Results tagged ‘ Braden Looper ’

Hart home sick

Couple of notes from Ken Macha’s daily chat with reporters:

- Right fielder Corey Hart was sent home sick for the second straight day. Macha provided some gory details, but let’s just say that Hart has some gastrointestinal issues. “He looked terrible,” Macha said.

- It sounds like Carlos Villanueva will fill-in for closer Trevor Hoffman to start the season, assuming Hoffman opens the year on the disabled list. Villanueva may have sealed the job with back-to-back quality outings Thursday and Friday.

- No. 5 starter Dave Bush will probably start the season in the bullpen and could pitch an inning on Opening Day as a final tune-up for his April 11 start against the Cubs. His last Spring Training outing is supposed to fall on April 6, but that’s an off-day for the Brewers and the date that players scatter from Maryvale Baseball Park for the start of Minor League seasons.

- No. 3 starter Manny Parra and No. 4 starter Braden Looper will both stay behind in Phoenix when the Brewers go to Los Angeles on Thursday for two exhibitions against the Dodgers. Parra’s day to pitch is the second of those two games, but Macha wants to use it to give the relievers work instead. Looper’s day is April 5, an off-day. Both will pitch in Minor League camp.

- Left fielder Ryan Braun and infielder Craig Counsell are playing a Minors game today. Counsell is to play four innings and get three at-bats to test his swollen knee. Braun will simply play the game to test his strained ribcage muscle.

Gameday: March 20 at Mariners

Rickie Weeks returns to the leadoff hole and Casey McGehee makes his first appearance at first base for the Brewers today, when the team travels to Peoria to face the Mariners. McGehee has played extensively this spring at third base and second base, but first is a first.

“If he shows he can play there,” manager Ken Macha said, “it’s another mark in his column.”

Here’s the lineup:

Rickie Weeks  2B
Craig Counsell  3B
J.J. Hardy  SS
Casey McGehee  1B
Mike Rivera  C
Brad Nelson  RF
Jason Bourgeois LF
Mat Gamel  DH

Seth McClung gets the start and is scheduled to be followed by lefties Mitch Stetter and Lindsay Gulin.

Couple of injury notes to pass along:

- Closer Trevor Hoffman is still getting treatment for an oblique injury, but he played catch on Thursday and “it’s very encouraging,” Macha said. Hoffman was to play catch again on Friday.

- Braden Looper, also sidelined by the dreaded oblique strain, is scheduled to throw 45 pitches in a Minor League scrimmage on Saturday morning. If he passes that test successfully, he should be slotted into an “A” game next week.

- Didn’t see Chris Duffy in the clubhouse this morning, and I am guessing that the medical staff told him to stay away. Duffy exited Thursday’s game complaining of stomach cramping, and if he’s sick the Brewers would want to prevent the illness from spreading through the clubhouse. 

Gameday: March 16 vs. Cubs

I’m back after a few days poolside and Mike Cameron is back to work, too, after missing a few days with a ribcage injury. The lineup against the Cubs:

Rickie Weeks  2B
Chris Duffy  LF
J.J. Hardy  SS
Prince Fielder  1B
Corey Hart  RF
Mike Cameron  CF
Bill Hall  3B
Jason Kendall  C
Dave Bush  RHP

Lindsay Gulin, Sam Narron and Chris Narveson are scheduled to pitch behind Bush today.

We’ll also get a look at right-hander Braden Looper, who is scheduled to work in Minor League camp at 1:15 p.m. CT. It will be his first live action since the team’s intrasquad game on Feb. 24. He was scratched from a Feb. 28 start because of his own ribcage injury.

We are also waiting for further word on left fielder Ryan Braun, who re-injured his — you guessed it — ribcage last night in a World Baseball Classic game. Manager Ken Macha indicated that Braun was returning to Phoenix for an examination, but I am still trying to confirm that with the Brewers’ front office.

Brewers PR man Mike Vassallo just passed along the official diagnosis for Braun. He has a strained right intercostal, is day to day and will remain with Team USA in Miami. 

Looper, Gamel among medical updates

Manager Ken Macha came armed with more medical updates on Monday:

- Braden Looper is scheduled to throw off the mound on Wednesday for the first time since he strained a muscle on his ribcage. The Brewers are not projecting beyond that, and there remains some question about Looper’s availability for the start of the season.

- Backup catcher Mike Rivera has been cleared to take batting practice. He strained his right hamstring during baserunning drills last week.

