Archive for the ‘ Dailies ’ Category

Brewers-Rangers rained out

A steady rain forced the Brewers to cancel Monday’s game against the Rangers at Maryvale Baseball Park and it will not be replayed. 
Fans holding a ticket to Monday’s game can use it for another Brewers Spring Training home game in 2011, 2012 or 2013. The Brewers are home again on Tuesday against the Padres. 
Both teams made other arrangements for their scheduled starting pitchers, with Milwaukee’s Yovani Gallardo throwing seven innings in a Monday morning Triple-A game and Texas’ C.J. Wilson working on a covered mound at Surprise Stadium. 
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Gallardo gets his work in

Reds Minor Leaguers got a heavy dose of the Brewers’ Major League pitching staff on Monday, when a lousy weather forecast prompted the Brewers to juggle their pitching plans. 
Yovani Gallardo threw 92 pitches in seven innings of a Triple-A game against Cincinnati to stay on schedule for his Opening Day assignment. In the Double-A game on an adjacent field, relievers LaTroy Hawkins, Takashi Saito, Brandon Kintzler and Sean Green all got in some work ahead of the rain. 
“It’s definitely a little different,” said Gallardo, who pitched on a side field at Maryvale Baseball Park in front of a few dozen fans. “But you still have the same things you want to work on. Getting to the pitch count is the important thing, too.”
Gallardo was particularly working on his change-up against Cincinnati’s Triple-A club, a pitch he’s tried to hone in recent seasons. He allowed four earned runs and six hits in seven innings, with two walks and seven strikeouts. 
He also executed a perfect sacrifice bunt, nearly hit a home run to left field and singled and scored from second base on a hit. As Triple-A manager Don Money waved Gallardo home, the half-dozen Brewers officials behind the screen stiffened. 
“I was not going to slide, I’ll be honest,” Gallardo said. “It was kind of surprising he sent me from second there.”
Gallardo scored on the play, then went immediately back to the mound because the Reds pitcher had hit his pitch limits. A Reds two-run rally began with a soft ground-ball single up the middle and included a bloop hit that went over shortstop Zelous Wheeler’s head. 
Still, Gallardo deemed the outing a success.
“Coming into spring I said I was going to throw more change-ups, and we tried to work on that,” he said. “I threw a lot here today. I feel a lot more comfortable with it now. I’m trusting it more. It’s going good.”
Gallardo has one more spring start before his March 31 season-opener in Cincinnati. 
“The last start of the spring, you treat it almost as if it were the regular season,” he said. 
Hawkins was very sharp in his Double-A “start,” allowing one hit and no runs in a 16-pitch inning. Saito followed and allowed two runs on three hits including a two-run double that bounced over third base. He struck out one batter and threw 18 pitches.
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Shoulder tightness for Marcum

Right-hander Shaun Marcum exited his outstanding start against the White Sox on Thursday with a tight shoulder, an issue that would be considered minor if so many of his teammates were not dealing with their own medical matters. 

“It’s frustrating. We’ve got two weeks left [until Opening Day] and it seems like everybody is going down,” he said. “I want to be one of the guys who stays healthy and is able to play when it’s my time. 
“Then again, it is Spring Training. I’d rather miss two weeks of Spring Training than two months of the season. That’s the way I’m looking at it right now.”
He’s actually hoping to miss a day or two before resuming his routine, but those decisions will be made by the team’s athletic training staff. Marcum is scheduled to be the Brewers’ No. 2 starter, working April 2 against the Reds. 
Marcum has been dealing with shoulder tightness all spring, but offered this bit of perspective about his early exit: 
“If it’s regular season, especially August, September, I’m pitching through it and not saying a word,” he said. 
It has been a tough first four weeks of Spring Training for Milwaukee’s medical staff, which has treated possible Opening Day starter Zack Greinke for a cracked rib, catcher Jonathan Lucroy for a fractured finger, center fielder Carlos Gomez and reliever Manny Parra for stiff backs, right fielder Corey Hart and left fielder Ryan Braun for rib-cage strains, second baseman Rickie Weeks for a tight groin, shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt for a sore quadriceps, plus nursed closer John Axford back from food poisoning.
That’s not the full injury report, only the list of players who are or were expected to make the Opening Day roster. All have either exited a Cactus League game early or missed a game entirely. 
Marcum hopes his hiatus is brief, but manager Ron Roenicke is concerned, to say the least. 
“There’s definitely concern there,” Roenicke said. “Geez, we’re in a tough spot if he’s down for a while.”
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Setback for Parra

