Results tagged ‘ Eric Gagne ’

Sheets: 'I showed them what I've got'

MLB.com reporter Jesse Sanchez put together a roundup of Ben Sheets’ Tuesday throwing session, during which he threw more than 50 pitches in front of scouts, a few coaches and MLB Network’s Trenni Kusnierek. You can read the story and watch video of Sheets from Trenni here. And there’s also a story from the local newspaper in Monroe, La. 

Two money quotes from the Sheets coverage. First, from the man himself: “I’ve been healthy before in my life and I feel every bit as good as I have in any point of my career,” Sheets said. “That’s what I judge off of. What happens tomorrow or in seven years from now, I don’t know. We are all kind of a walking time bomb and any injury can happen at any time. But at this point, right now, I feel great.”
And this, from Brewers assistant GM Gord Ash in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “Our scout said there was nothing untoward to report either way,” said Ash. “From what we’ve been told, his expectations [for a contract] are way beyond what we think we can do.”
MLB Network analysts Jon Heyman and Tom Verducci guessed last night that Sheets would get a deal similar to Brad Penny’s pact with the Cardinals, which guarantees $7.5 million with $1.5 million more available in incentives. Barring some other moves to free payroll, that’s out of the Brewers’ price range. Never mind the inherent risk of signing someone who didn’t pitch the previous season. 
But if Sheets stays healthy in 2010 and resembles his former self, he could end up being the best signing of the offseason. The Reds, Cubs and Cardinals were among the National League Central clubs with scouts at Tuesday’s showcase. 
In other former Brewers news, I saw on the website MLB Trade Rumors, via the Philadelphia Daily News, that Eric Gagne will work out for the Phillies today. Gagne last pitched in the Majors in 2008 with Milwaukee and actually finished the year strong as a setup man after flaming out as the closer. 
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Brewers 'don't see' reunion with Gagne

Former All-Star closer Eric Gagne told reporters in his native Canada last week that he wants to return to organized baseball as a starter and that he’s open to beginning the year in the Minor Leagues. But his most recent Major League employer doesn’t plan to be among the teams considering Gagne as a reclamation project.

“I don’t see that,” Brewers assistant GM Gord Ash wrote in an e-mail.

Gagne last pitched in the big leagues in 2008 with Milwaukee, compiling a 5.44 ERA in 50 games. He signed for $10 million and was a bust as the Brewers’ closer, but returned from a midseason shoulder injury and was actually a solid contributor down the stretch, with a 4.33 ERA in 30 appearances beginning July 3 including a 0.84 ERA in 11 games after Sept. 2. Including two scoreless appearances in the postseason, Gagne didn’t allow a run in 12 of his final 13 games. He was extremely popular in the front offices at Miller Park for his charitable contributions. 

That combination of on- and off-field factors prompted the Brewers to give Gagne a shot last spring on a Minor League contract in February. He reported to camp looking to win a roster spot but his bid was derailed by the recurrence of shoulder woes and the Brewers released him on March 8.

After rehab, Gagne signed as a player/coach with the Quebec Capitales in the independent Canadian-American League. In 17 games, all starts, he was 6-6 with a 4.65 ERA and two complete games. The Capitales won the league championship and Gagne, according to a report on Yahoo! Sports, honed the cut fastball he occasionally threw in Milwaukee to compliment his fastball, curveball and change-up. 

Speaking at a charity event on Nov. 12 in Quebec City, Gagne said he wants to make one more bid for the Majors. He said it would be “fun” to return to the Dodgers, for whom Gagne had his most success, including a stretch of 84 consecutive saves from 2002-2004, but he’s open to any interested club. 

Gagne turns 34 in January.The Brewers already have some veteran-type arms at Triple-A including Mike Burns, who already signed a Minor League deal to return for 2010. Burns, 31, posted a 5.75 ERA in 15 appearances for the Brewers in 2009 including eight starts. He ended the season with a shoulder injury but avoided surgery.

In terms of Gagne-style reclamations the Brewers may bring back former All-Star left-hander Chris Capuano, who is attempting a comeback from his second career Tommy John surgery. Capuano, also 31, pitched in six games for low-level Brewers affiliates late last season with some success. He’s a free agent again this winter.

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Brewers release Gagne

The Brewers released reliever Eric Gagne on Sunday and announced the right-hander will rehabilitate his right shoulder injury at a private facility in suburban Phoenix.

Gagne was in Milwaukee’s camp as a non-roster invitee hoping to win an Opening Day roster spot, but his bid was derailed last week when he developed soreness in his shoulder. An MRI scan revealed damage to the labrum and rotator cuff, and two doctors recommended that Gagne receive a cortisone shot and try rehab before succumbing to surgery.

One of those doctors, Angels physician Lewis Yocum, will supervise Gagne’s progress at Physiotherapy Associates in Tempe, Ariz., a private facility that is popular during the offseason with scores of Major Leaguers.

