Results tagged ‘ Craig Counsell ’

In the clubhouse: Player reaction

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div.Section1Brewers general manager Doug Melvin said he
“shocked” manager Ken Macha Tuesday night when he told Macha of the
changes the club was going to make Wednesday morning.

“Shocked” and “surprised” were two of
the main words going around in the Brewers clubhouse Wednesday afternoon, hours
after the Brewers relieved pitching coach Bill Castro, optioned shortstop J.J.
Hardy to Triple-A Nashville and designated Bill Hall.

Here is some reaction from the players:

First, from Hall, the longest tenured Brewer, about
leaving the only team he’s ever known: “It’s something that just happens,
nothing big. I’m happy about the time I spent here. [First time in] 26 years we
made the playoffs here, so I had a lot of good times and I appreciate
everything this organization has done for me and I think it’s time for a new
chapter in my life. I’m excited about this chapter. Hopefully these guys can
pull it together and turn things around. I’m definitely excited about the next
chapter in my life.”

Injured second baseman Rickie Weeks on losing Hall and Hardy, his
long-time double play partner: “Shocked, basically. I don’t have too many
words to say because of disappointment for everyone else. But it was just
one of those things where it’s baseball, it’s a business thing and sometimes it
sucks, plain and simple.”

Craig Counsell on how shakeups like these affect the
clubhouse: “On a personal level you feel for those guys, for sure, we all
do. But the nature of our jobs is that we have to go perform tonight and
frankly it doesn’t matter who’s here, you still have to go perform, that’s your
job. … It doesn’t change the way you go out and prepare or the way you’re
going to go out and do your job. I don’t know what effect it has [in the
clubhouse]. Obviously, Doug felt he had to do something.”

And finally, center fielder Mike Cameron, who was trying to keep the clubhouse light before batting practice, on
whether the moves will light a spark in the clubhouse: “Who knows what could
possibly come about. There are certain things that happen during the course of
the season. You saw Colorado get a spark in a change of their manager, you see
some teams get guys come up and they may provide an extra burst of energy.
There are a lot of things that take place, but the one real thing that’s going
to happen, regardless of everything’s that going on today and different things
and different situations that take place, at 7:05 [p.m.] we still have to
play.”

With that said, here are tonight’s lineups:

San Diego
Tony Gwynn CF
David Eckstein 2B
Adrian Gonzalez 1B
Chase Headley LF
Wil Venable RF
Kevin Kouzmanoff 3B
Henry Blanco C
Everth Cabrera SS
Kevin Correia RHP

Milwaukee
Felipe Lopez 2B
Craig Counsell SS
Ryan Braun LF
Prince Fielder 1B
Mike Cameron CF
Casey McGehee 3B
Frank Catalanotto RF
Jason Kendall C
Carlos Villanueva RHP

-Cash

As promised, Hardy sits out series finale

With J.J. Hardy getting a break — manager Ken Macha has been forecasting this one for days, so the trade conspiracy theorists can relax — Craig Counsell slides over to shortstop and Wednesday hero Casey McGehee gets the start at third base.

The Brewers need to win behind Yovani Gallardo today to avoid an embarassing series loss, but Gallardo faces a tall task. Milwaukee is 11-22 in day games, with losses in 12 of 13 games and six straight.

The lineups (updated at 12:20 p.m. CT with some Nationals changes):

WASHINGTON
Nyjer Morgan  CF
Alberto Gonzalez  SS
Nick Johnson 1B
Adam Dunn  LF
Ryan Zimmerman  3B
Willie Harris  RF
Wil Nieves  C
Anderson Hernandez  2B
J.D. Martin  RHP

MILWAUKEE
Felipe Lopez  2B
Craig Counsell SS
Ryan Braun  LF
Prince Fielder  1B
Corey Hart  RF
Mike Cameron  CF
Casey McGehee  3B
Jason Kendall  C
Yovani Gallardo  RHP

One other note: Today’s home plate umpire is “Cowboy Joe” West, who will be working his 4,000th Major League game.He umpired his first National League game on Sept. 14, 1976 and five years later, at 28, he became the youngest NL ump to work a League Championship Series.

West is a man of many endeavors; he released his second album last year, he designed and sells chest protectors and other equipment for umps and plays on a celebrity golf tour.
 

Brewers GM: 'No trade discussions going'

Milwaukee GM Doug Melvin still is not looking outside the organization for help at second base, and told reporters this afternoon that he is more than content with veteran Craig Counsell’s play since Rickie Weeks’ season-ending injury.

“I don’t have any trade discussions going with anybody,” Melvin said.

