Results tagged ‘ Chris Narveson ’

Narveson trivia

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Chris Narveson delivered three scoreless innings against the Reds this afternoon and is making quite a bid for an Opening Day roster spot. So let’s brush up on some trivia about the soft-spoken Brewers left-hander:
1. He has Wisconsin ties. 
Narveson’s father, Bruce, is originally from Twin Lakes, Wis. and was a very good athlete for Dodgeville High School. Until several years ago, the family owned a restaurant in Dodgeville called Narvey’s. Bruce Narveson married Sally, who hailed from Wauwatosa, Wis., a suburb of Milwaukee next to Miller Park. Narveson has family that still lives there. 
“When I signed with the Brewers, my mom’s side of the family was pretty fired up,” he said.  
2. He goes way back with one of his competitors for the rotation. 
The Narvesons eventually moved to North Carolina, and when Chris went for an official visit to Wake Forest University, the Bush family served as his hosts. Dave Bush was a catcher for Wake Forest and then converted to closer. 
College was put on hold after the Cardinals made Narveson their second-round pick in the 2000 First-Year Draft, but Narverson promised his mother that he’d eventually get his education. Which takes us to the fact that… 
3. He was busy this winter. 
On Feb. 15, the same day he reported to Maryvale Baseball Park for Spring Training, Narveson completed an undergraduate degree from the online University of Phoenix with a major in business management and a minor in finance. It was a gratifying achievement, considering that he began working on his degree in 2003 and continued taking courses online, even in 2007 and 2008 while he was playing winter ball in Mexico.  
“As long as I had Internet access, I could work on it,” Narveson said. “It took a little bit of discipline, but it’s a great feeling to know I have that degree hanging on my wall for when I’m done playing baseball. I would like to get my MBA, eventually. I like to challenge myself intellectually.”  
 For now, he’s focused on challenging himself physically.  
Narveson has been in Milwaukee’s system for more than two years but he made his mark last September, when he was Milwaukee’s pitcher of the month with a 2.73 ERA, including a 3.38 ERA in four starts from Sept. 13-29. It put Narveson into the mix for 2010.  
“This game is all about opportunity,” he said. “You have to seize it when you have it. They’ve treated me like family here, so I know that the opportunity is real.” 
Beginning next week, the Brewers will have to make some decisions.
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Gomez working on his swing (with some data)

Brewers manager Ken Macha said Carlos Gomez has been tweaking his swing to produce more ground balls. The key for the speedy center fielder is keeping his lead elbow low, and thus keeping the bat head from dropping down.
“Yesterday’s batting practice, I thought he swung the bat as well as he has this spring,” Macha said. “We want him to get it on the ground, but I don’t want him to conscious about it. … A lot of the balls he hit in batting practice were hard and low.”
Macha asked his statistical gurus to prepare a report of Gomez’s success on fly balls, line drives, ground balls and bunts. It bore out what Macha suspected, that he would be well-served to avoid hitting everything in the air. 
Here’s the data, courtesy of Brewers manager of advance scouting and baseball research Karl Mueller:
Career batting average by batted ball type… 
Ground Balls – .268 (306 put in play)
Line Drives – .631 (123 put in play)
Fly Balls – .195 (261 put in play)
Bunts – .446 (102 put in play, 10 of which were sacrifices)
It’s no surprise that the line drive average is so high. The Major League average is about .700.
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Macha repeated what closer Trevor Hoffman said Tuesday, that there’s no reason to worry about the fact he has yet to appear in a Cactus League game. Hoffman is taking it easy this spring to avoid a situation like the one that emerged last year, when he strained a rib-cage muscle. 
Hoffman threw a bullpen session on Monday and said he could debut in a game at some point next week. 
“Myself, personally, it’s not a concern for me right now,” Macha said. “He’s got plenty of time to get ready.”
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Third baseman Mat Gamel remained a “non-participant,” to borrow Macha’s phrase, on Wednesday as he tries to quiet a sore shoulder. Outfielder Trent Oeltjen (wrist) has been taking swings in the batting cage at 75-80 percent, Macha said, and was to see one of the team’s doctors on Wednesday. So was right-hander Josh Butler, who has a sore right elbow or triceps. 
Butler had a cortisone shot several days ago and conceded that unless he gets back to throwing very soon, he might miss out on Cactus League action. 
“It’s going to be close,” Butler said. “Hopefully I can [pitch in a game] but the biggest thing right now is getting healthy.”
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The Brewers play split-squad games on Thursday and again on Saturday, so third base coach Brad Fischer made a point in the team’s morning meeting of telling players to make sure they know where they are going over the next few days. 
This early in camp, the extra games are a good thing, at least from a pitching perspective. The Brewers say they are considering seven men for the starting rotation, and this week lines up such that Chris Narveson can pitch on the road against the Reds on Thursday while Randy Wolf works against the A’s at home, and Dave Bush and Manny Parra can each start a game on Saturday, when the Brewers play at home against Colorado and on the road at the White Sox. 
“We’ve got a large number [of pitchers] in camp and we’ve got a big competition in the starting [rotation] so we’ve been able to slot guys,” Macha said. 
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Spring rotation set

