Results tagged ‘ Dave Bush ’

Three Brewers hit the market; three more coming

The celebration was still raging inside the Giants’ clubhouse in Arlington and outside in the streets of San Francisco on Monday night when baseball’s offseason business began. Before midnight, the Major League Baseball Players Association fired up the hot stove by releasing the names of 142 free agents, including three Brewers. 
Per new rules made public just last month, Milwaukee pitchers Dave Bush and Chris Capuano and infielder Craig Counsell were declared free agents immediately after the Giants clinched the World Series. Three more — pitchers Doug Davis and Trevor Hoffman and catcher Gregg Zaun — are expected to join the free agent pool when the Brewers decline their 2011 options. 
The new rules dictate that options must be resolved within three days of the end of the World Series, Milwaukee assistant general manager Gord Ash said. That would make Thursday at midnight ET the deadline. 
The rules also shorten the period of exclusive negotiation between teams and their own free agents from 15 days after the World Series to five. That window closes at midnight ET on Saturday. Beginning Sunday, free agents can negotiate with any team. 
Players typically exercise their right to test the open market, but the Brewers may show some interest in bringing back Capuano or Counsell. With Capuano, the question could be whether the team is willing to take on risk — the left-hander returned in 2010 from his second career Tommy John surgery but pitched well, posting a 3.95 ERA in 24 appearances including a 2.91 ERA in six September starts. With Counsell, the question could be whether he views the Brewers as a legitimate contender — he batted .250 as a useful bench option and could draw interest from teams looking for a versatile defender. 
The three players with options, meanwhile, will probably move on. 
The highest profile of those players belongs to 43-year-old Hoffman, who notched his 600th career save amid a trying 2010 but was replaced as closer by rookie right-hander John Axford. Hoffman’s contract includes a $7 million mutual option for 2011 that the club will decline. The price of his buyout increased from $500,000 to $750,000 when Hoffman finished his 35th game of the season on Sept. 26. 
Davis’ deal includes a $6.5 million option with a $1 million buyout. His 2010 season was a bust because of health issues. 
Zaun’s contract includes a $2.25 million club option for next season, but he is still recovering from shoulder surgery and will almost certainly get a $250,000 buyout instead. Zaun said in August that he intends to play in 2011, but considering the Brewers have Jonathan Lucroy and George Kottaras on the 40-man roster and Mike Rivera signed to a Minor League contract, it’s difficult to envision Zaun returning. 
Of the Brewers’ free agents, only Hoffman qualified for compensation in the Elias rankings. Hoffman made the cut as Type B, meaning the Brewers would reap an extra pick between the first and second round of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, but only if they offer Hoffman arbitration and he declines and then signs elsewhere. 
It’s a moot point, because the Brewers would not risk Hoffman accepting an arbitration offer. That means the Brewers will not have any extra Draft picks for the second straight year. 
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Good day for the Brewers

The Brewers had not enjoyed this good a day in more than seven years, since they last faced the Mets in a doubleheader. 
Dave Bush outdueled former Brewers farmhand R.A. Dickey on the mound and at the plate, too, driving home the only run in the first seven innings of a 3-1 Brewers win on Wednesday night that finished Milwaukee’s twinbill sweep of New York. 
In the early game, Yovani Gallardo squandered a six-run lead but the Brewers rallied late for an 8-7 win. Milwaukee had not won both ends of a doubleheader since June 5, 2003 at Shea Stadium, and there were similarities — they beat the Mets, 8-7, in the first game that day and scored a two-run win in the second. 
“That’s a long day, especially the way the first one started,” said Ryan Braun, whose two-run double in the second game provided some key insurance runs. “For us to come back is a sign of our resiliency, especially this time of year when we’re obviously not playing for a lot.” 
Bush’s final scheduled start of the season was a good one. He pitched six-plus scoreless innings before exiting what may have been his final outing in a Brewers uniform. He’s a free agent after the season. <p/>
He came to the Brewers in the December 2005 trade that opened first base for Prince Fielder and on Wednesday he made his 144th Milwaukee start.
“It was definitely a nice way to end,” Bush said. “It’s been a difficult year, a disappointing year, a long year. There’s a lot of adjectives I could say that are unflattering, as far as the whole year goes. It’s nice to go out on a good note. I’m aware that it may be the last time I pitch in this uniform.” <p/>
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Bush nearing end of line with Brewers?

When Dave Bush pitches next at Miller Park, what uniform will be wearing?