Counsell was back atop the Brewers’ batting order on Friday and could play all three games this weekend against the Reds against a trio of Cincinnati right-handers. Constructing a lineup could become more complicated for manager Ken Macha next week, when the Brewers begin a seven-game road trip to Florida and Atlanta on which they will face at least three lefties.

Macha would like to see right-fielder Corey Hart get hot so he could hit leadoff, but Hart entered Friday’s game batting .176 (12-for-68) over his last 17 games. If Hart stays cold, Macha said he would probably have to start Casey McGehee at second base and batting leadoff against those lefties.

Asked if he would consider Mike Cameron, who batted leadoff under interim manager Dale Sveum last September and in the postseason, Macha said he prefered Cameron in the five-hole.

Counsell considered having surgery for toen cartilige in his right knee near the end of Spring Training but opted against it. It appears he made a very good decision, because Counsell entered Friday’s start batting .350 since since April 25 and .323 (10-for-31) while starting each of the team’s last seven games.

In nine starts as a leadoff hitter, Counsell was batting .275 (11-for-40) entering Friday night with a .293 on-base percentage. He was 0-for-8 with a walk when leading off the game.

“I’m not that worried about it,” Melvin said. “There’s no doubt that we’ll miss Rickie over the course of the summer because of the things he brought to the ballclub. But that’s why we signed Craig Counsell, and I have a lot of confidence in him. He was signed in case somebody got hurt.”

The GM added, “I’m more worried about our right-handed hitters getting on track.”

One more second base option: DeRosa

Brewers general manager Doug Melvin says he wants to stay in-house to fill Rickie Weeks’ absence at second base, but you know he and his assistants are keeping an eye on the trade market.

Here’s another name to throw out there: Mark DeRosa. The Indians would listen to offers, according to SI.com’s Jon Heyman and the Cleveland Plain Dealer, but before you start ordering Brewers jerseys with DeROSA stitched across the back, read on. Both stories say that the Indians would want pitching that can help them today. They’re not ready to give up on the season, and rightfully so since it’s May 20.

So if those are the criteria and you’re Doug Melvin and you’re interested in DeRosa, what kind of deal could you put together? The Brewers lead Major League Baseball in quality starts and the bullpen has been excellent since Trevor Hoffman took his spot at the back end. Would you be willing to trade away some of that stability for the improvement DeRosa would give you over a Craig Counsell//Hernan Iribarren/Casey McGehee platoon? Would DeRosa, a right-handed hitter and a .262 hitter at Miller Park, be an improvement over that group?

Those are the kind of questions Melvin and his staff has to ask.

Ash on Weeks: 'Obviously, we're concerned'

From the desk of the Director of the Obvious: The Brewers would not have made the quick decision to send second baseman Rickie Weeks to see a specialist 1,400 miles away if he had nothing more serious than a sore left wrist.

But “sore wrist” was the only diagnosis on Sunday, when Weeks was injured on a swinging strike three in the first inning in St. Louis. After the game, he already had a flight booked to Phoenix to see the same doctor — Don Sheridan — who performed surgery on Weeks’ right wrist in 2005 and the base of his left thumb in 2006.

Weeks will visit with Sheridan today. Brewers assistant general manager Gord Ash, the point man on injury issues, said the team would make an announcement as soon as Weeks gets a more complete diagnosis and an idea of what comes next.

“Do you think we wake up and decide to send somebody across the country if it wasn’t serious?” Ash said. “That’s about as obvious as can be. … Obviously, we’re concerned. Obviously, there might be a problem, and rather than wait around for five or six days to see what happens, let’s see now.”

Club officials made that decision very quickly as, or shortly after, the Brewers batted around and scored four runs in a first inning that began with Weeks’ strikeout. Shortly after Craig Counsell moved from third base to second and Bill Hall entered the game at third, a club spokesperson announced the nature of Weeks’ injury. Head athletic trainer Roger Caplinger consulted with team physician William Raasch and Ash, and decided to send him to Phoenix. The club’s traveling secretary booked Weeks’ flight before the end of the game.

The injury is especially unfortunate since Weeks is having a fine season. He is batting .272 with a .340 on-base percentage and, along with first baseman Prince Fielder, leads the team with nine home runs. Weeks is tied with Corey Hart for the team lead in runs scored, with 28. 

The rest of the Brewers remained in St. Louis on Sunday and will play a make-up of Friday’s rainout on Monday night. That means the team is about a four-hour drive or a short flight from Nashville, home of their Triple-A affiliate.

Ash was asked if any players made the trip to St. Louis just in case it becomes clear Weeks will head to the disabled list.

“No. You can’t do it,” Ash said. “I know clubs do it, but it’s against the rules.”