The Brewers have a tentative Cactus League rotation mapped out through the team’s March 24 off-day, and here’s how it looks for the six starting candidates next week:

Wed., March 3 intrasquad game: Dave Bush and Manny Parra
Thurs., March 4 at Giants: Jeff Suppan
Fri., March 5 at A’s: Yovani Gallardo
Sat., March 6 split-squads vs. Giants and at Rockies: Randy Wolf and Chris Narveson 
Sun., March 7 vs. Reds: Doug Davis
There is wiggle-room built in to allow for some adjustments later in March, but you can start to make some educated guesses about how things will line up. An every-five-day schedule plus one extra day of rest would take Gallardo right to the Brewers’ April 5 regular-season opener against the Rockies, followed by Wolf and Davis in that series. There is an off-day on the calendar for April 8, so Suppan might be lined up for April 9 against the Cubs. 
The operative phrase here is tentative, because bumps and bruises, split-squads and B-games, almost certainly will prompt some adjustments along the way. The Brewers plan to have an open competition, especially for the final two spots between Bush, Narveson, Parra and Suppan. 
The first few innings of that March 5 game against Oakland could be interesting. It’s Gallardo’s debut, and he is scheduled to face former Brewer Ben Sheets. 
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Capuano, Loe, Narveson raising eyebrows

Chris Capuano was pleased with his throwing session on Tuesday, his first action in big league camp since he suffered an elbow injury nearly two years ago. His manager was pleased, too. 
“One of the impressive things is that he threw change-ups, and his arm action on the change-up was very good,” Ken Macha said Wednesday morning. “I kind of liked what I saw there.”
Macha said he’s also been impressed by big right-hander Kameron Loe. Pitching coach Rick Peterson told Macha he liked what he’s seen from lefty Chris Narveson. 
“Last year we were kind of looking for people to fill the spots,” Macha said. “We’ve got tremendous competition for the spots this year. We’ve got a tremendous amount of depth in this camp.”
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Rehabbing right-hander Mark DiFelice stopped by the field Wednesday morning as the big league campers stretched. He’s sidelined following shoulder surgery and said he is probably a month away from beginning a throwing program. 
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Catcher Gregg Zaun returned to action on Wednesday after sitting out Tuesday with a stomach ailment. 
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Narveson, Scarpetta agree to terms

Pitchers Chris Narveson and Cody Scarpetta agreed to terms on 2010 contracts Wednesday, leaving the Brewers with 15 players still unsigned on the 40-man roster. 

