Archive for the ‘ Dailies ’ Category

Gomez out with stiff back

Center fielder Carlos Gomez is the latest Brewers regular to show up on the injury report. He was supposed to start Monday’s game against the Giants, but complained of a stiff back so Brandon Boggs is playing instead. 

It’s a minor setback, but those have been piling up for the Brewers. Of the nine projected Opening Day starters, seven have lost at least a handful of Cactus League innings to a medical issue. Pitcher Zack Greinke (cracked rib), catcher Jonathan Lucroy (fractured finger) and right fielder Corey Hart (rib-cage strain) have not played at all because of more serious injuries, and second baseman Rickie Weeks (groin), shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt (right quadriceps), left fielder Ryan Braun (rib-cage strain) and now Gomez have come out of a game early or missed a start as a precaution. Plus, closer John Axford got a late start because of food poisoning.
First baseman Prince Fielder and third baseman Casey McGehee have been able to stay on their schedules. 
Perspective is in order, because none of the setbacks in Brewers camp have threatened a player’s season. Betancourt left Sunday’s game early, but he could be back in action as early as Tuesday. Braun returned to the lineup Monday after exiting Saturday with his rib strain. Weeks’ groin issue seems to have passed. Hart is making significant progress in recent days and was to begin swinging a bat on Monday. Lucroy will have the pin in his finger removed next week and is on track for Opening Day. 
Maybe the Brewers are just getting their injuries out of the way early. Better now than during the regular season. 
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Gindl feeling better after scary moment

It appears that there is good news on Minor League left fielder Caleb Gindl, who sprained his right knee in a scary moment along the foul line Sunday.
Gindl was chasing what should have been Alcides Escobar’s second-inning double when he turned an ankle and tried to grab the top of the chain-link fence that separates the playing field from the visitor’s bullpen. Gindl happened to grab an unlocked gate and went right through it, twisting his knee. Gindl stayed down while Escobar circled the bases for an inside-the-park home run. Center fielder Carlos Gomez rushed over and signaled to the Brewers’ dugout for help.
Gindl was able to stand, and walked into the Royals bullpen to be examined. The Brewers said he would be evaluated Monday.
“Nothing too serious,” Gindl said after the Brewers’ wrapped-up a 7-5 win. “I feel a lot better now than I did down there, because down there the pain was pretty severe. I was really worried. Once I came inside and we got some ice on it, it was much better.”
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Brewers make six roster cuts

The Brewers moved six players off the big league camp roster, including one potential fifth starter candidate, in the first round of cuts Sunday. 
That fifth starter candidate is right-hander Amaury Rivas, who was optioned to Triple-A Nashville. He was one of the players mentioned as a potential fill-in for Zack Greinke, who will miss the start of the season with a cracked rib. 
The Brewers also optioned pitchers Dan Merklinger and Cody Scarpetta to Double-A Huntsville and returned pitchers Robert Hinton and Roque Mercedes and catcher Anderson De La Rosa to Minor League camp. 
The first Minor League full-squad workout was Sunday, but all six players were given until Tuesday to report. 
With the moves, 47 players remained in big league camp.
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Saito honors missing friend

