatives, which is to recall him from rehab and keep him on the DL. Tonight will answer that.”

If a doctor certifies that Gorzelanny’s shoulder remains unhealthy or has been re-injured, he can be sent on another rehab assignment when he gets healthy.

“You get to start the clock over again, essentially,” Ash said.

 Other topics that came up in a dugout discussion with the Brewers’ assistant GM: 

– With Day 1 of the First-Year Player Draft in the books, free agent Kendrys Morales is now truly free to sign with any team, without costing that club a Draft pick. The Brewers have been linked to Morales, and Ash was asked to characterize the club’s interest.

“There’s certainly been discussions, but I wouldn’t say there’s been any resolution to those discussions,” Ash said. “It’s just part of exploring options and players that can help us.”

Three factors work against a union between Morales and the Brewers:

1. Position. Because they are in the National League, he could not serve as designated hitter on a regular basis, as he has done since suffering a terrible left ankle injury celebrating a winning grand slam in 2010.  Some scouts question his mobility and durability at first base because of lingering effects from that injury. In other words, would taking a hit defensively be worth the boost from Morales’ bat?

2. Cost. There’s been some chatter that Morales may seek a multi-year contract.

3. Chemistry. The Brewers have been in first base all season, and incumbent first basemen Mark Reynolds and Lyle Overbay are two of the most popular veterans on the team. Chuckle at this if you want, but it’s at least a small part of the debate.

– Another reliever, Jim Henderson, is beginning to ramp back up after a setback on his rehab assignment two weeks ago.

“He did some plyo work yesterday and reported feeling much better on the first day this time than on the first day last time,” Ash said. “So we’ll look at that as progress.”

– Speaking of progress, Jeremy Jeffress is pitching well at Triple-A Nashville. The Brewers re-signed the former first round Draft pick to a Minor League deal in April, and you can read the backstory here.

He has a 1.71 ERA in 14 games for Nashville.

“He had one bad outing where he got wild, but all the rest of them have been very good,” Ash said. “He’s been in control. He’s been used in good situations. I think he’s in a good place mentally. So yeah, he’s done well.”

Is he working his way into discussions about a call-up, should the Brewers find themselves in need of relief help?

“I can tell you with certainty that almost every player on the Triple-A club gets talked about one way or another,” Ash said. “When we brought up [utility man Irving] Falu last time, we talked about a whole bunch of guys. If and when we need to make a pitching move, they all get talked about. We have regular sessions, we do once a month conference calls with all of our Minor League clubs and regular conference calls with all of our rovers, so there’s a lot of input on what they’re doing and how they’re performing. In fact, I talked several times with [Sounds manager] Rick Sweet today.

“They’ve all got great physical [tools]. [Dustin] Molleken does, [Arcenio] Leon does, Jeffress does, [Michael] Blazek does. They’ve all got great physical tools. What’s keeping them from being in the big leagues is consistency. They still struggle with that.”

*

Follow me on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy

 

Day 1 Draft roundup

The Brewers swung for the fences on Day 1 of the First-Year Player Draft, selecting three high-ceiling high schoolers with picks No. 12, 41 and 50. Here’s a rundown of the coverage over at Brewers.com:

First round, No. 12 overall: LHP Kodi Medeiros

No, Medeiros did not touch 97 mph during a workout last week at Miller Park, as Medeiros himself had heard. But he was impressive, showing a low- to mid-90s fastball with terrific movement and cementing the Brewers’ desire to make him the highest left-handed pitcher drafted in franchise history, and the highest-ever Draft pick born in Hawaii.

“He just came here and emphasized that he was a guy we were really high on,” Brewers amateur scouting director Bruce Seid said. “No one ever said the workout was the end-all, but it certainly was the exclamation point.”

Medeiros is represented by adviser David Matranga and committed to Pepperdine University if he does not sign with the Brewers, but the slot value assigned the 12th overall is significant: $2,805,700.