Options at Nashville would include Hernan Iribarren, a left-handed hitter who played stints with the Brewers last season and is hitting .311 in the Minors this year while playing exclusively at second base. Nashville is also home to slick-fielding shortstop Alcides Escobar, but with third baseman Mat Gamel promoted to the Majors last week, it’s unlikely the Brewers would want both of their top prospects sitting on the big league bench.

With right-hander Kyle Lohse starting for St. Louis on Monday, left-handed hitter Counsell will probably play second base. The Brewers will then travel to Houston to face two left-handers — Mike Hampton and Wandy Rodriguez — in those games, so righty-hitter Casey McGehee is an option. McGehee played a lot of second base in Spring Training and replaced Weeks there on April 21 in Philadelphia after Weeks collided with shortstop J.J. Hardy.

Braun has numbers vs. Wellemeyer

Ryan Braun has been pretty quiet since he homered on back-to-back nights against the Cubs on May 8-9, going 3-for-19 with no RBIs in five games since then. Maybe today is his day; he’s 6-for-8 in his career against St. Louis starter Todd Wellemeyer with a home run and two walks.

Craig Counsell starts at third today over Bill Hall. Counsell is 2-for-4 against the St. Louis right-hander, Hall is 0-for-8.

Rickie Weeks  2B
Craig Counsell  3B
Ryan Braun  LF
Prince Fielder  1B
Mike Cameron  CF
J.J. Hardy  SS
Corey Hart  RF
Jason Kendall  C
Manny Parra  LHP

Hardy exits with alarming symptoms

Brewers shortstop J.J. Hardy hopes he made a preemptive strike against a looming migraine headache.

Hardy exited Wednesday’s win over the Marlins in the seventh inning after experiencing some alarming symptoms. He said he played his final half-inning with very little vision in his left eye and numbness in his left hand, which doctors said were precursors to a headache.

“I’m hoping I took the medicine before the migraine kicks in,” Hardy said.

He hit an RBI triple in the second inning, and made the second and third outs in Milwaukee’s 11-batter, five-run fourth. Hardy exited the game in the top of the seventh as part of a Brewers double-switch, with Craig Counsell moving from third base to shortstop and Bill Hall entering the game to play third.

The Brewers will have additional coverage beginning Thursday should Hardy miss a game or two. Third base prospect Mat Gamel was promoted from Triple-A Nashville, and while he’s likely to be limited to pinch-hitter or designated-hitter duties, he also could play third in a pinch to free Counsell for shortstop.

On Braun, Lawrie, Counsell, Uecker…

Catching up after a quality off-day:

  • Braun rudely bumped my story about Brett Lawrie’s switch to second base from the top slot on Brewers.com down to No. 2. That move has been pretty well panned by actual and armchair scouts alike, but Reid Nichols is genuinely pleased with how it’s been going. One thing is sure — that kid, even with one of the weirdest batting stances I’ve ever seen, can really hit.
  • Speaking of weird batting stances, or at least formerly weird, Craig Counsell is forcing himself into the starting lineup against right-handers. The Brewers face a bunch of righties coming up, so it will be interesting to see just how manager Ken Macha splits time between Counsell and Bill Hall.
  • Tuesday afternoon, the Brewers are holding a press conference to induct Bob Uecker into the Braves Wall of Honor at Miller Park. I believe that’s on the field-level concourse at Miller Park, so check it out if you go to any of the games against the Marlins this week. I’m going to go out on a limb and say Uecker will have some great one-liners in his question and answer session. My favorite is that he signed with the Braves in 1956 for $3,000, which was a lot of money at the time, but his dad found a way to scrape it up. 

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.

Escobar will take grounders at short, second

Alcides Escobar was optioned to Triple-A Nashville this evening but he was feeling good about his camp, and about his chances of breaking back into the big leagues at some point this season.

To that end, the slick-fielding shortstop will take ground balls at short and at second base during his time in Nashville, a move to make him as versatile as possible in case an injury creates a need in Milwaukee. He once again declared himself ready for the Majors on Wednesday.

“I’m happy that I got all of Spring Training with the team,” Escobar said. “I’m going to be ready if something happens to a [Brewers] player.

“They’re sending me to Triple-A to play every day and work on my strike-zone [judgment], and I’m going to do that. I’m ready to play in the big leagues. I’m ready. But right now, J.J. Hardy is the shortstop.”

The Brewers were able to option Escobar because Craig Counsell, Hardy’s backup, has chosen to forgo surgery to repair torn cartilage in his right knee. Counsell tested the joint in five straight games with no limitations. As long as he can tolerate the pain, he’ll continue to play. 

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