The signings were something of a formality. Both Narveson and Scarpetta are so-called “zero-to-three” players who are under club control but must nonetheless negotiate contracts each year. The Brewers pay such players according to a set system that rewards statistical performance and league awards to avoid situations in which Player A feels slighted after learning about Player B’s contract. 
If the sides are unable to strike a deal, the team may renew the contract at a salary of its choosing. Players don’t get a measure of control over the process until they qualify for salary arbitration, which usually means racking up three years of Major League service. 
The Brewers are counting outfielder Corey Hart, who has an arbitration hearing scheduled for Thursday, as a signed player, so here are the 15 members of the 40-man roster who remain unsigned:
Axford, John
Butler, Josh
Cain, Lorenzo
Escobar, Alcides
Estrada, Marco
Gallardo, Yovani
Heether, Adam
Inglett, Joe
Iribarren, Hernan
Kottaras, George
Lofgren, Chuck
McGehee, Casey
Parra, Manny
Periard, Alex
Stetter, Mitch
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The "other" free agency

Jonathan Mayo, who does a great job covering the First-Year Player Draft and the Minor Leagues for MLB.com (and MiLB.com) wrote an interesting piece about key six-year Minor League free agent signings. Brewers officials expend just as much energy scouring the list of six-year free agents as they do the more-publicized big leaguers, often to fill-out the rosters at Triple-A Nashville and Double-A Huntsville.

Every now and then, you find a gem, and Mayo discussed some of the better-known names. There are no Brewers on the list, but pitchers Chris Smith, Chris Narveson and Mike Burns all were acquired as six-year free agents and appeared pretty extensively for the Brewers in 2009.

Can anyone think of any other six-year gems in the Brewers’ recent past?

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What to do with Gallardo?

Dave Bush will take the mound for the Brewers on Thursday in the finale of a four-game series at Wrigley Field. After that, Milwaukee’s starting rotation appears set for some changes.

The Brewers are re-visiting the idea of shutting-down right-hander Yovani Gallardo for the season, and left-hander Manny Parra remains sidelined indefinitely with a stiff neck. Chris Narveson will make a second straight start in Parra’s place on Friday, and recently-promoted prospect Josh Butler appears a strong candidate to make at least one start if the Brewers make a move with Gallardo.

“There’s a possibility there will be some jumbling, yeah,” manager Ken Macha said.

The most notable jumble would involve Gallardo, who complained of rust Tuesday night after waiting nine days between starts. It was a move by Brewers officials to limit the workload of a pitcher who missed all but four regular-season starts in 2008 because of a knee injury and has piled up innings — 180 2/3, most on the team — and pitches — 3,125, fifth-most in the National League — in 2009.

If he stays on a regular schedule, Gallardo would make three more starts this year. Now there is a chance he is done.

“Yes, we are discussing it and working our way through it,” Brewers assistant general manager Gord Ash said. “[Pitching coach Chris] Bosio and Ken will get their heads together and see what they want to do.”

Macha wouldn’t reveal his thinking on Wednesday.

The Brewers are also soliciting input from Gallardo’s agent, former Major League right-hander Bobby Witt, to “demonstrate that you have the long-term health of the player in mind,” Ash said. The Brewers’ medical staff will submit information to Witt and so will the team’s statistical gurus, in an effort to demonstrate that taking away Gallardo’s final three 2009 starts would not have significant implications for his bottom line in future seasons. Gallardo projects to be arbitration-eligible following next season.

“It’s not about money,” general manager Doug Melvin said. “If we were worried about money we wouldn’t have nine extra guys here with the team out of the pennant race.” 

Melvin was not interested in saying much more about Gallardo’s immediate future.

“If you’re going to do anything, you talk to the player first. We haven’t talked to him yet,” Melvin said. “We’re not addressing it today. We’ll let you know if we do. But if we do it, we would talk to him first.”

The decision would probably not be popular with Gallardo. He met with Macha, Melvin and Ash earlier this month and went along with a plan to skip one start while making it clear he wanted to play out the season.

“I don’t want to be shut down. I want to finish out the year strong,” Gallardo said. “We’re trying to find ways to make that happen.”
 
