Results tagged ‘ Chris Capuano ’

Capuano re-signs with Crew

Former All-Star left-hander Chris Capuano has signed a Minor League contract to return to the Brewers that includes an invitation to Major League Spring Training camp.

Capuano, 31, has not pitched in the Majors since 2007 and is attempting a rare comeback from a second Tommy John surgery. He underwent that procedure in May 2008 and did not return to the mound until late in the 2009 season, when he made three appearances with the Brewers’ rookie league team in Phoenix and then three more for the team’s advanced rookie affiliate in Helena, Mont.

In those outings, Capuano allowed three earned runs in nine innings on eight hits with eight strikeouts.

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Brewers 'don't see' reunion with Gagne

Former All-Star closer Eric Gagne told reporters in his native Canada last week that he wants to return to organized baseball as a starter and that he’s open to beginning the year in the Minor Leagues. But his most recent Major League employer doesn’t plan to be among the teams considering Gagne as a reclamation project.

“I don’t see that,” Brewers assistant GM Gord Ash wrote in an e-mail.

Gagne last pitched in the big leagues in 2008 with Milwaukee, compiling a 5.44 ERA in 50 games. He signed for $10 million and was a bust as the Brewers’ closer, but returned from a midseason shoulder injury and was actually a solid contributor down the stretch, with a 4.33 ERA in 30 appearances beginning July 3 including a 0.84 ERA in 11 games after Sept. 2. Including two scoreless appearances in the postseason, Gagne didn’t allow a run in 12 of his final 13 games. He was extremely popular in the front offices at Miller Park for his charitable contributions. 

That combination of on- and off-field factors prompted the Brewers to give Gagne a shot last spring on a Minor League contract in February. He reported to camp looking to win a roster spot but his bid was derailed by the recurrence of shoulder woes and the Brewers released him on March 8.

After rehab, Gagne signed as a player/coach with the Quebec Capitales in the independent Canadian-American League. In 17 games, all starts, he was 6-6 with a 4.65 ERA and two complete games. The Capitales won the league championship and Gagne, according to a report on Yahoo! Sports, honed the cut fastball he occasionally threw in Milwaukee to compliment his fastball, curveball and change-up. 

Speaking at a charity event on Nov. 12 in Quebec City, Gagne said he wants to make one more bid for the Majors. He said it would be “fun” to return to the Dodgers, for whom Gagne had his most success, including a stretch of 84 consecutive saves from 2002-2004, but he’s open to any interested club. 

Gagne turns 34 in January.The Brewers already have some veteran-type arms at Triple-A including Mike Burns, who already signed a Minor League deal to return for 2010. Burns, 31, posted a 5.75 ERA in 15 appearances for the Brewers in 2009 including eight starts. He ended the season with a shoulder injury but avoided surgery.

In terms of Gagne-style reclamations the Brewers may bring back former All-Star left-hander Chris Capuano, who is attempting a comeback from his second career Tommy John surgery. Capuano, also 31, pitched in six games for low-level Brewers affiliates late last season with some success. He’s a free agent again this winter.

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Braddock overcoming physical, mental hurdles

Brewers pitching prospect Zach Braddock has been healthy this season, both in body and mind, and some promising results have followed.

The Brewers promoted Braddock to Double-A Huntsville on Wednesday after the left-hander posted a 1.14 ERA and 40 strikeouts versus just four walks in 14 relief appearances at Class A Brevard County. Opponents hit .143 against the hard-throwing Braddock.

Braddock has been limited by physical injuries since the Brewers drafted him in the 18th round of the 2005 Draft and by a bipolar disorder that requires medication. But in terms of pure “stuff,” he’s a bona fide Major League prospect.

“He can dominate,” Brewers assistant general manager Gord Ash said. “There have been a number of reports this year [that say] he could pitch in the big leagues. He has that kind of dominating stuff. Obviously, being left-handed helps. It’s a matter of being consistent, like it is with a lot of young guys.”

Assuming he stays physically and mentally healthy, Braddock could move fast through the system. He turns 22 on Aug. 23.

“Which is why we moved him to Double-A, to get him to that next level,” Ash said.

Club officials help “monitor” Braddock, Ash said. That involves making sure he takes the proper medication at the proper time.  

“He’s in a very good spot,” Ash said. “He’s monitored, and he’s had no issues at all. … He’s in a good place.”

In other Minor League transactions Wednesday:

– Right-hander Rob Wooten joined Braddock in a move from Brevard County to Huntsville. Wooten doesn’t possess the raw tools of Braddock, but, “If you throw strikes, you’ve got a chance,” Ash said. “Chris Smith shows it now.”

– The Brewers promoted right-hander John Axford from Double-A Huntsville to Nashville to replace right-hander Mike Burns, who went to Milwaukee to join the starting rotation. Axford has been rising fast; he pitched in just four games for Huntsville after a promotion from Brevard County.

