Results tagged ‘ Chris Duffy ’

"Tommy John" surgery likely for Riske

Brewers reliever David Riske had a setback in his recovery from a right elbow injury and likely will need reconstructive surgery that would end his season, assistant general manager Gord Ash said Tuesday.

Riske has an appointment with Dr. Lewis Yocum in Los Angeles on Monday, at which point a decision will be made regarding “Tommy John” surgery. Such a procedure would sideline Riske for up to a year.

“The likelihood is that he will have a reconstruction,” Ash said.

Riske has been on the disabled list since the second week in April because of pain in his elbow and later was diagnosed with laxity, or looseness, of the ulnar collateral ligament. Riske was examined by both Dr. William Raasch, Milwaukee’s head team physician, and Yocum, a noted orthopedist based in Los Angeles, and opted for a course of rehabilitation to strengthen the joint.

It appears that course didn’t work, because Riske reported what Ash called “ongoing pain” in his elbow during a weekend appearance at extended Spring Training.

The Brewers have said from the beginning that Riske’s options were rehab or surgery, but Riske disputed during the team’s last road trip that surgery was ever discussed. Ash was surprised by those comments. 

“I don’t know what he was doing, because the diagnoses from both Dr. Raasch and Dr. Yocum were that he had a ligament issue and that if he rehabbed first and it didn’t work, he would have a reconstruction,” Ash said on Tuesday.  

In an unrelated matter, Ash said that outfielder Chris Duffy had accepted his outright assignment to Triple-A Nashville and would report there beginning Wednesday.

Wrapping a bow on Spring Training

Was Brad Nelson trying to make one final bid for the Opening Day roster with his go-ahead, three run home run in Saturday’s Spring Training finale?

“Truthfully, honestly, yeah!” a wide-smiling Nelson said after the Brewers capped their exhibition season with a 7-4 win at Dodger Stadium. “When you haven’t heard anything, why not?”

He finally did hear after the game that he had cracked Milwaukee’s Opening Day roster. It was an emotional moment for a player drafted in 2001 who had climbed to the top of the Brewers’ prospect chart, fallen back down and now has climbed back to the big leagues.

General manager Doug Melvin congratulated other players in person Saturday night including outfielder Chris Duffy, whose contract will be purchased from Triple-A Nashville on Sunday to complete the 25-man roster. Also making the cut, as expected, was infielder Casey McGehee, who will switch from uniform No. 52 to No. 14 for the regular season.

The Brewers finished the spring slate with a record of 22-10-3, including 16-3-1 over their final 20 games, 10-1 over their final 11 and 4-0 to end the ledger. They once again came from behind on Saturday after relievers Todd Coffey and David Riske combined to throw 64 pitches over the first two innings as the Dodgers took a 3-0 lead. Seth McClung threw 30 more pitches in the third inning and Jorge Julio threw 24 pitches in the fourth.

Dave Bush, appearing in relief to tune up for a probable inning of work on Opening Day (his first start does not come until April 11) finally settled things down in the fifth inning with a nine-pitch, seven-strike frame.

“I wanted to encourage everybody to throw their off-speed pitches, their change-ups,” manager Ken Macha said. “[Coffey] didn’t throw any until the end. Riske threw 13 straight fastballs [in one stretch]. … The other guys all mixed their pitches.”

The Brewers rallied with three runs in the seventh inning and four more in the ninth. Craig Counsell hit a tying RBI single before Nelson crushed a three-run homer to straightaway center field.

Gwynn clears waivers; club claims Koshansky

[UPDATED at 1:20 p.m. CT... Added some thoughts from assistant GM Gord Ash and corrected my note on Koshansky, who actually came from the Rangers after a 4-day stay in that organization.]

Tony Gwynn Jr. is staying put.