Consider it a question for the offseason, because barring an injury to one of his teammates Bush is finished for the home portion of the Brewers’ schedule. He took the loss against the Reds on Tuesday after allowing four runs, two earned, in 5 1/3 innings. 
Bush is not Andy Pettitte to the Yankees. He’s not Carlos Zambrano to the Cubs or Ben Sheets (was) to the Brewers. But consider how relatively rare it is for a starter to spend five years in a rotation and that Bush, with 143 Brewers starts, is 12th on the franchise’s all-time leaderboard. Chris Carpenter has made only 15 more St. Louis starts than Bush has made for Milwaukee. 
“I’ve thought about it the last couple of days, not really in the front of my mind, but in the back of it,” Bush said of the potential end to his Brewers tenure. “I don’t know if it’s a sad day, so to speak, but I did think at the end of the game that it could be the last time that I pitch here in this uniform.” 
Bush fell to 7-13 this season but is 28-27 in his career at Miller Park. The Brewers plan to add right-handed pitching prospect Mark Rogers to the rotation beginning Friday, pushing Bush from Sunday’s home-season finale to Monday’s series opener in New York. Depending on how the team juggles its starters over that final road trip, Bush’s next start could be his last of the season. 
Bush’s arrival from Toronto — he came along with pitcher Zach Jackson and outfielder Gabe Gross for popular first baseman Lyle Overbay and pitcher Ty Taubenheim — opened a permanent spot in the Major Leagues for Prince Fielder. 
What does he see in his future? 
“We’ll wait and see. There’s no hurry at this point,” Bush said. “All options are open. I don’t have anything planned or anything set in stone, other than to see what happens. This is my first time through it. I’m not really sure what the offers will be, but I guess I’m a little curious to find out.” 
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Brewers pitchers raking at plate

MILWAUKEE — Facing the Brewers, the No. 9 spot in the batting order is hardly an easy out. Yovani Gallardo reaffirmed that Tuesday night, going 1-for-1 with a solo homer and a walk.


With a .219 batting average, Brewers pitchers lead the National League. Milwaukee’s pitching staff is tied for first with 33 hits and 14 runs. Brewers pitchers also rank first in home runs (3), RBI (14), doubles (8), on-base percentage (.261), slugging percentage (.331), and OPS (.592).

Along with their success, the Brewers staff has even coined a phrase to describe it.

“These guys have got a quote in here in the dugout,” said Brewers manager Ken Macha, “they say, ‘Pitchers rake.'”

While the hurlers’ ability to swing that bat has come in handy quite a bit of late, Macha would like to see them improve on another aspect of the game at the plate: bunting.

The Brewers rank last in the NL with just eight sacrifice bunts, while they have four times as many hits.

“We’ve been working on our bunting,” Macha said. “We’ve got more hits than we do sacrifice bunts. So we’ve been putting some time in on the bunting because eventually we’re going to need to move [a runner] up.”

Still, on the current homestand, Brewers pitchers have been even better at the plate than their season average of .219. More than double that even.

With eight hits in 18 at-bats, the pitching staff had posted a .444 batting average entering Wednesday’s final game of the homestand. Along with that .444 mark, the Brewers have gotten two RBI, five runs, a walk and a home run out of the pitcher’s spot.

Each of the Brewers five starters — Gallardo, Randy Wolf, Dave Bush, Chris Narveson and Manny Parra — has contributed at least one hit while all of them except Bush have either scored a run, driven in a run, or both.

“We have some pretty good [hitting] pitchers,” Gallardo said. “We have a lot of fun up their hitting. Wolfy, Bushie, Narveson and Manny, we take it serious. For certain situations you can only help yourself out. I think that’s what we try to do.

“We joke around out there when we hit BP, but you never know when it’s going to come in handy.”