– Class A Wisconsin closer Jim Henderson was promoted to Brevard County after going 17-for-17 in save chances. Henderson is a veteran Minor Leaguer.

– Right-hander Omar Aguilar is not, which made it somewhat disappointing when he was demoted from Huntsville to Brevard County. Aguilar, who is on Milwaukee’s 40-man roster, had a 7.71 ERA in 23 relief appearances.

“Player development will do this,” Ash said. “There are surprises upward, and there are surprises downward. We had [Jeremy] Jeffress, [Alex] Periard and Aguilar, all guys we’re high on but all who will end up in A-ball right now. Then there’s guys who have taken a step forward. Axford has taken a step forward. Josh Butler has taken a step forward. Braddock. Chris Cody. Several guys have taken a step.”

– Right-hander R.J. Seidel, a Wisconsin native, will begin a throwing program at the Brewers’ baseball facility in Arizona later this week. He’s ahead of schedule after undergoing offseason surgery for a torn ACL. Seidel told the Brewers he hurt his knee slipping on some ice.

“He’ll salvage a month or so of the season,” Ash said.

– Right-hander Mike Jones, on the Huntsville DL with a medical issue that Ash said was of a personal nature, will throw a bullpen session to see how he feels before potentially returning to action next week. 

– Left-hander Chris Capuano, rehabbing from the second Tommy John surgery of his career, threw his first bullpen session this week and hasn’t had another setback, Ash said. Capuano still faces a long road; he’ll have to throw several bullpens, then a series of live batting practice sessions before he’s cleared to pitch in a game. That probably won’t happen until the end of August, just as the Minor League seasons are ending.

“It’s just a long, slow grind,” Ash said. “He gets full marks for grinding it out.”

Gameday: April 1 vs. D'backs

Scratch that, Bill Hall is out.

Brewers athletic trainer Roger Caplinger recommended that manager Ken Macha use Hall as a pinch-hitter on Wednesday instead of installing him in the starting lineup against the Diamondbacks. Hall had a tooth extracted on Tuesday, and Caplinger worried that an elevated heart rate would increase the likelihood of bleeding, Macha said.

So Casey McGehee starts instead:

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

Bush is scheduled for seven innings or 105 pitches, with relievers Todd Coffey and Jorge Julio to follow.

In news this morning, the Brewers released infielder Mike Lamb and reassigned left-hander Chris Capuano to Minor League camp to continue his rehab from elbow surgery.

Same story for Hall; Gwynn slowed by shoulder pain

Five players, including third baseman Bill Hall and outfielder Tony Gwynn, Jr., will be restricted from activity when Brewers pitchers, catchers and the handful of position players already in camp take part in the team’s first Spring Training workout on Sunday.

A rundown of the injury updates that emerged from physical exams on Saturday:

- Head team physical William Raasch confirmed the original diagnosis for third baseman Bill Hall, who has a partially torn left calf muscle and will be sidelined about 4-6 weeks. Club spokesperson Mike Vassallo said Raasch was “encouraged” by Hall’s improvement from Friday, when Hall underwent an MRI scan.

Hall was injured on Thursday while working out at a private facility in the Phoenix area. If he progresses on schedule, he could be fully rehabilitated by Opening Day on April 7.

- Gwynn, a left-handed hitter but a right-handed thrower, is  restricted from throwing because of a right shoulder impingement . Gwynn is out of Minor League options and has a great chance of making the Opening Day roster for the second straight season, assuming he gets healthy.

- Speedy utility man Jason Bourgeois is restricted from activity because of a fracture of the fifth metacarpal of his left hand. In other words, he has a broken left pinkie.  The 26 year-old spent most of the 2008 season at Triple-A Charlotte in the Chicago White Sox system, hitting .286 with a .335 on-base percentage, nine home runs, 83 runs scored and 30 stolen bases in 41 attempts.

- Right-hander Alex Periard, who was just added to the 40-man roster over the winter, is restricted from throwing because of tightness in his right shoulder. Periard, 21 and one of the Brewers’ recent Canadian imports, was a 16th round pick in 2004 who almost certainly will begin the year in the Minors. During the 2008 regular season, Periard was 11-10 with a 4.06 ERA in 26 starts and one relief appearance between Class A Brevard County and Double-A Huntsville.

- Right-hander Mark Rogers and left-hander Chris Capuano, as expected, will begin camp on closely-monitored throwing programs.

Rogers, another recent addition to the 40-man roster, has missed the past two seasons because of shoulder issues and Capuano, who is back with the Brewers on a Minor League contract, is rehabbing from his second career Tommy John surgery. The Brewers hope Capuano is ready to pitch by May 1 or so.

Because so many Brewers position players have reported to camp early, only nine players will have to undergo physicals on Wednesday, prior to the team’s first full-squad workout.

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