All 29 teams, including the San Diego Padres, who employed Gwynn’s father for 20 Hall of Fame seasons, could have had Gwynn for $20,000 — plus a roster spot, of course — after the Brewers placed Gwynn on outright waivers Wednesday. All 29 teams passed, so the Brewers were able to assign Gwynn to Triple-A Nashville. 

“I was surprised he got through,” Brewers assistant general manager Gord Ash said. “But it’s happened to other players before. It happened to Brad Nelson three years ago, and look where he is now. It doesn’t mean the end of anything, it’s just kind of an interruption.

“[Gwynn] is obviously disappointed, but understands. He wanted to make sure that he’s going to get the opportunity to play and make his way back to the big leagues. I assured him he would.”

Gwynn, 26 and Milwaukee’s second-round Draft pick in 2003, reported to Spring Training out of Minor League options and seemingly assured a job as the Brewers’ fourth outfielder. But he missed the first half of Spring Training with a sore throwing shoulder and then was outplayed by fellow out-of-options outfielder Nelson and non-roster invitee Chris Duffy. Gwynn went 4-for-25 in Cactus League games with eight strikeouts.

The final choice essentially came down to Gwynn or Duffy; both are left-handed hitters with speed on the basepaths and are premium defenders in center field. Duffy batted .315 in Spring Training.

Also on Friday, the Brewers announced that third baseman Mike Lamb had cleared release waivers and become a free agent. Lamb was informed Tuesday that he would not have a spot on Milwaukee’s Opening Day roster.

The team also claimed first baseman Joe Koshansky off waivers from the Rangers and optioned him to Nashville, where the Sounds already had a first baseman in former Brave Scott Thorman. Ash said the Brewers could have some further news regarding Thorman later today. 

Koshansky, who turns 27 in May, has spent brief stints in the big leagues in each of the last two seasons but spent most of 2008 at Triple-A Colorado Springs, where he batted .300 with 31 home runs and 121 RBIs in just 122 games. He also struck out 158 times. The Rangers claimed him off waivers from the Rockies on March 29 but then needed the 40-man roster spot for a non-roster invitee, according to Ash. 

Gwynn appears on the way out

There are strong indications today that Tony Gwynn Jr. has either been placed on waivers or that a trade is in the works. Manager Ken Macha directed questions to general manager Doug Melvin, who wouldn’t or couldn’t elaborate.

“I can’t [say] either,” Melvin said.

When might he be able to provide the answer?

“Tomorrow,” Melvin said.

That response, coupled with the fact that Gwynn did not play in Wednesday’s game and was probably not going to appear on Thursday was a good hint that Gwynn, who is out of Minor League options, is on waivers. If he clears, the Brewers would assign Gwynn to Triple-A Nashville.

Gwynn was to travel with the Brewers on Thursday evening to Los Angeles. The Brewers won’t set their roster until it’s due on Sunday, so a handful of players will board the team charter with some degree of uncertainty about their status. The roster would be essentially set if Gwynn does not make the cut, but there’s always a chance of a last-minute trade, waiver claim or an injury.

For the second straight season, an injury came at a bad time for Gwynn. He was supposed to serve as the starting center fielder last April before a hamstring strain sidelined him. He reported to camp this spring with the fourth outfielder’s job all but locked up, but missed the first half of Spring Training with a sore throwing shoulder. In 25 at-bats after he recovered, Gwynn batted .160.

“We know Tony and we’ve seen what he can do,” Melvin said. “It’s probably been a little harder for Ken and his new staff to evaluate him, because they haven’t seen him. But we’ve told them what he can do and what he can’t do. He’s still a good player and everything. He fits what Duffy does, a little bit.”

if Gwynn clears waivers, he would join a very crowded outfield situation in Nashville. Brendan Katin and Cole Gillespie are expected to see time at the corners, though Gillespie is dealing with an elbow strain at the moment. Minor League veterans Jason Bourgeois, Adam Stern and Jason Tyner are also under contract — Tyner just signed this week, and had three hits in the Triple-A game on Wednesday.