— Jordan Schelling, Associate Reporter

Macha explains rotation change

Manny Parra was surprised when he arrived at the ballpark on Thursday and was told that he would start Sunday in St. Louis. Dave Bush was even more surprised to learn that he would not. 
Manager Ken Macha said “it is highly likely” that Bush will pitch in the subsequent series against the Cubs at Miller Park. Club officials will meet after the Cardinals series to make some decisions about the starting rotation. 
“We have to see how these guys perform,” Macha said. “Right now, we have the second-highest ERA in the National League and we’re looking for somebody. If you want to step up, step up and claim a spot.” 
Some might say that Bush did just that on Tuesday, when he fell into a 3-0 hole in the first inning but allowed no more runs through the sixth, when the blister cut his night short. 
“We’re not picking on Bush, OK?” Macha said. “We’ve not given Manny a fair shake. We asked him to come in in relief in the extra-inning game at Minnesota [on May 22] and that eliminated the start he was going to get the next day. So this is how this thing fit. We’re not picking on Bush at all. Nobody has said he’s out of the rotation or in the bullpen. He will be there for a couple days and we’ll see how the things fit after Sunday.” 
The Brewers will start a left-hander in all three games against the Cardinals, who entered Thursday batting .243 with a .674 OPS against left-handed pitchers and .272 with a .782 OPS against righties. 
Bush is 2-6 with a 6.45 ERA in nine career starts against St. Louis including 0-3 with a 10.57 ERA at Busch Stadium. Compare that to Parra, who is 2-1 with a 2.97 ERA in 12 games, including 10 starts, against the Cardinals and is 2-0 with a 2.86 ERA in five starts at Busch Stadium.
In his two starts this season, Parra has only lasted seven total innings. 
“I’m excited any time I get to start,” he said. “But other than the fact I’m going to start Sunday, I know absolutely nothing. It really doesn’t matter, because there’s no reason for me to think about anything else.”  
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Surprised Bush says blister not a factor

Dave Bush said his removal from the starting rotation, at least for Sunday’s game in St. Louis, has nothing to do with the blister that developed on his right middle finger a couple of starts ago. He was simply told Thursday afternoon by manager Ken Macha and pitching coach Rick Peterson that he would not be starting against the Cardinals. 

Left-hander Manny Parra will get that assignment instead. 
“The blister has absolutely nothing to do with it. I don’t know what the rationale is,” Bush said. “They didn’t even ask about my blister. It didn’t come up, it’s not an issue and it didn’t affect me the other day [when Bush pitched six innings against the Marlins]. I don’t really know what’s going on.”
Is he upset?
“I don’t get upset a lot, so I would say no,” he said. “But I don’t have any idea what’s going on. It was sort of vague as an explanation, so I’m hanging in limbo right now other than knowing I won’t be pitching Sunday.”
Manager Ken Macha is meeting with reporters in a few minutes. Here are some numbers in the meantime: Bush is 2-6 with a 6.45 ERA in nine career starts against St. Louis including 0-3 with a 10.57 ERA at Busch Stadium. Parra is 2-1 with a 2.97 ERA in 12 games, including 10 starts, against the Cardinals and is 2-0 with a 2.86 ERA in five starts at Busch Stadium. 
This season, the Cardinals are batting .243 with a .674 OPS against left-handed pitchers and .272 with a .782 OPS against righties. 
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Brewers say Suppan has stiff neck

Brewers manager Ken Macha formally named Dave Bush the team’s No. 4 starter on Tuesday but provided a detail that further clouded the race for the No. 5 slot. 

Jeff Suppan has been getting treatment throughout the spring for a stiff neck and one of the various scenarios has him beginning the season on the disabled list, Macha said. Instead of pitching Suppan in Tuesday’s “A” game against the Angels, the Brewers organized a simulated game in Minor League camp for Suppan. He was expected to throw about 90 pitches. 
The DL is only one of a series of possibilities, but Tuesday’s ‘sim’ game could allow the Brewers to shorten a potential season-opening stint on the 15-day disabled list. Such assignments can be backdated to March 26, providing the player doesn’t pitch in an official Spring Training game.  

Chris Narveson was to start against the Angels and Manny Parra will follow in relief. Narveson, Parra and Suppan are the candidates for the fifth starter’s role, which might not be used until the Brewers’ April 12-15 series at Wrigley Field against the Cubs and is not absolutely needed until the series after that, in Washington. 
Narveson and Parra are out of options and Suppan is guaranteed $12.5 million this season in the final year of his contract. The Brewers have made a priority of preserving their depth after struggling last season to overcome injuries to Suppan and Bush. 
The lineup against the Angels:

Carlos Gomez  CF

Alcides Escobar  SS
Rickie Weeks DH
Prince Fielder  1B
Casey McGehee  3B
Corey Hart  RF
Adam Stern  LF
Brett Lawrie  2B
George Kottaras  C
Ryan Braun is getting one more day off for a stiff back but said he expects to play Wednesday against the Cubs. Macha held out catcher Gregg Zaun one more day because of a sore quadriceps but called that injury very minor. Outfielder Jim Edmonds traveled home to California on Monday night to tend to a family emergency. 
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Bush, Parra continue their bids

Dave Bush did his part. Then it was Manny Parra’s turn. 

