Archive for the ‘ Dailies ’ Category

Teammates react to Greinke news

They would not criticize Zack Greinke for being injured on the basketball court and not the baseball field, but Brewers teammates could not hide their disappointment Wednesday that the team’s prized offseason pick-up will begin the year on the disabled list. 
Greinke revealed Tuesday that he cracked a rib playing basketball last month, and club officials expect him to miss at least a start or two in April.
“It’s tough. It is,” said Yovani Gallardo, suddenly the clear favorite for Opening Day. “It’s very harmful, because you want to have a pitcher like that out there every start. But we have a lot of guys here with great talent. We’re going to go out there and work harder until he comes back and joins us.
“It’s a little disappointing for all of us,” Gallardo said, “but I think we all do things that [carry] risk.”
Gallardo was not the only teammate who argued that players can just as easily get hurt playing baseball as playing with their kids, or, as fellow starter Shaun Marcum said, letting loose a sneeze. 
“We’re not going to allow this to deter us from what we want to accomplish,” said left fielder Ryan Braun. “Obviously, we’re disappointed. We would have liked to have him healthy for the whole season. But there’s nothing we can do about it now. We can’t go back and change anything. 
“Our focus moving forward is finding somebody else to step up and seize the opportunity that is being presented. This isn’t going to deter us from anything.”
The first opportunity should now go to Gallardo, who was already a candidate with Greinke to start Opening Day against the Reds. Gallardo said Wednesday morning that he had not been given any indication of where he would pitch in a rotation that also includes Shaun Marcum, Randy Wolf and Chris Narveson. 
Gallardo started last year’s season-opener for the Brewers. 
“There’s no doubt we already had a No. 1,” Braun said. 
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Greinke to miss opener with fractured rib

The Brewers’ remade starting rotation will not begin the season intact. Zack Greinke cracked a rib playing basketball during the first week of Spring Training and will begin the regular season on the disabled list, club officials said Tuesday. 
Greinke, Milwaukee’s biggest offseason addition and potential Opening Day starter, made two Cactus League starts with sore ribs before undergoing an MRI scan on Monday that revealed a hairline fracture of his seventh rib and a bone bruise on his eighth rib. 
The normal recovery time is four to six weeks from the time of injury, Brewers head physician William Raasch said, meaning Greinke is already about two weeks into the healing process. But he will need time to re-build arm strength, so his rehab will almost certainly extend into April.
The Brewers can get by with four starters for all but three dates in April, according to general manager Doug Melvin.  
Greinke was hurt when he fell after going up for a rebound. 
“I’ve been doing this for a couple years now, and people are always saying, ‘You’re going to get hurt,’” he said. “It finally caught up to me.
“I was hoping it was just bruised, but I guess it’s worse than that. So I guess I have to stop playing [basketball] now. I had a lot of fun while I was doing it, but it wasn’t worth it.” 
The Brewers sent four young players to the Royals for Greinke and shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt in mid-December as part of a starting rotation makeover that sparked a run on season tickets and has many of the team’s core players talking about making a run in the National League Central.
Now the start to his Milwaukee tenure will be delayed, if only slightly. 
“We’re not talking about this gross deformed fracture,” Raasch said. “We’re talking about something very subtle that we can barely see, and we found it on the MRI. We’re not that concerned about it, except the fact that it’s bad timing. He’s got a sore rib because he fell on it, and unfortunately you stress your ribs when you throw baseballs hard. …
“You have to understand that as it’s healing, we’re going to progress him and allow him to do more and more things. The ideal situation is that after a week or two [from Tuesday] he’ll feel real good, hopefully, and we’ll start the throwing program in two weeks and build him up.” 
The injury is so subtle, Raasch said, that x-rays did not reveal the fracture.
“Let’s put it this way: If this was the playoffs, he’d just be throwing with it. … He wants to progress, and our job is to sacrifice a few games now so he can pitch into the postseason.”
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Roenicke close to setting starting rotation