Stern might be assigned to Double-A Huntsville, Melvin said, and so could Lorenzo Cain, though Cain may remain in extended Spring Training because of a “tweaked” hamstring. 
 

Who of Duffy, Gwynn and Nelson is the odd man out?

As the Brewers prepared to break camp on Thursday, the team’s roster decisions were down to three players — Chris Duffy, Tony Gwynn Jr. and Brad Nelson — for two reserve outfield spots.

Gwynn and Nelson are on the 40-man roster and out of Minor League options, so either player would have to be exposed to waivers before being demoted. Duffy is in camp on a Minor League contract and would have to be added to the 40-man if he makes the team. The Brewers do have one open spot.

In terms of performance, Duffy and Nelson have the clear advantage. Duffy entered Thursday’s game, the finale of the Brewers’ Arizona Spring Training schediule, hitting .315 in a team-high 73 at-bats and Nelson was hitting .356 with a .429 on-base percentage.

Gwynn, meanwhile, was limited early in camp by a sore throwing shoulder and then batted .160 (4-for-25) with eight strikeouts in 13 games. It’s very interesting that he did not play at all in Wednesday’s game against the D-backs. He’s not in the lineup again today, and if Gwynn once again does not appear, it could be a very strong indication that some sort of roster move is in the works.

Club officials technically are not allowed to discuss when players are placed on waivers. Just thought I would mention it for those fans following today’s game on television or the MLB.com webcast today.

Duffy was happy with his performance in camp, and rightly so.

“I stayed healthy, and that was the No. 1 thing,” said Duffy, who missed big chunks of the last two seasons with injuries, most notably a shoulder injury that required surgery. “This might sound crazy, but my mindset wasn’t totally to make the team. I wanted to stay healthy and get ready for the season, wherever that was going to be. That helped me not put pressure on myself. I can’t control what they think or what they want, but I can control my own mindset.

“I don’t know what they’re going to do. At the end, it comes down to the fact that this is a business and that can affect the different decisions that are made. I’ve been around long enough to understand that.”  

Is Nixon's time with Brewers running out?

If Trot Nixon does not win a roster spot with the Brewers, the organization might not have a job for him at Triple-A.

So said general manager Doug Melvin, who met with Nixon last week. Nixon switched from No. 3 to No. 93 on March 14 but it has not helped him shake his spring slump, and with a .108 batting average it appears that he’s behind in the Brewers’ race for backup outfield spots.

“We had a conversation and I let him know where he stood at this time,” Melvin said. “The tough thing about Spring Training is evaluating the numbers, but I told him that if he didn’t make our big club, there wasn’t a guarantee of anything at Triple-A at this point.

“There’s still a lot of time left, though,” Melvin added. “The thing is, as long as you have a uniform on, you have a chance of making the ballclub. Trot is a real pro and he tries hard and he gives his best effort. In Spring Training, a couple of balls fall in for hits and the story is totally different.”

One thing is certain: Nixon is doing everything he can to get on track. He has not started a Brewers “A” game since March 15, but on Friday he asked for at-bats in a Triple-A game.

I tried over the weekend to ask him how he was doing, but he was not in the mood to chat.

“I really feel like talking about it, to be honest with you,” Nixon said with his head down.

Other outfielders are ticketed for Triple-A over Nixon. Prospects Cole Gillespie and Brendan Katin are likely to play in Nashville and the team is mulling whether to send Lorenzo Cain there. Jason Bourgeois, who is in big league camp, will go to Nashville. If Chris Duffy does not make the cut he would probably be assigned there, too. Ditto for Tony Gwynn Jr. or Brad Nelson, though the Brewers would have to pass that duo through waivers first.

So you can see that it’s crowded. Nixon, 34, would have a lot of competition for playing time.
 

Gameday: March 22 vs. Giants

Another day, yet another game against the San Francisco Giants. Doesn’t it seem like the Brewers and Giants have played 100 times this spring, and that Carlos Villanueva has pitched in every one of them? He’s in there again today, scheduled to work in relief of starter Mark DiFelice.