“It’s just a dream come true,” Medeiros said at MLB Network’s studios in Secaucus, N.J., where he attended the Draft. “All the hard work and sacrifices and all the help from my family and my brother and everyone else who helped me along the way. It just paid off.”

Some scouting reports project Medeiros as a reliever because of his low arm angle and Will Smith-like slider, but Seid and Brewers GM Doug Melvin said they’ll introduce him to the system as a starter.

First round supplemental, No. 41 overall: SS Jacob Gatewood

The 6-foot-5 Californian joins an impressive list of shortstops drafted by the Brewers before the start of the second round (scroll down at the link), from Robin Yount to Gary Sheffield. Both wound up playing other positions in the Major Leagues, and so could Gatewood, who has an impressive arm and an impressive bat.

“I feel like I need to try to become more of an overall better hitter, hit for average as well as for power, because I know my power’s there and the more consistent I make contact the better my power’s going to play in the game,” Gatewood said. “Obviously, if I get a chance to play shortstop, I need to work as hard as I can to stay there. I know it’s not going to be easy being my height, but I know it’s possible since there’s guys that have done it before. That’s all I need to know, that it’s possible.”

He is being advised by Danny Lozano and is committed to USC if he doesn’t sign with the Brewers. The 41st overall pick has an assigned slot value of $1,384,900.

Second round, No. 50 overall: OF Monte Harrison

The Missouri multi-sport star is committed to playing baseball and football at the University of Nebraska, and is just as promising in both sports. The Brewers know he will need some convincing.

“We know it’s going to be probably a tougher sign,” Seid said, “but at the same time, you have to take opportunities like this. If we can make it work, we’ll make it work.”

Agent Rob Martin is advising Harrison, who attended Thursday’s Draft in person but had departed MLB Network studios before slipping to the Brewers in the second round. Major League Baseball assigned a slot value of $1,100,300 to the 50th overall pick.

The Kansas City Star ran a terrific story about Harrison earlier this week, detailing his football ambitions and how he got into athletics in the first place, following the death of his father 12 years ago. The story is well worth a read, and ends like this:

When it comes to his future, Harrison isn’t giving anything away. He refuses to discuss the draft with even his closest friends.

A week before Lee’s Summit West lost in the Class 5 postseason, Harrison arrived at practice an hour early, took a seat atop the dugout bench and stared out toward the baseball diamond. In the midst of a year in which he can’t escape the constant calls, text messages and letters, he has come to appreciate these quieter moments.

“I could see myself doing this,” he says, breaking the silence.

And spurning Nebraska?

Harrison smiles.

“I guess you’re just going to have to wait and see.”

The same goes for all of the Brewers picks in the First-Year Player Draft, which continues Friday with Rounds 3-10 and Saturday with Rounds 11-40. Look to Brewers.com and MLB.com for full coverage, scouting reports and video, and follow associate reporter @CaitlinSwieca on Twitter for details about the Brewers’ selections while I cover the Brewers in Pittsburgh.

Teams have until July 18 to sign their selections.

*

Follow me on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy

 

 

 

Brewers make lefty Medeiros their first-round pick

The Brewers added to their growing stable of pitching prospects by selecting prep left-hander Kodi Medeiros with the 12th overall pick in the First-Year Player Draft on Thursday.

Medeiros, who hails from Hawaii and reportedly dazzled Brewers scouts in a workout at Miller Park last week, was Milwaukee’s highest draft pick since the team took right-hander Taylor Jungmann at No. 12 in 2011. It marks the second straight season that the Brewers used their top pick on a high school arm.

“It’s just a dream come true,” Medeiros said at MLB Network’s studios, where he attended the Draft in person. “All the hard work and sacrifices and all the help from my family and my brother and everyone else who helped me along the way. It just paid off.”