“Rather than have him rehab at Grand Central Station over there on the Minor League side,” said assistant general manager Gord Ash, referring to Milwaukee’s complex at Maryvale Baseball Park, “it’s probably better that he’s in that [private] environment. If and when he’s ready to pitch, we’ll look at him again.”

Gagne’s deal would have paid a $1.5 million base salary if he made the Major League roster.

Riske to pitch; Gagne mulling surgery

Rapid-fire injury updates:

- Noted orthopedist Lewis Yocum examined reliever Eric Gagne on Saturday morning and concurred with Brewers head physician William Raasch: Gagne has labrum and rotator cuff damage, but should take a cortisone shot and attempt a course of rehab before succumbing to surgery. The decision is now up to Gagne.

Brewers general manager Doug Melvin was conferring with Gagne’s agent, Scott Boras, on Saturday afternoon about what comes next. It’s unclear whether Gagne, who is in camp on a Minor League contract and now probably won’t make the team, will remain at Maryvale Basebale Park or depart.

- Fellow reliever David Riske will pitch an inning in a Minor League game on Sunday at Maryvale Baseball Park, his first game action since right elbow surgery last September. Mangaer Ken Macha said the team preferred a controlled environment for Riske’s first outing; if he reaches his pitch count (20), they can simply call off the rest of the inning.

- Righty Braden Looper played long toss on Saturday morning and said he continues to feel improvement from a strained muscle at the back of his ribcage. He hopes to throw off a mound soon, but there is no set schedule to do so.

And on a completely different pre-game topic:

- The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Tom Haudricourt made the interesting observation during batting practice that all four of Milwaukee’s managerial candidates were standing within 10 feet of each other on Saturday. In addition to Ken Macha, who got the job, and Willie Randolph and Dale Sveum, who took jobs as Brewers coaches, Cubs broadcaster Bob Brenly was standing behind the cage watching BP. 

Gagne to see Dr. Yocum, Crew season likely over

Eric Gagne will see noted orthopedist Lewis Yocum in Tempe, Ariz. on Saturday for a second opinion on his injured right shoulder. Whether or not Gagne opts for surgery, it appears extremely unlikely that he’ll win a spot on the Brewers’ big league roster.

“I would say impossible,” assistant general manager Gord Ash said.

Yocum is an Angels team doctor and a specialist in Tommy John elbow surgeries. He will take a second look an an MRI scan of Gagne’s shoulder that was read this week by Brewers head physician William Raasch, who identified damage to multiple parts of the shoulder, including the labrum and rotator cuff.

Raasch was leaning toward a course of rehabilitation but Gagne may choose a surgical fix, which would require a rehab of at least four months before he begins a throwing program.

Even if he does opt for rehab, Gagne probably will not do it with the Brewers. His Minor League contract — which was to pay $1.5 million if he made the Major League roster — includes a March 26 “out date” on which Gagne could elect free agency if he was not on the roster. Even if he does not exercise that right, it’s unlikely that the Brewers would keep him in the Minor League system because of his relatively high, six-figure salary.

“You have to understand that our interest in signing Eric was to pitch at the Major League level,” Ash said. “We don’t have any interest in having him as a Minor League player.”

Injured Gagne 'weighing his options'

Brewers nonroster reliever Eric Gagne sat in front of a computer screen for nearly an hour on Thursday, listening to team doctor William Raasch explain the MRI image of Gagne’s right shoulder. It did not appear to be a pleasant chat.

“The quote from Roger [Caplinger, the Brewers' head athletic trainer] is, “He is weighing his options,'” manager Ken Macha said.

Presumably, that means Gagne is considering a surgical fix to the soreness in his shoulder, an injury that also landed him on the disabled list last season. But assistant general manager Gord Ash, the team’s point man on injuries, would not confirm that, and Gagne was not available to reporters during open clubhouse time Friday morning.

Ash was consulting with Gagne’s agent, Scott Boras, on Friday to decide a course of action.

Looper, Gagne, Gwynn, Salome on injury report

Brewers skipper Ken Macha came armed with a note for his Thursday morning meeting with reporters because there were so many injuries to update. Among them:

- The team’s medical staff is encouraged by Braden Looper’s recovery from a tight oblique muscle, and he might be kept off the mound for seven days instead of 10-14. Macha also noted that Looper has been able to participate in plyometric throwing exercises since he tweaked the muscle, meaning he will not have to start from scratch when he gets back on the mound. Perhaps he’ll be in the rotation on Opening Day, after all.

“It’s going to be small steps every day and there won’t be any giants jumps forward,” Macha said.

- Reliever Eric Gagne was sent out for an MRI exam Thursday on his sore right shoulder. Gagne’s Minor League contract includes a March 26 out date on which he can elect free agency if he’s not placed on the roster, and Macha conceded that it will be tough to evaluate Gagne in that tight timeframe.