Now that Zack Greinke and Yovani Gallardo each have two spring starts in the books, Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said Tuesday morning that he was close to naming his Opening Day pitching rotation. 
“We need to do it soon,” Roenicke told reporters, about 90 minutes before he was to sit with general manager Doug Melvin to discuss the plan. “We need to make decisions.”
Roenicke expected to make the plan public by Wednesday. The Brewers’ season-opener is March 31 in Cincinnati.
It’s a “tricky” call for the Brewers’ rookie manager, Greinke said last week, because the team has three pitchers who started 2010 Opening Day. Greinke handled that honor for the Royals, Gallardo for the Brewers and Shaun Marcum for the Blue Jays. 
That trio of right-handers is set for the Opening Day rotation along with two lefties, Randy Wolf and Chris Narveson.
Roenicke has spoken individually to all three pitchers and said he was considering a number of factors, including the pitchers’ own opinions.
“We’re very fortunate to have three guys who can start Opening Day,” Roenicke said. “I don’t think too many organizations have that. … The question here, coming into it, was Yovani has been here for a while and he’s a No. 1. Do you go with him because he’s been here and you owe it to him? 
“Then, also, talking to the guys, I wanted to know what they were thinking. … Their response to me makes a big difference on where I want to put them, because some guys are like, ‘I don’t care. You put me where you want to put me.’ Other guys are, ‘Hey, I’m expecting to be your No. 1 guy.’ Sometimes you play to that personality.
“It’s just like anything else, you put these guys in a position where you think they’re going to succeed best. If I think Yovani is going to succeed best at No. 2 or No. 3, then that’s where I want to put him. Marcum, he’s a bulldog, probably wants to be that No. 1 guy. Personalities have a lot to do with where we end up slotting guys.”
Matchups also play a role. The Brewers play the Reds on March 31 and April 2-3, then return home for an April 4 home opener against the Braves that begins a four-game series and a seven-game homestand. 
“Obviously, you want to win that first game, you want to start your season off [well],” Roenicke said. “But you also want to do the things that set you up for the next days, too.”
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Hart views birthday as big date in recovery

Brewers right fielder Corey Hart turns 29 on March 24, and views it as an important date on his way back from a rib-cage strain by the team’s March 31 season-opener in Cincinnati. 
“I told my wife, if I can get on the field by then, I’ll be on the field Opening Day,” a frustrated Hart said Tuesday. “If not, I’ll be worried. I never imagined it would take this long.”
Hart felt a muscle along his left side “grab” on Feb. 26 during an outfield drill. He tried taking fly balls on Saturday but felt it again, and has been limited to training room treatment in the days since. 
He was to be examined by a team doctor again on Tuesday. 
“It’s just not getting better,” he said. “Every time I try to do something, it feels like I get stabbed.”
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Hart set back in rib-cage recovery

Brewers All-Star right fielder Corey Hart had a minor setback during outfield drills Saturday and said he expects to miss the original two-week projection for his recovery from a strained rib-cage muscle. 
One week after he strained a muscle along his left side during a throwing exercise, Hart took fly balls at Maryvale Baseball Park on Saturday. When he made a quick turn and felt the muscle grab, he ended the session. 
“I was hoping it would feel better than it did,” Hart said. “It’s not getting worse, but it’s obviously not going as fast as I would like it to go.” 
Hart was hoping to be ready to resume hitting by this weekend, but instead will report back to the training room on Monday morning to, as he said, “start over.” 
The Brewers originally estimated that Hart would miss about two weeks of games, putting him on track to begin Cactus League play by about March 14. That would have given him plenty of time to be ready for the team’s March 31 season-opener in Cincinnati. 
Now, Hart is bracing to be out longer. 
“Two weeks would have been nice,” he said. “But I think we definitely might be a little longer. I don’t know any timetable. Those things can last two weeks or a month.” 
The Brewers will be cautious, manager Ron Roenicke said. 
“It will be a day-to-day thing to see how much we can push him,” he said. “I still think he’s going to be ready for Opening Day. Even if it’s a week playing [Cactus League] games, I think he’ll be fine.” 
If Hart misses any regular-season time, the Brewers would cover with a combination of Mark Kotsay and other back-ups. Candidates for the remaining outfield opening include 40-man roster members Chris Dickerson and Brandon Boggs and nonroster invitee Jeremy Reed.  
Infielder Mat Gamel is also sidelined by a rib-cage strain, but took 25 dry swings on Sunday without incident, according to Roenicke. Gamel will take part in soft toss before advancing to regular batting practice. 
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Brewers sixth starter? Not sure

The Brewers happily traded back-end depth for front-line talent in their starting rotation, but it led to a “what if” that stumped manager Ron Roenicke on Saturday.