The hard work included a showcase at Miller Park one week earlier, where Medeiros touched 97 mph, according to MLB.com Draft guru Jonathan Mayo, and generally impressed Brewers amateur scouting director Bruce Seid and his staff.

He also met with Brewers officials in Arizona.

“It was really great to see other potential draft picks at Milwaukee,” Medeiros told the newspaper West Hawaii Today for a pre-Draft story. “One scout said I touched 97 mph. I’m happy about that. Miller Park is a pretty cool stadium to pitch in as well. In Arizona, I met with the scouting director, and he gave me a tour of the Spring Training complex for the minors and majors. It’s pretty incredible.”

According to that story, Medeiros measured 6-foot-2 and weighed 196 pounds, slightly higher than other sources list him. He throws from a low arm slot and has notable movement on his fastball.

“He cannot throw a fastball straight,” said MLB Network analyst Jon Hart. “Some people question start/relief. I don’t. I like this guy as a starter.”

In his senior season at Waiakea High School, Medeiros was 7-1 with a 0.97 ERA in 43 1/3 innings. He walked 15 batters and struck out 83. He is committed to Pepperdine University if he does not sign with the Brewers, but the slot value assigned the 12th overall is significant: $2,805,700.

Medeiros was the first of three Brewers selections on Day 1 of the Draft.

The Draft continues on Friday with Rounds 3-10. The MLB.com pregame show begins at 11:30 a.m. CT, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 3-10 beginning at 12 p.m. CT.

*

Follow me on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy

 

Ramirez says he’s ready to go

The potent Milwaukee lineup will get a boost on Wednesday, when third baseman Aramis Ramirez is expected to be activated from the disabled list.

Ramirez has been sidelined for three weeks with a strained left hamstring but says he feels ready to go following a two-day rehab stint with the Class A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers. Ramirez went 2-for-6 over two games and played four innings at third base on Sunday before he left the game after a rain delay.

Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke said the scouting report from his son, Wisconsin coach Lance Roenicke, was positive.

“He said he swing the bat really good yesterday,” Roenicke said. “The first day, his timing was a little off. Yesterday was good. The last ball he hit, he hit a bullet to first base, which tells you he’s really staying back on the ball, seeing the ball well. He said he moved around a lot, so [those are] good signs.”

Ramirez and Roenicke confirmed that he would be used as a designated hitter on Wednesday and the team would reevaluate after that. Ramirez went through pregame activities with the Brewers on Tuesday and said that playing DH would allow him to play nine full innings on his first day back.

“I don’t want to [come out of the game early], and that’s one of the reasons I went to rehab,” Ramirez said. “I didn’t want to play five innings and leave. With the DH I can play the whole game, and when I play the field, it’s going to be nine innings.”

Roenicke said he knew where he would slot Ramirez in the lineup but wouldn’t say where. Though Ramirez has not been in the starting lineup in any position other than third or fourth since joining the Brewers in 2012, he said he was open to moving elsewhere now that Jonathan Lucroy and Carlos Gomez have been productive in the third and fourth spots, respectively.

“I usually hit third and fourth in Chicago, and since I’ve been here I’ve hit fourth, but it doesn’t really matter,” Ramirez said. “The bottom line is winning games, and the first four guys in the lineup, ‘Siggy’ [Jean Segura], ‘Brauny,’ and ‘Luc’ and then Gomez, they’re doing a pretty good job, so there’s no reason for us to change the lineup.”

