Results tagged ‘ David Riske ’

Brewers release Riske

The Brewers released right-hander David Riske on Monday and plan to make a corresponding roster move on Tuesday before the opener of a three-game series against the Dodgers. If outfielder Carlos Gomez passes his concussion tests, he could be part of that corresponding move.

Riske signed a three-year, $13 million contract with the Brewers at the 2007 Winter Meetings but developed elbow pain during his first season with the team and underwent a Tommy John reconstruction in June 2008. In 69 appearances, he had a 5.40 ERA. 
The Brewers are on the hook for what’s left of Riske’s $4.5 million salary in 2010. He was unhappy with his role on the team as a mop-up man, and posted a 5.01 ERA in 23 appearances since returning from his injury. Only two of those 23 games were Brewers wins. 
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Riske returns, Hawkins way behind

The Brewers announced in their media notes today that reliever David Riske had been reinstated from the 60-day disabled list and would be in uniform tonight for the series opener at Miller Park against the Cubs. Riske takes the 25-man roster spot vacated over the weekend by Todd Coffey, who was placed on the 15-day DL with a thumb injury, and takes a 40-man roster spot from LaTroy Hawkins, who was shifted to the 60-day DL. The only diagnosis the Brewers have offered for Hawkins is “right shoulder fatigue.”

More on those moves to come. Here’s the lineup:
Rickie Weeks  2B
Carlos Gomez  CF
Prince Fielder  1B
Ryan Braun  LF
Casey McGehee  3B
Corey Hart  RF
Alcides Escobar  SS
George Kottaras  C
Yovani Gallardo  RHP
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Capuano close to a comeback

Look for an “inbox” to appear on Brewers.com later today with some of your questions about the first two weeks of the season. Topics include the team’s early-season pitching struggles, Carlos Gomez and Triple-A infielder Adam Heether, plus some injury updates.
I thought I would preview that final topic because it involves left-hander Chris Capuano, a player many of you have been following as he attempts to return from his second Tommy John surgery:
On an off day, it might be good to update us Brewer fans about some injuries. How far away are Chris Capuano and David Riske from coming back? How about in the Minors with Adam Stern, Brendan Katin and Mat Gamel all on the disabled list? Just wanted to get an idea on timetable and how far the guys are in their rehab or how serious the injuries are.
– Jordan K., no hometown
Thanks to Brewers assistant general manager Gord Ash for some answers to Jordan’s e-mail. The main bit of news from Gord is that the left-hander Capuano, who had a bit of a Spring Training setback in his return from Tommy John elbow surgery, is “close” to returning to game action and could be activated before the end of this week. The team would then have to decide where to send Capuano to pitch, with warm-weather Brevard County, Fla. (home of the organization’s advanced Class A affiliate) one strong contender. Capuano looked extremely sharp before his setback, so let’s not count him out to help the big club just yet. 
Riske is also coming back from Tommy John surgery but remains well behind Capuano. According to Ash, Riske is on track to begin a 30-day rehabilitation assignment around the end of April. 
Stern (rib-cage strain) is about two weeks away from returning to action and Gamel (shoulder) is still about a month away, according to Ash. Gamel might have made the Brewers’ Opening Day roster if he had not suffered a slightly torn muscle behind his right — throwing — shoulder. 
The Brewers are still evaluating Katin, Ash said. The outfielder was off to a tremendously hot start for Triple-A Nashville (four homers and nine RBIs in nine games) before he suffered a foot injury on Friday. It’s too early to know how much time he will miss, according to the team.
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'Great' bullpen session for Hawkins

Brewers reliever LaTroy Hawkins tested his right shoulder in the bullpen on Saturday and said there’s no reason to fret about his availability for Opening Day.  
Hawkins has not pitched in a Cactus League game since March 11, when he developed what he called “tightness” behind his shoulder. Saturday’s 30-pitch session marked his first mound work since then, and Hawkins needed only one word to describe how it went:  
“Great,” he said. “That’s all you need to write: Great.”  
A few years ago, Hawkins might not have been so chipper. Saturday, after all, was only two weeks and two days shy of the Brewers’ April 5 season opener against the Rockies, and the last place Hawkins would want to begin his tenure with the team is on the disabled list. He signed a two-year, $7.5 million contract with Milwaukee at the Winter Meetings to serve as a setup man to closer Trevor Hoffman. 
Two weeks, Hawkins insisted, is plenty of time to get ready. He learned that last year when he had to prepare quickly to pitch for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic. 
“That’s the only reason I didn’t panic this time,” he said, “because I had the experience with the WBC and had no problems. I think I threw about seven games and that was it. So if I can do that here, I’ll be fine.”  
Hawkins is aiming to return to game action on Monday, when the Brewers host the Dodgers. But he said he would have to confer with pitching coach Rick Peterson and the team’s athletic training staff before making a decision.
Fellow reliever Davis Riske also threw a bullpen on Saturday as he continues his road back from Tommy John surgery. Left-hander Chris Capuano was originally slated for a bullpen, too, but at Peterson’s suggestion he instead played long toss. Capuano, who has trying to return from a second Tommy John surgery, should return to the mound within a few days.   
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Emptying Thursday's notebook