Brewers reliever Takashi Saito surrendered two runs against the Royals on Sunday in his first inning of work since disaster struck his homeland. But baseball was still a distant second to Saito’s concern for family and friends in the area of Japan most devastated by last week’s earthquake and tsunami. 
Before he pitched the first inning, Saito requested that fans at Maryvale Baseball Park observe a moment of silence to honor a former high school teammate who remains unaccounted for in Sendai, a city on Japan’s northeast coast devastated by the 8.9 magnitude quake and the wall of water that followed. 
“It’s just not one or two people,” Saito said. “It’s a lot of people.” 
Saito’s wife and three daughters are safe, and are tentatively scheduled to join him in Phoenix on Saturday. His parents and two older brothers are all accounted for, but some relatives on his father’s side were still missing as of Sunday afternoon. 
“I still haven’t given up hope,” Saito said. 
On Saturday, he played catch but his mind was elsewhere. The Brewers gave Saito the option to pitch Sunday or stay home and seek information from Japan. Saito, urged by his older brothers back home to stay and pitch, decided to pitch. 
“I had received more information since yesterday,” he said. “Mentally, I was in a better place. … All of my teammates and Brewers staff have been very supportive of me, which made it a lot easier. From now on, I want to get into my regular routine of not pitching the first inning and going home early.” 
As for how he pitched, Saito said, “The quality of my pitches was good. It was hard to get into a good rhythm. I still need to establish more communication with my teammates to determine how to pitch my next time out.” 
Saito served as the Brewers’ starter and retired Lorenzo Cain to start the game, but Mike Aviles followed with an infield single to third baseman Casey McGehee, who took too long throwing to first. Billy Butler followed with an RBI double, and three batters after that Melky Cabrera delivered another double that made it 2-0. Saito allowed four hits in all. 
After Saito retired Salvador Perez to end the top of the first, he walked along the right field line toward the Brewers clubhouse. He passed the bullpen along the way, where fellow relievers stood and, one-by-one, offered fist-bumps. 
“We wish his family and friends and his country the best,” Brewers closer John Axford said. “It’s tough for all of us because he’s such an uplifting guy, always happy, always in the clubhouse talking with guys. To see him this way, it hurts for us, too.” 
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Betancourt, Gindl latest to exit early

Sunday brought another round of injury worries at Maryvale Baseball Park. The latest to exit early were shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt, who complained of right quadriceps tightness after playing only one inning, and Minor League left fielder Caleb Gindl, who sprained his right knee in a scary moment along the foul line. 
Gindl was chasing Alcides Escobar’s double when he slid hard into the chain-link fence that separates the playing field from the visitor’s bullpen. He stayed down while Escobar circled the bases for an inside the park home run, and center fielder Carlos Gomez rushed over and signaled the Brewers’ dugout to send help. 
Gindl was able to stand, and walked into the Royals bullpen to be examined. Jeremy Reed took over in left field. 
Escobar was the second batter of the second inning, and by that time Edwin Maysonet had already replaced Betancourt at shortstop. Betancourt, the Brewers’ projected Opening Day Starter, singled in the bottom of the first, but Casey McGehee was thrown out at home plate to end the inning. 
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Moment of silence at Maryvale

Takashi Saito and the Brewers requested a moment of silence from the fans at Maryvale Baseball Park a few minutes before Saito threw the first pitch of what must be a very difficult outing. He has been occupied over the past three days by concern for family and friends in Japan, where and earthquake and tsunami struck Saito’s hometown on Friday. 

Saito is scheduled to throw one inning today. We’re hoping to speak with him afterward, and I will pass along his comments.
Here is my story from Saturday about Saito and his difficult situation. 
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Medical round-up: Lucroy, Hart, Gamel, Hawkins

Some medical updates from Brewers camp:
— Ron Roenicke confirmed that catcher Jonathan Lucroy could be ready for Opening Day if all goes according to plan in his recovery from a fractured right pinkie finger. A metal pin in Lucroy’s finger will come out on March 21, and Lucroy can begin hitting after that as the pain tolerates. 
“He threw to bases [on Saturday] without the splint on, and was good,” Roenicke said. “So really it’s just going to be a matter of gripping a bat, trying to get the flexibility back in his finger. That’s going to take a while. But everything else is good. He’s catching bullpens so his legs will be in shape.”
— Right fielder Corey Hart has been making significant progress in the past few days in his recovery from a left rib-cage strain, Roenicke said. Hart played catch, took grounders in the outfield and did core strengthening exercises on Saturday without issue.
“They’re going to try to step it up a little bit and put more on him, and see where he is,” Roenicke said. “He’s coming along pretty good. … In a couple of days, they’re hoping he can swing.”
— Third baseman/utility man/hitting prospect Mat Gamel was scheduled to take live batting practice for the first time on Sunday in Minor League camp. If it goes well, he could do it again Monday before slotting into Cactus League games. 
Gamel still has a chance to make the team, Roenicke said. But the fact he bats left-handed probably hurts his case — the Brewers already have Mark Kotsay, Craig Counsell and probably Chris Dickerson slated for bench duty — and it will be more difficult at this stage of spring for Gamel to demonstrate his defensive versatility because the regulars are playing deeper into games. 
“I know he can hit,” Roenicke said. “It’s just a matter of how he fits on our club.”
— A trio of relievers are making good progress. 
Reliever LaTroy Hawkins was “feeling great today” about his live patting practice on Saturday, Roenicke said, and will probably throw some simulated innings this week before debuting in a game. He’s coming back steadily from shoulder surgery.
Left-hander Mitch Stetter, who strained a muscle behind his shoulder early in camp, is scheduled to pitch Monday against the Giants after throwing a successful live batting practice session Friday.   
Another left-hander Manny Parra, was very close to getting back on the mound, Roenicke said. 
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Saito will start