Bush turned in five solid innings of work on Thursday afternoon in a “B” game against the Rangers on a side field at the Surprise Stadium complex. He allowed three hits and one earned run, walked one batter and hit another, and struck out five. Bush threw 67 pitches. 
He worked the afternoon affair so the  Brewers could see Parra pitch the regularly-scheduled “A” game against the Rangers Thursday night. In five innings, Parra was charged with five earned runs on six hits including a long Josh Hamilton home run. Parra struck out five and didn’t walk a batter. 
“I actually threw the ball really well,” he said. “I threw the ball better today, execution-wise, than I did the last game and the one before that.” 
Of Hamilton, Parra said, “He’s a beast. I rushed a little bit there, left a pitch over the middle and it was crushed. A lot of these [Rangers] guys, it seems like they’re all four hitters.”
The afternoon B game marked pitching coach Rick Peterson’s second opportunity to see Bush pitch. Bush and Parra have been working on the same day all spring and twice have appeared separately in split-squad affairs. 
Both the right-handed Bush and the left-handed Parra have mostly pitched well this spring, and so has left-hander Chris Narveson. Assuming the Brewers keep righty Jeff Suppan as their fourth starter — which is not set in stone, club officials say, despite Suppan’s hefty salary — then the fifth starters’ spot could come down to Bush, Narveson or Parra. 
Suppan is scheduled to pitch Friday against the Angels. Narveson’s next scheduled turn in the rotation is supposed to come Sunday, but the Brewers need to work out plans for another B game with the Rangers first. 
Parra and Narveson are out of options and the Brewers would have to expose either player to waivers in order to assign him to the Minor Leagues. Bush has options, but he also has enough service time to refuse a demotion. 
Somebody is going to be disappointed in the end. 
“It’s a great problem to have,” Peterson said. 
This might have been the last time Bush and Parra pitch on the same day. Peterson said that one could remain on an every-five-day schedule to work Tuesday against the Indians, and the other could take an extra day of rest and work a Minor League game on Wednesday, the big-league Brewers’ only off-day this spring. 
“This can get strung out all the way to the last week of Spring Training,” Peterson said. “We have it set up so that everybody is going to get as much of a chance to pitch as much as they can possibly pitch before [decisions are rendered]. The key is that as long as these guys are doing well, you delay a decision as long as you possibly can.
“What you hope is that it’s a tie,” Peterson joked, “and they have to have a putt-off or shoot baskets.”
Would Parra like a better idea of how the competition will play out?
“It’s always nice to know what’s going to happen, but I didn’t feel any pressure out there,” he said. “I haven’t felt any pressure with any work I’ve done. I’ve worked my butt off and I understand I have something to prove, but at the same time I feel really good.”
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Crew taking its time on rotation decisions

The Brewers are making arrangements to give themselves as much time as possible to render decisions about the back end of their starting rotation. 
They scheduled a “B” game against the Rangers for Thursday that will allow Dave Bush and Manny Parra to continue working on the same day, and are trying to schedule another for Sunday against the White Sox to allow Chris Narveson to continue pitching on the same day as Randy Wolf. On Tuesday, Wolf pitched a Minor League intrasquad game so Brewers officials could evaluate Narveson in the afternoon’s Cactus League game against the Royals. 
Bush, Narveson and Parra and competing along with Jeff Suppan for two openings in the rotation. 
“We’ve still got a lot of time to figure that out,” Brewers general manager Doug Melvin said. “We talk about it every day.”
Narveson delivered four more scoreless innings against the Royals on Tuesday and has yet to allow a run in three Spring Training starts. He’s building off a strong finish to last season, when Narveson went 1-0 with a 2.73 ERA in five relief appearances and four starts to win the team’s pitcher of the month honor for September/October. 
The Brewers announced before the game that Bush would start an afternoon “B” game against the Rangers before Parra takes the mound for the regularly-scheduled nighttime affair. 
“I talked to Doug about it and I think we’d like to see Parra pitch in the ‘A’ game,” manager Ken Macha said. “We want to see the progress that he’s making. Bush has background and track record. If he’s healthy, he’s going to be able to pitch, and he appears to be healthy. We’re looking for improvement from Parra, and he’s shown that so far.”
Suppan’s next turn in the spring rotation should come Friday against the Angels.
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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.
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.”
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.”
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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