- Another catcher, Angel Salome, traveled with the team to Scottsdale on Monday and served as the bullpen catcher. If he passes that test, he should be cleared for batting practice on Tuesday.

- Mat Gamel threw for the third day in a row from 90 feet, a good sign that his strained right shoulder is feeling much better. The next step for Gamel is to be cleared to take infield.

- Outfielder Tony Gwynn Jr. is pain-free but the medical staff is “still trying to figure out” the next step, Macha said. Gwynn also has a shoulder injury and had a cortisone shot last week.

Riske to pitch; Gagne mulling surgery

Rapid-fire injury updates:

- Noted orthopedist Lewis Yocum examined reliever Eric Gagne on Saturday morning and concurred with Brewers head physician William Raasch: Gagne has labrum and rotator cuff damage, but should take a cortisone shot and attempt a course of rehab before succumbing to surgery. The decision is now up to Gagne.

Brewers general manager Doug Melvin was conferring with Gagne’s agent, Scott Boras, on Saturday afternoon about what comes next. It’s unclear whether Gagne, who is in camp on a Minor League contract and now probably won’t make the team, will remain at Maryvale Basebale Park or depart.

- Fellow reliever David Riske will pitch an inning in a Minor League game on Sunday at Maryvale Baseball Park, his first game action since right elbow surgery last September. Mangaer Ken Macha said the team preferred a controlled environment for Riske’s first outing; if he reaches his pitch count (20), they can simply call off the rest of the inning.

- Righty Braden Looper played long toss on Saturday morning and said he continues to feel improvement from a strained muscle at the back of his ribcage. He hopes to throw off a mound soon, but there is no set schedule to do so.

And on a completely different pre-game topic:

- The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Tom Haudricourt made the interesting observation during batting practice that all four of Milwaukee’s managerial candidates were standing within 10 feet of each other on Saturday. In addition to Ken Macha, who got the job, and Willie Randolph and Dale Sveum, who took jobs as Brewers coaches, Cubs broadcaster Bob Brenly was standing behind the cage watching BP. 

Looper, Gagne, Gwynn, Salome on injury report

Brewers skipper Ken Macha came armed with a note for his Thursday morning meeting with reporters because there were so many injuries to update. Among them:

- The team’s medical staff is encouraged by Braden Looper’s recovery from a tight oblique muscle, and he might be kept off the mound for seven days instead of 10-14. Macha also noted that Looper has been able to participate in plyometric throwing exercises since he tweaked the muscle, meaning he will not have to start from scratch when he gets back on the mound. Perhaps he’ll be in the rotation on Opening Day, after all.

“It’s going to be small steps every day and there won’t be any giants jumps forward,” Macha said.

- Reliever Eric Gagne was sent out for an MRI exam Thursday on his sore right shoulder. Gagne’s Minor League contract includes a March 26 out date on which he can elect free agency if he’s not placed on the roster, and Macha conceded that it will be tough to evaluate Gagne in that tight timeframe.

When a reporter commented that his injury will make it difficult for Gagne to make the team, Macha responded, “That’s an excellent observation. … Talking to Eric, he wants to play. How they figure this all out, they will start to develop a path once they read the MRI and see what’s going on.”

- Outfielder Tony Gwynn Jr., who had an MRI scan on Monday, received a cortisone shot Thursday morning for his right shoulder injury and will be shut down for three days. It’s another setback for Gwynn, who is way behind in the race for reserve outfield spots, but at least it comes at a good time. Gwynn will travel home to San Diego, where his wife, Alyse, will give birth to the couple’s second child.

“He got a shot, and hopefully that will clear [the shoulder inflammation] up,” Macha said. “If it doesn’t, then how they read that MRI was going to determine how they go on after that.”

- Catcher Angel Salome, who has served as a designated hitter in Cactus League games but has yet to play defense, is sidelined by tightness in the middle of his back. Salome departed Maryvale Baseball Park early Thursday after seeing Raasch, presumably for an x-ray and additional off-site tests.

- Third baseman Mat Gamel is making steady progress in his return from a sore right shoulder. He played catch with head athletic trainer Roger Caplinger on Thursday and remains about seven days away from full activity. Gamel served as the designated hitter in Thursday’s exhibition against the Australian national team.

- Reliever David Riske threw 40 pitches of live batting practice on Thursday, and it could be his final hurdle before appearing in a game. Riske and Gagne are the only pitchers in big league camp yet to pitch in a game.