Brewers reliever Manny Parra had a setback with his balky back earlier this week and it appears he will miss the start of the regular season. 
Parra received a cortisone injection after feeling discomfort in a bullpen session on Tuesday and will need to re-start a throwing program when he resumes activity, on Saturday at the earliest. That would leave only 12 days to prepare for the team’s March 31 Opening Day in Cincinnati.
“Just looking at the calendar, I don’t know if Manny is going to be ready for the season,” manager Ron Roenicke said. “We’re running out of time.” 
Parra has faced only one batter plus one pitch to a second this spring because of tightness in his middle of his back. It’s a common spring problem for the 28-year-old that usually subsides. This year, it did not.
He didn’t want to make a guess about his availability for Opening Day. 
“I don’t even ask those questions,” Parra said. “All I know is that I go out and throw and everything feels so good, except for my back. There have been a lot of positives this spring for me, but nobody can see them because I’m out there on the back field and I can’t get back into the games.” 
The Brewers had Parra penciled-in as their long reliever, and his setback coupled with Zach Braddock’s Spring Training funk has created an opening for another left-hander, Mitch Stetter, a side-arming specialist who pitched 71 games for the Brewers in 2009 but was relegated to Triple-A Nashville for most of 2010. 
Stetter was scheduled to appear in Thursday’s game against the White Sox, and Roenicke is intrigued by the reports he’s received from Brewers coaches and club officials. 
“They say he made really good left-handers look really bad,” Roenicke said.
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Gallardo looks ready; Braddock not so much

Yovani Gallardo put together another quality Spring Training start on Wednesday, holding the Mariners to one run on three hits in 4 2/3 innings before reaching his limit at 74 pitches. In four games, he’s held opponents to four runs in 13 1/3 innings. 

“My command was a little bit off today, but I made some pitches whenever I needed to,” he said. “They battled, fouled off a bunch of pitches and my pitch count got up there.
“I feel good. The spring is going very well, and the last couple of starts you try to put everything into it.”
He was in the middle of an exiting moment in the bottom of the third inning, when Mariners outfielder Milton Bradley was called out on strikes by plate umpire Mark Buchanan. Bradley had some words on his way back to the dugout and was ejected. 
Did he have a beef with Buchanan?
“From my side, it was a pretty good pitch,” Gallardo said. “Especially on 3-2, I had to make a good pitch and I was able to do that down and away. It was close. I think it was a strike.”
Gallardo is scheduled for three more starts before his Opening Day assignment on March 31.
He appears ready for the season, but it’s tough say the same for left-handed reliever Zach Braddock, who was such an important part of the Brewers’ bullpen in 2010. He worked the seventh inning, and surrendered a single to Franklin Gutierrez, hit Jack Wilson with a pitch and then served-up a three-run home run to Brendan Ryan that tied the game at 4. 
Two days earlier, Braddock walked a batter, hit another and surrendered a two-run homer to left-handed-hitting Giants first baseman Aubrey Huff. His velocity has been down this spring, and you wonder if Braddock, who has all of his Minor League options remaining, isn’t opening a door for somebody like lefty specialist Mitch Stetter. 
Here’s what manager Ron Roenicke had to say on that topic:
“If you know that, ‘Hey this is what we’ve told you to do,’ then fine, but I don’t think Rick [Kranitz, the pitching coach] has necessarily said that,” Roenicke said. “He’s working on some things, no doubt, but he still needs to pitch and get people out.”
Roenicke thought Braddock was better Wednesday after working in some sliders, a pitch former manager Ken Macha also encouraged Braddock to work on. Braddock’s next outing could span multiple innings so the club can get a better look, and it could come in a Minor League game.
On a brighter note, Roenicke was very pleased with Takashi Saito’s inning, and said the right-hander left after the game to pick up his wife and daughters from the airport. It must be a relief for Saito to have his immediate family safe and together considering the issues facing Japan.
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Schafer needs surgery

Brewers outfield prospect Logan Schafer will undergo surgery on Thursday for his fractured right thumb and will miss 4-6 weeks, the club just announced. The decision was made after Schafer visited with Dr. Don Sheridan, the same hand specialist who performed multiple surgeries on Milwaukee second baseman Rickie Weeks and earlier this spring repaired catcher Jonathan Lucroy’s fractured right pinkie finger. 

For more on Schafer, see my blog from earlier this morning and check out later today. 
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Rogers optioned, Gindl returned to Minors

The Brewers optioned right-hander Mark Rogers to Triple-A Nashville on Tuesday morning and returned outfielder Caleb Gindl to the Minor League complex, leaving 45 players in Major League camp. 