The Brewers just announced via Twitter that Takashi Saito will start today’s game against the Royals, bumping Wily Peralta to relief. Saito has spent most of the past three days at his spring residence, trying to get information about family members in an area of northeast Japan particularly devastated by the earthquake and tsunami there. 

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Braun feeling better than ever

The morning after he exited a Spring Training game with a rib-cage strain and sent word through a club spokesperson that he was “fine,” Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun said it himself. 
Actually, he’s not just fine. He’s feeling better than ever. 
“It’s nothing at all,” Braun said. “I could have played [Saturday] but there’s no sense in it. Honestly, I feel better than I’ve ever felt in my life, so I don’t really need at-bats right now. There’s no doubt in my mind I’m better than I’ve ever been at baseball, so nothing positive comes from the rest of these Spring Training games. I don’t need at-bats. I feel great. So there’s no reason to take a chance right now.”
Braun tweaked his ribcage when he ran into the outfield wall during fungo drills on Saturday. He impacted the padded wall with his right side and felt some discomfort on his left, and departed the team’s afternoon game against the D-backs as a precaution. 
The club called it an intercostals strain, referring to the small muscles between the ribs. Braun was previously scheduled to have Sunday’s game off, and said he expected to return to the lineup on Monday against the Giants. Tuesday at the latest, he said.
Braun understands why his early departure on Saturday sparked some panic. The Brewers have already  been bitten by injuries to starter Zack Greinke (ribs), right fielder Corey Hart (ribs), catcher Jonathan Lucroy (finger) and reliever Manny Parra (back), and Greinke will be on the disabled list for Opening Day.
“I get it,” he said. “But I promise you, I’m fine.”
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Saito could pitch Sunday

If he feels comfortable about the status of family members in Japan, Brewers reliever Takashi Saito will start Sunday’s game against the Royals, manager Ron Roenicke said.

Saito played catch and did his running at Maryvale Baseball Park on Saturday morning, then returned to his Spring Training home to continue working the phones. He’s had a very difficult time getting information about his parents, brothers and other extended family members in Sendai, a city ravaged by Friday’s earthquake and the tsunami that followed. Saito is focused on getting his family out of Sendai and to safety. 
His wife and three daughters avoided the worst of the disaster because they are south of Tokyo in Yokohama.
“He wants to get his parents and his brothers in a safe area, and once he does that, mentally, he’s going to feel better about coming back to the baseball part of it,” Roenicke said. “If everything goes right today, that he hears everybody is OK, he’s planning to pitch an inning [on Sunday].
“If there are still things he’s uncomfortable with and he’s not sure what’s going on, he probably won’t pitch. He’ll come in and work out again.”
Roenicke and Brewers GM Doug Melvin told Saito he’s free to leave the team and travel to Japan if necessary. If he opts to pitch Sunday, the Brewers told him to arrive at noon local time, pitch at 1 p.m. and then head back home to work the phone.
“He doesn’t need to be at the ballpark right now,” Roenicke said. “He needs to take care of his family, make sure he’s OK upstairs. He’s getting 2-3 hours a sleep a night, and that’s not good. We want to take care of him first, and his family. We’ll make sure he stays in shape enough, but he needs to take care of his family.”
If Saito does not pitch Sunday, right-hander Wily Peralta will start against the Royals. 
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