With left-hander Manny Parra out indefinitely with a bad back and right-hander Mark Rogers moving along slowly after some early-spring shoulder stiffness, what if one of a member of the five man starting rotation goes down before Opening Day? Who would step in as the so-called sixth starter?

“Do you want me to look at the list?” Roenicke asked, reaching for a roster.

“[Tim] Dillard is there,” Roenicke said, referring to the right-hander and longtime Brewers farmhand who a year ago radically altered his style to a sidearm sling. “[Wily] Peralta is a possibility, even though he’s young. [Amaury] Rivas is a possibility.”

Peralta is a top Brewers pitching prospect, but he is also 21 years old and has made all of eight starts above A-ball. Rivas was the team’s Minor League pitcher of the year in 2009, but would have to make a big leap after spending last season at Double-A Huntsville.

Reliever Kameron Loe could be an emergency option, considering he made 47 starts for the Rangers from 2004-07. But Roenicke indicated he leave Loe in the bullpen.

“When he was with Texas, they tried to tinker with what to do with him, starting or relieving. He never found his niche, and I think he’s found it” in relief, Roenicke said. “I wouldn’t want to mess with that.”

The Brewers’ relatively thin starting ranks are a change from last season, when they entered Spring Training with four established pitchers vying for two rotation spots behind Yovani Gallardo, Randy Wolf and Doug Davis.

In the end, that depth did not translate to success, and the Brewers ranked next-to-last in the National League in starters’ ERA. General manager Doug Melvin spent the winter focused on adding front-line pitching, trading for Shaun Marcum of the Blue Jays and Zack Greinke of the Royals to go with Gallardo, Wolf and Chris Narveson.

“I’ll take our five starters, and we’ll work out the others,” Roenicke said.

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Parra to be evaluated Friday

Manny Parra exited after throwing only one pitch to his second A’s batter on Thursday because of mid-back tightness, the same ailment that delayed the left-handers Cactus League debut in the first place, and hopes to know more about why he can’t shake the problem when he’s examined again on Friday.
Parra said he’s often plagued by a stiff back at this time of year and said he considered it, “normal,” though normally the problem would have subsided by now. He struck out Oakland shortstop Eric Sogard, threw one pitch to Coco Crisp and then was visited on the mound by assistant athletic trainer Dan Wright and left the game. 
“We’re going to come [Friday] and see where we’re at,” Parra said. “The ball was coming out good, but I couldn’t really rotate all the way. It will be fine.” 
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Lucroy cleared to resume catching

The Brewers just announced some good news for catcher Jonathan Lucroy. He went back to Dr. Don Sheridan this morning and underwent x-rays on his fractured right pinkie finger that showed the injury was healing as expected. Lucroy was fitted for a splint, and cleared to resume catching bullpens and doing light throwing. 

He will be evaluated again in a week, but today’s news no doubt came as good news for the Brewers’ No. 1 catcher, who was growing tired of inactivity. He fractured his finger on Feb. 23 in a fielding drill and is expected to need about a month to recover.
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Minor leaguer Dedrick suspended

The Commissioner’s Office just announced that Brewers Minor League third baseman Wayne Dedrick was suspended 50 games after a second violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program for a drug of abuse.

Dedrick was a 30th round pick of the Brewers in the 2008 Draft who batted .227 in 46 games at rookie-level Arizona in 2009 but did not play in 2010 because of a torn meniscus in his left knee. Dedrick’s suspension is effective at the start of the 2011 Arizona League season.
He was punished under the same set of rules that applied to former Brewers pitching prospect Jeremy Jeffress, who was twice suspended for positive tests for drugs of abuse during his time in the Brewers’ farm system. Under the rules, a player is not suspended for his first positive test but gets 50 games for a second, 100 games for a third and a lifetime ban for a third positive. 
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Parra exits with back tightness

Brewers left-hander Manny Parra, slowed early in camp by mid-back tightness, exited his Cactus League debut on Thursday after only one batter because of the same problem. He struck out A’s shortstop Eric Sogard, threw one pitch to Coco Crisp and then left the game with assistant athletic trainer Dan Wright. 

The Brewers say Parra will be re-evaluated on Friday morning.
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