Injury updates galore

Lots of injury news today, and much of it is not very promising:

- Both assistant GM Gord Ash and manager Ken Macha raised the possibility that Braden Looper’s oblique injury will force the right-hander to the disabled list for the start of the season. The team plans to shut him down for two weeks, meaning Looper will have to start from scratch about a month after the start of camp.

- Eric Gagne developed shoulder soreness late last week, throwing a wrench into his chances of making the club. He can opt out of his Minor League contract if he’s not placed on the 40-man roster by that date, but he has to pitch before the Brewers can make a decision.

“The date is his call,” Ash said. “If he wants to depart, he can. If he doesn’t want to depart, he doesn’t have to. Clearly, and I spoke to him this morning, he’s running out of time.”

- Tony Gwynn Jr.’s shoulder injury might be more serious than originally thought, though Ash declined to offer details until head doctor William Raasch reads the results of Monday’s MRI scan. Raasch will be back in camp on Thursday and will also examine Gagne.

- The Brewers are encouraged by Bill Hall’s recovery from a slight left calf tear, but he will not play in a Cactus League game until late next week at the earliest. Hall took part in some running drills on Tuesday.

- Reliever David Riske, who underwent surgery last fall to remove a bone spur, is scheduled for another live batting practice session on Thursday and then should be ready to appear in games.

- Third base prospect Mat Gamel returned to camp this week after going home for the birth of his first child, but he continues to rehab a sore throwing shoulder. Gamel was to appear as a pinch-hitter against the Rockies on Tuesday and will also get at-bats in a Minor League intra-squad game on Wednesday.
  

Gameday: March 3 vs. Rockies

Reliever Jorge Julio will celebrate his 30th birthday with a day off, but a bunch of his teammates will be in action against the Rockies at Maryvale Baseball Park.

Rickie Weeks                2B
Chris Duffy                     LF
J.J. Hardy                     SS
Prince Fielder                1B
Corey Hart                     RF
Mike Cameron               CF
Mike Rivera                   C
Casey McGehee            3B
Yovani Gallardo             RHP

Trevor Hoffman, Carlos Villanueva, Mitch Stetter, Omar Aguilar and Chase Wright are also scheduled to pitch.

The Brewers did pass along news this morning that right-hander Braden Looper will miss his next start Thursday because of tightness in an oblique muscle at the back of his ribcage, but did immediately not elaborate on the extent of the injury. Seth McClung will start that day instead as the Brewers play an exhibition against Australia’s entry to the World Baseball Classic.

No further news yet about Tony Gwynn Jr.’s MRI scan on Monday. I am hoping to catch up with assistant GM Gord Ash today for that information.

Waiting for word on Gwynn, Looper

Brewers assistant general manager Gord Ash was delayed on his return flight from Milwaukee to Phoenix on Monday, so we will not get the results of doctor visits by outfielder Tony Gwynn. Jr. and right-hander Braden Looper until Tuesday.

Gwynn had a setback on Sunday and was to undergo an MRI scan on Monday, according to Brewers manager Ken Macha, to determine why he’s still feeling pain in his right shoulder. Looper was scratched from his Saturday start with tightness at the back of his ribcage and was to see a doctor today.

Gwynn’s bad luck is proving a huge boost for Brad Nelson, who hit another RBI single against the Padres today and is batting .571 with four walks in four Spring Training games. Nelson moved back to first base last year, but he has played the outfield in the past and is being considered for a backup spot there.

“If we’re going to keep two extra outfielders, we’re going to have to see what ‘Nellie’ can do,” Macha said. “He’s been impressive. Almost every at-bat is a long pitch count at-bat. He’s not afraid to take a walk. His strike zone knowledge is pretty good. He stays on the ball.”

What do you think? If you were GM Doug Melvin, who would you keep in the outfield?
 

Looper to see doctor on Monday

The Brewers expect to get an idea of the severity of Braden Looper’s ribcage injury on Monday, when the right-hander visits a doctor in Phoenix.

Looper was scratched minutes before his scheduled Brewers debut on Saturday when he felt a tweak on the left side of his lower back during pre-game warm-ups. He did participate in some plyometric throwing drills on Sunday morning.

“He felt the same as yesterday. There was no change today,” general manager Doug Melvin said. “We just have to wait a few days to see. It’s early enough in the spring to wait and see, monitor it, manage it and get more information.

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