Were he to remain on schedule, Gallardo’s next start would come Sunday against the Astros. For now, the Brewers aren’t naming a probable pitcher for that date but it could be 24-year-old Butler, one of the team’s most promising pitching prospects. 

Asked whether Butler could start a game, Macha said, “That may happen. He hasn’t pitched in eight days, so we’re going to give him a couple of ‘sides’ here. … We’ve had some discussion of what to do. It will all become clearer as the days go on. It’s not etched in stone yet what we’re going to do.”

Parra's MRI yields no answers

An MRI scan of Manny Parra’s neck delivered “no significant findings,” Brewers assistant general manager Gord Ash said, but the Brewers were poised to bring in additional reinforcements in the event Parra remains sidelined.

Mike Burns, who finished the season at Triple-A Nashville and had gone home for the winter, will rejoin the team in Friday in Milwaukee but not to take Parra’s spot in the starting rotation, Ash said. That start, against the Astros, will go to left-hander Chris Narveson.

Parra traveled back to Milwaukee on Wednesday morning for the MRI and a visit with head team physician William Raasch. The doctors are convinced that the problem in Parra’s neck, which dates to Sept. 8, when he left a start against the Cardinals after one inning, is muscular and not structural.

“He will continue physical therapy,” Ash said. “Mr. Burns will join us on Friday to make sure we have sufficient back-up.”

Burns is already on Milwaukee’s full 40-man roster.

Bush's next start in doubt

Dave Bush’s next Brewers start, and perhaps the rest of the season, is in doubt pending a visit Friday with head team physician William Raasch to determine if the lingering discomfort in Bush’s right triceps is reason for worry. 

“Something’s not quite right,” said Bush, who has allowed 13 runs over eight innings in his two starts since returning from the disabled list. “I don’t believe it’s anything serious, but I’m still trying to work through some soreness.” 

Bush’s next scheduled start is Monday against the Cardinals. If he’s scratched, the Brewers might take a look at left-hander Chris Narveson, who has a 4.95 ERA in 14 relief appearances for the Brewers this season. 

The troubles for Bush date to June 4, when he was struck on the back of the right upper arm by a Hanley Ramirez line drive in Florida. He worked six innings that night and then made three more starts before an MRI scan revealed microtearing of the triceps. Bush was on the disabled list for more than two months before returning to face the Reds on Aug. 27. 

After he surrendered eight runs to the Cardinals on Wednesday night, he reported feeling “dull pain,” according to manager Ken Macha. Bush wonders if the sensation is being caused by scar tissue breaking up in his arm.

“We’re going to let the doctor figure that out,” Macha said. “[Bush] wants to go out there and work his way through it. We’ll see what the doctor has to say.”

Bush pitched in at least 30 games in each of his first three seasons with the Brewers but that streak will end this year. He is 3-6 with a 6.47 ERA in 17 appearances including 16 starts. 

“I don’t want to put myself in a situation where I can get hurt,” he said. “As long as I’m comfortable and everyone else is comfortable that pitching through some soreness or discomfort is all right, then I’ll be fine. You have to be smart about it. 

“I’ve already missed so much time, it’s hard to miss any more. The season isn’t over. I’d like to get to the point where I can go into the offseason with something positive.”

Narveson to Nashville, McCalvy to Canada

It came as no surprise on Monday when left-hander Chris Narveson cleared waivers and accepted an assignment to Triple-A Nashville. Narveson had the right to refuse and take his chances in free agency, but he made it clear last week that he still saw opportunity in Milwaukee.

Narveson was 3-3 with a 3.38 ERA in 20 relief appearances for Nashville before his promotion to Milwaukee, and he was charged with 10 runs in 10 2/3 innings in the big leagues.

In a completely unrelated roster move, I am being optioned to Ontario for the next week and a half but promise to be out of the canoe and back in the press box by the time the Brewers return to Miller Park to face the Braves.

If I’m not back in the bylines by then, send help.

-Adam

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