Here’s the starting lineup:

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

DiFelice is slated for two innings and 30 pitches. Besides Villanueva, who is down for three innings and 45 pitchers in an effort to sharpen him up, relievers Todd Coffey and Sam Narron are scheduled to work today.

Some notes from Macha’s morning meeting with reporters:

- Bad news on the Trevor Hoffman front. His oblique strain is not getting any better, and the team’s trainers don’t expect him back on the mound until the end of the week at the earliest. It is becoming more and more likely that Hoffman won’t be ready for Opening Day.

- Manny Parra developed some minor back spasms and missed his scheduled bullpen session on Saturday. He’s still scheduled to make his next start on Wednesday and will be working with one extra day of rest because Tuesday is an off-day for the team.

- Macha once again described his bullpen picture as “cloudy,” and met at length Sunday morning with general manager Doug Melvin to discuss the options. Villanueva and Seth McClung remain the leading contenders to fill-in for Hoffman, Macha said. He doesn’t see David Riske as an option until Riske pitches at least one good outing, and Macha also said he’s not at the point of considering former Orioles closer Jorge Julio, who reached 97 mph on the radar gun on Saturday against the Angels. Julio is still competing for a bullpen spot, though.

- Angel Salome (back) took some swings on Saturday and “felt weird,” according to the manager. Just a hunch, but I don’t think we’re going to see much of Mr. Salome during the final two weeks of camp.

- Duffy is rehydrated and back in the lineup after missing parts of three days with a stomach ailment.

- The Brewers considered giving Villanueva this start but instead tabbed DiFelice in what Macha termed a, “manager’s decision.” Macha wants to see how DiFelice, who relies on movement, fares against the Giants’ starting lineup.

- To get DiFelice and Villanueva stretched out in the “A” game, the Brewers moved Jeff Suppan to a Triple-A game against the Salt Lake Bees. It’s a home game for the Nashville Sounds, so Suppan will pitch on one of the side fields at Maryvale Baseball Park.

- No matter where you are in the Valley, it’s a bad day to be a pitcher. The National Weather Service issued a wind advisory today, and wouldn’t you know it, the wind is blowing straight out to center field at the moment. The winds are expected to reach 25-35 mph with gusts up to 45 mph.

Gameday: March 21 at Angels

While Braden Looper works a Triple-A game, the A-team Brewers travel to Tempe to take on the Angels. As expected, Tony Gwynn Jr. will get his first start in the outfield today:

Jason Kendall  C
Tony Gwynn Jr.  CF
Corey Hart  RF
Prince Fielder  1B
Bill Hall  3B
Brad Nelson  LF
Casey McGehee  2B
Mike Lamb  DH
Alcides Escobar  SS

Right-hander Dave Bush will start for Milwaukee, and there was a bit of news about Bush today from manager Ken Macha, who is planning to pair Bush with Kendall’s back-up, Mike Rivera, to start the season. It’s a move to rest Kendall a bit more often this season, and is based on the small sample of success for Bush while Rivera is behind the plate.

David Riske, Jorge Julio and Wes Littleton are scheduled to work an inning apiece behind Bush, who is slated for six innings or 90 pitches.

In other morning notes:

- Trevor Hoffman (oblique) played catch the past two days and has today off. He will be evaluated again on Sunday.

- Catcher Angel Salome was cleared to take some “dry swings” on Saturday but he’s still out with a stiff back.

- Outfielder Chris Duffy returned to camp after missing part of Thursday and all of Friday with a stomach ailment. He took batting practice and should be available to play again on Sunday.

- Carlos Villanueva was originally penciled in to start Sunday against the Giants but instead Mark DiFelice will start and Villanueva will work in relief. The Brewers are trying to stretch Villanueva out a bit to sharpen him up. 

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. 

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