Some random thoughts from Thursday morning:

First baseman Prince Fielder and infielder Luis Cruz reported to camp, leaving only shortstop Alcides Escobar yet to arrive. Escobar’s flight from Venezuela was canceled on Wednesday, so he’s expect to arrive at Maryvale Baseball Park on Friday, assistant GM Gord Ash said. 
When he does arrive, manager Ken Macha intends to work him slowly into the rotation. Escobar played winter ball in Venezuela and saw much more playing time than the Brewers might have liked, hitting .393 in 45 games and 173 at-bats. 
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Rehabbing reliever David Riske was scheduled to throw off a bullpen mound on Thursday, and Macha believed it was Riske’s first such workout since he reported to camp. Riske underwent Tommy John elbow surgery last June and remains a long shot to be ready for Opening Day. He threw some bullpen sessions at home in Las Vegas before reporting for Spring Training.
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Something would have to go terribly wrong for the Brewers to need a backup first baseman this season, but Macha said that the job could go to outfielder Jim Edmonds, assuming Edmonds makes the roster. Edmonds, one of baseball’s best center fielders in the past two decades, has appeared at first in 51 Major League games over eight different seasons. 
“Willie [Randolph, Milwaukee's infield coach] had him over there the other day and he was picking it pretty good,” Macha said. 
Fielder was the only player in the Majors who appeared in all of his team’s games last season. He started all 162 games and played all but four innings. Casey McGehee backed him up. 
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Macha told reporters that he’s working to improve his personal relationships with players this spring. He’s always had an open door policy, but realizes that sometimes it’s best to invite a player to walk through that door. 
“Am I going to change? Well, we’re working on it,” Macha said. 
One player took advantage of the open door on Thursday. After checking out his locker in the clubhouse, Fielder went straight for the manager’s office. 
“He had a big smile on his face,” Macha said. “He’s ready.”
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Riske blames Maddux for arm woes

On Monday, David Riske will be just eight months removed from Tommy John surgery, a procedure that can require 12 months of rehabilitation. Still, the reliever is hoping to be active for the Brewers on Opening Day. 
“I’d say it’s a long shot, but it’s a possibility,” Riske said. “It just all depends on how fast it responds, and then when I can face hitters and how fast it responds after that.”
Riske has been rehabbing at home in Las Vegas and began throwing off a mound two weeks ago. That’s a significant milestone.
The Brewers would love to get some production from Riske this season because so far his three-year contract has not paid off. Riske says his troubles began during his first Spring Training with the Brewers in 2007, when then-pitching coach Mike Maddux tried to introduce a curveball to his repertoire. 
“I wish I would have never, ever tried to learn those breaking balls because that’s really w
hat triggered it,” Riske said. “What do you do? You want to do what they want, and it gradually got worse and worse. … My whole career, I threw 95 percent fastballs, and I’ve had a pretty good career up until last year. I wish I would have just said no.”
Riske said he objected, but tried to pitch through the pain. He posted a 5.31 ERA in 45 appearances in 2008 and was shut down after Sept. 7. 
Riske is due $4.5 million in 2010 and his contract calls for a $4.75 million option for 2011 or a $250,000 buyout. 
He expects to be limited at the start of Spring Training and will follow a program prescribed by Brewers’ doctors. Pitchers and catchers will participate in their first formal workout on Feb. 22. 
“I miss competition,” Riske said. “I’ve been competing with my boys at home, and that’s just not the same. I want that back. I just want to go pitch without hurting.”
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Brewers eye free agent pitching market

Surprise, surprise. Brewers general manager Doug Melvin spent his time at this week’s General Managers Meetings in Chicago focused on pitching.

Melvin spoke this week with agent Arn Tellem, who represents free agent left-hander Randy Wolf, and Steve Canter, the agent for free-agent left-hander Doug Davis, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. At some point he also expressed interest in left-hander Jarrod Washburn, Washburn’s agent Scott Boras told the newspaper.

According to a Major League source, Melvin also met with Steve Hilliard, who represents righty John Lackey, the top available pitcher. In a chat with the Journal Sentinel before heading home to Milwaukee, Melvin downplayed the Brewers’ chances of landing Lackey. 

“It depends what they’re asking for,” Melvin said. “I don’t know if it could fit or not. I might have to make some other moves to make it fit.” 

The Brewers may have jumped to the top of the list of teams expected to pursue Lackey last week, when Melvin brought up Lackey’s name in a discussion of his plan to bolster a pitching staff that ranked next-to-last in the National League in 2009. 

Melvin said he would have to focus on bounce-back candidates coming off poor- or injury-plagued seasons, and indeed he has already checked in with the agent for Mark Mulder, who missed all of 2009 with shoulder woes. At some point Milwaukee could also check in with former Brewer Ben Sheets, who never pitched in 2009 after undergoing elbow surgery.