Rogers made his spring debut on Monday against the Giants and was expecting to vie for the spot vacated by Zack Greinke’s rib-cage injury. He still could fill that role, just not the first time it comes up on April 6. 
“We didn’t feel he could be ready in time,” assistant general manager Gord Ash said. “He needs to be ready the next time.”
That next time would be April 16.
For that first start, Roenicke again mentioned another pitching prospect, Wily Peralta, or nonroster pitchers Eulogio De La Cruz or Marco Estrada.
Gindl will miss the next 3-5 days with a strained upper right calf, an injury he suffered Sunday against the Royals.
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Schafer has fractured thumb

Caleb Gindl was home from having an MRI on his injured right knee when his Spring Training roommate called. It was 3:30 p.m. local time, and considering Logan Schafer was supposed to be playing in the Brewers-Giants game, Gindl knew it was bad news. 

Schafer fractured his right thumb sliding into second base in that game, and for the second straight year his Spring Training has ended early. Last year, he suffered a groin injury the day before he was to report to his first big league camp and never made it. 
Hand specialist Dr. Don Sheridan was to examine Schafer later Tuesday morning to determine how much time the player would miss. 
I was having so much fun out here playing with these guys,” Schafer said. “But I’m not feeling sorry for myself. This is obviously something I’ve been through before.”
The news was better for Gindl, who was hurt crashing into a chain-link fence at Maryvale Baseball Park on Sunday. He’ll miss 3-5 days but his right knee appears OK. I’ll chase down some details about his diagnosis and pass it along later today.
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Rogers begins fifth starter bid

Minus one booming Pablo Sandoval home run, top Brewers pitching prospect Mark Rogers felt pretty good about his Cactus League debut Monday. His manager is not sold quite yet. 
Rogers, whose debut was delayed by some early-spring stiffness in his right shoulder, worked the sixth inning against the Giants and surrendered two runs on three hits, including a long Sandoval homer to right-center field. 
“He got me pretty good,” Rogers said with a grin. 
“[Rogers] just didn’t look like he was comfortable,” Roenicke said. “He worked really slow, a little too methodical. I’m sure he’s a little cautious. He’s just kind of feeling his way through, which is OK. It’s his first outing. He’s kjust not sure how the arm is going to react, and I guess that’s natural.”
Rogers chalked it up as a positive step in his bid to replace the injured Zack Greinke in the Brewers’ April pitching rotation. 
“Once I got going and got into it, my arm felt fine,” said Rogers, who has had two shoulder surgeries in his career. “That’s the important thing right now. Obviously, I wish the results were better. But, you know what? It’s a step in the right direction.” 
If he stays on a regular schedule for the remaining two weeks of Spring Training, Rogers should be at 75 pitches by the time the Brewers break camp. The club needs a sixth starter on April 5 or 6, then twice more in April if Greinke remains sidelined with his cracked rib, and Rogers looks like a leading candidate. 
Fellow prospect Wily Peralta could also get a look, and manager Ron Roenicke on Monday mentioned non-roster pitchers Eulogio De La Cruz and Marco Estrada as options. 
 “I’m glad I’m healthy,” Rogers said. “I felt like I was just letting the ball go and not thinking about it when I was on the mound. That’s the positive I’ll take out of this.” 
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Dickerson, Schafer sent for x-rays

Outfielders Chris Dickerson and Logan Schafer were both sent for x-rays during the Brewers-Giants game in Scottsdale. Dickerson has a right rib-cage injury after a violent collision near third base in the fourth inning, and Schafer injured his right thumb sliding into second base in the fifth.

Dickerson was running from second to third base on Zelous Wheeler’s grounder when he slammed, full-speed, into Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval. Both players hit the ground in pain and were tended by athletic trainers. Dickerson walked off — out on runners’ interference — and Sandoval stayed in the game.

Jeremy Reed took over for Dickerson in right field and belted a long home run in the top of the fifth.  
Schafer was out the game by then with a thumb injury suffered when he tangled with a Giants infielder at second base. 
The Brewers are suddenly short of healthy outfielders in camp. Corey Hart is just beginning to swing a bat after suffering a rib-cage strain last month, Caleb Gindl said he was undergoing an MRI scan Monday after injuring his right knee the day before, and Carlos Gomez was held out of Monday’s starting lineup with tightness in his back. 
The only other outfielders in big league camp are Brandon Boggs, Ryan Braun and Reed. There’s also Mark Kotsay, though the official roster lists him as an infielder. 
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