– Caitlin Swieca

 

Lucroy, Gomez up, Braun down in latest ASG update

Ryan Braun fell from third to sixth in the latest round of All-Star Game balloting results released by Major League Baseball on Tuesday, but some of his Brewers teammates made gains. Here’s the latest data:

2014 NATIONAL LEAGUE ALL-STAR BALLOTING UPDATE #2

Tuesday, June 3

First Basemen   Catchers
# Player Club Votes   # Player Club Votes
Adrian Gonzalez Dodgers 647,826   Yadier Molina Cardinals 1,210,579
Justin Morneau Rockies 525,614   Buster Posey Giants 766,356
Freddie Freeman Braves 511,177   Jonathan Lucroy Brewers 522,310
Paul Goldschmidt D-backs 490,659   Evan Gattis Braves 388,548
Brandon Belt Giants 421,900   Devin Mesoraco Reds 258,528
                 
Second Basemen   Outfielders
# Player Club Votes   # Player Club Votes
Chase Utley Phillies 974,196   Yasiel Puig Dodgers 935,276
Dee Gordon Dodgers 530,289   Charlie Blackmon Rockies 883,186
Neil Walker Pirates 365,050   Giancarlo Stanton Marlins 863,307
Brandon Phillips Reds 304,541   Andrew McCutchen Pirates 823,862
Daniel Murphy Mets 298,611   Carlos Gomez Brewers 819,385
          Ryan Braun Brewers 750,672
Third Basemen   Justin Upton Braves 556,305
# Player Club Votes   Angel Pagan Giants 536,006
Nolan Arenado Rockies 590,745   Mike Morse Giants 501,711
David Wright Mets 565,982   Hunter Pence Giants 463,266
Aramis Ramirez Brewers 472,321   Matt Holliday Cardinals 406,720
Pablo Sandoval Giants 463,050   Michael Cuddyer Rockies 357,277
Juan Uribe Dodgers 436,776   Carlos Gonzalez Rockies 332,600
          Khris Davis Brewers 329,744
Shortstops   Bryce Harper Nationals 314,860
# Player Club Votes          
Troy Tulowitzki Rockies 1,419,718  
Brandon Crawford Giants 446,937    
Jean Segura Brewers 403,259  
Hanley Ramirez Dodgers 366,355  
Jhonny Peralta Cardinals 347,854  
       

*

Follow me on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy

 

Molitor: ‘Humbling thing’ to see retired number

paul-molitorIt’s been 15 years since the Brewers retired Paul Molitor’s No. 4, but he still gets goosebumps seeing his name and number hanging from the rafters.

Molitor returned Monday with the Minnesota Twins, for whom he’s in the first season of a second stint as a coach. It was his first working visit to Miller Park since he served as Mariners hitting coach in 2004.

“It’s always going to rekindle a very positive chapter of my life, living here basically full-time for 15 years,” Molitor said. “A lot of really good friendships and a lot of really good memories. Obviously there’s been major changes, from ownership to personnel — other than ‘Ueck.’ He’s the mainstay.”

Bob Uecker was already a fixture on the Brewers Radio Network when the Brewers made Molitor the third pick in the 1977 Draft. He was in the big leagues the following year because of an injury to Robin Yount, and went on to play the first 15 of his 21 Major League seasons in a Brewers uniform. When Molitor was inducted to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2004, he was the second player (after Yount) to enter wearing a Brewers cap.

Molitor’s early returns to Milwaukee, first with the Blue Jays and then the Twins, were somewhat acrimonious because of circumstances surrounding his free agent departure in 1992. But he has been embraced in the city since his number retirement ceremony in June 1999, appearing from time to time at Brewers events.

Today, Molitor’s name and No. 4 hang high above right field at Miller Park, next to Uecker and Yount. Similar odes to Hank Aaron, Rollie Fingers and Jackie Robinson are in left field.

“It still kind of sends goosebumps down your spine to have the organization recognize you in that fashion with the other elite players who have the privilege of being up there,” Molitor said. “You watch Brewers highlights and when someone hits a majestic home run, they usually catch the names in the background.

“Last year, one of our young players, Pedro Florimon, going out on the field here for the first time, he looked up there and asked one of the coaches, ‘Molitor? Paul Molitor? He played?’ So it gives you an idea of the generation to generation and how things change. It’s a good humbling thing. Certainly it’s an honor to be up there.”

*

Follow me on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 81 other followers