But at the same time, Melvin would not rule out a look at the top shelf of free agents. 

“There’s one guy that stands out and it’s John Lackey,” Melvin told reporters on a conference call last Friday. “He’s head and shoulders above the others. … You look at the consistency of pitchers who are out there and John Lackey is a great competitor, but we’ll have to take a look at that and see.” 

Since Melvin raised Lackey’s name without being asked, he was pressed on the matter. Is he a free agent of interest to the Brewers? 

“We’ll leave that discussion internally for ourselves,” Melvin said. “When you get involved in free agency and you talk about people, then all you’re doing is letting people know you’re interested and it drives the prices up. So I’m not going to say who we’re interested in or who we’re not.” 

It’s a two-way street, said Melvin, who believes most free agents enter the market with a short list of teams they prefer. 

“It’s our job to find out if we’re on that list of teams,” Melvin said.  

If the Brewers are on Lackey’s list, then Melvin might have to move some more payroll, as he suggested to the Journal Sentinel on Wednesday. 

Melvin has already said he won’t pursue center fielder Mike Cameron, who earned $10 million last year, and has hinted that Jason Kendall’s $5 million salary might not fit next year, either. His highest-paid returning players are starter Jeff Suppan (due $12.5 million in 2010, the final year of his four-year contract), first baseman Prince Fielder ($10.5 million), closer Trevor Hoffman ($7.5 million) and reliever David Riske ($4.5 million in the final year of his three-year deal). 

More decisions are coming. The Brewers have until Saturday to exercise their half of starter Braden Looper’s $6.5 million mutual option, and pitcher Dave Bush (who made $4 million in 2009), outfielder Corey Hart ($3.25 million) and second baseman Rickie Weeks ($2.45 million) head the list of arbitration-eligible players whose salaries could jump again. 

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Brewers add Heether to roster

heether.jpgThe Brewers added infielder Adam Heether to the 40-man roster on Monday while reinstating second baseman Rickie Weeks and right-handers Mark DiFelice and David Riske from the 60-day disabled list.

Six spots were cleared last week when outfielders Mike Cameron, Frank Catalanotto and Corey Patterson, catcher Jason Kendall and infielder Felipe Lopez elected free agency and the team declined reliever David Weathers’ club option, making him a free agent.

The Brewers say their 40-man roster stands at 37. But that figure still includes free agents Craig Counsell, Claudio Vargas and Weathers, who as of Monday morning had not formally filed for free agency. 

[Counsell and Weathers did file later in the day Monday, further reducing the roster to 35 players.]

Heether turns 28 in January and could be a right-handed utility option for the Brewers next season because he can play any infield position and also saw action in left field in 2009. He spent most of the year at Triple-A Nashville, where he batted .293 with 16 home runs, 59 RBIs and an outstanding .400 on-base percentage. He’s currently playing for Caracas in the Venezuelan Winter League.

Weeks, DiFelice and Riske will all be returning from injury. Weeks, expected back next year as Milwaukee’s leadoff hitter, underwent surgery in early may to repair a tendon sheath in his left wrist and has now had both wrists surgically-repaired.  Riske lost the whole season to Tommy John surgery on his right elbow and will be entering the final season of a three-year contract. DiFelice ended the season on the DL with a shoulder injury but avoided surgery.

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Riske moved to 60-day DL

The Brewers on Thursday morning formally made the roster moves they previewed last night. The team purchased Chris Smith’s contract from Triple-A Nashville, opened a spot on the 25-man roster by placing Mark DiFelice on the bereavement list and opened a spot on the 40-man roster by shifting injured reliever David Riske to the 60-day DL.

Smith will be wearing No. 52 tonight against the Marlins.

DiFelice, who has not pitched since Sunday because of a sore elbow, can spend a maximum of seven days on the bereavement list but he hopes to return a few days early. He will leave the team on Saturday to attend his grandmother’s funeral on Sunday in Philadelphia. Monday is an off-day for the Brewers, who return to host the Rockies on Tuesday at Miller Park.

I don’t think there’s any significance to the decision to tab Riske for the 60-day DL instead of Rickie Weeks. Brewers officials say both are out for the season, and Riske has no chance of bucking that pronouncement because he underwent Tommy John surgery on Tuesday. Weeks underwent wrist surgery, and some of his teammates admit they are holding out a glimmer of hope that Weeks will return very late in the season, like Yovani Gallardo did last year.

GM Doug Melvin has been asked about that possibility and said it wouldn’t happen. Weeks, he reiterated, is out for the season.

Tommy John surgery for Riske

Bad news on the David Riske front. The right-handed required full-blown Tommy John surgery to repair the ligament in his right elbow, a procedure that typically requires 9-12 months of rehabilitation. That means Riske’s 2009 season is over, and he could miss the start of 2010.

Riske has one year left on a three-year, $13 million contract. 

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