When a reporter commented that his injury will make it difficult for Gagne to make the team, Macha responded, “That’s an excellent observation. … Talking to Eric, he wants to play. How they figure this all out, they will start to develop a path once they read the MRI and see what’s going on.”

- Outfielder Tony Gwynn Jr., who had an MRI scan on Monday, received a cortisone shot Thursday morning for his right shoulder injury and will be shut down for three days. It’s another setback for Gwynn, who is way behind in the race for reserve outfield spots, but at least it comes at a good time. Gwynn will travel home to San Diego, where his wife, Alyse, will give birth to the couple’s second child.

“He got a shot, and hopefully that will clear [the shoulder inflammation] up,” Macha said. “If it doesn’t, then how they read that MRI was going to determine how they go on after that.”

- Catcher Angel Salome, who has served as a designated hitter in Cactus League games but has yet to play defense, is sidelined by tightness in the middle of his back. Salome departed Maryvale Baseball Park early Thursday after seeing Raasch, presumably for an x-ray and additional off-site tests.

- Third baseman Mat Gamel is making steady progress in his return from a sore right shoulder. He played catch with head athletic trainer Roger Caplinger on Thursday and remains about seven days away from full activity. Gamel served as the designated hitter in Thursday’s exhibition against the Australian national team.

- Reliever David Riske threw 40 pitches of live batting practice on Thursday, and it could be his final hurdle before appearing in a game. Riske and Gagne are the only pitchers in big league camp yet to pitch in a game.

Injury updates galore

Lots of injury news today, and much of it is not very promising:

- Both assistant GM Gord Ash and manager Ken Macha raised the possibility that Braden Looper’s oblique injury will force the right-hander to the disabled list for the start of the season. The team plans to shut him down for two weeks, meaning Looper will have to start from scratch about a month after the start of camp.

- Eric Gagne developed shoulder soreness late last week, throwing a wrench into his chances of making the club. He can opt out of his Minor League contract if he’s not placed on the 40-man roster by that date, but he has to pitch before the Brewers can make a decision.

“The date is his call,” Ash said. “If he wants to depart, he can. If he doesn’t want to depart, he doesn’t have to. Clearly, and I spoke to him this morning, he’s running out of time.”

- Tony Gwynn Jr.’s shoulder injury might be more serious than originally thought, though Ash declined to offer details until head doctor William Raasch reads the results of Monday’s MRI scan. Raasch will be back in camp on Thursday and will also examine Gagne.

- The Brewers are encouraged by Bill Hall’s recovery from a slight left calf tear, but he will not play in a Cactus League game until late next week at the earliest. Hall took part in some running drills on Tuesday.

- Reliever David Riske, who underwent surgery last fall to remove a bone spur, is scheduled for another live batting practice session on Thursday and then should be ready to appear in games.

- Third base prospect Mat Gamel returned to camp this week after going home for the birth of his first child, but he continues to rehab a sore throwing shoulder. Gamel was to appear as a pinch-hitter against the Rockies on Tuesday and will also get at-bats in a Minor League intra-squad game on Wednesday.
  

Emptying the notebook…

- Outfielder Ryan Braun is the Brewers’ resident fashion mogul. A story about his new clothing line, Remetee, will be on Brewers.com later today.

- The Brewers were unable to find a willing opponent for a “B” game on March 4 so manager Ken Macha instead scheduled an intrasquad game to keep his pitchers on track. For now, that’s left-hander Manny Parra’s day to pitch, and he will face a lineup of Minor Leaguers assembled by farm director Reid Nichols.

The Brewers do have a “B” game scheduled for March 10 in Surprise, Ariz. against the Rangers. They will play another intrasquad game on Tuesday in advance of the Feb. 25 Cactus League opener.

- Assistant general manager Gord Ash had his sit-down with Mat Gamel, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Macha was also there as the Brewers laid out their expectations for Gamel, who once again has a surprise injury. The good news is that his right shoulder impingement is not considered serious, and while Gamel is limited from throwing he was able to take part in batting practice on Thursday.

- Brewers pitchers faced hitters for the first time on Thursday. R.J. Swindle’s slow, looping curveball elicited some awkward swings, and some of the club’s baseball officials gathered to watch Trevor Hoffman face a group that included Brad Nelson.

- A downright skinny Ray King dropped by Maryvale Baseball Park and said he’s looking for a job. King, a left-handed reliever who pitched for the Brewers from 2000-2002 and again at the end of 2007, appeared in only 12 games last season for Washington but posted a 2.25 ERA in 32 games for the Astros’ Triple-A club and then pitched well in the Dominican Republic over the winter. He said he has been throwing at his nearby home in Litchfield park, Ariz. and is open to even a Triple-A job. The offseason market has not been kind to the 35-year-old.

“Crickets,” King said. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”

- Brewers Minor Leaguer Alex Periard was thrilled when the Brewers signed Eric Gagne and assigned him a spot in the clubhouse four lockers away. Periard and Gagne are both natives of Quebec, and Periard has never had a Franch-speaking teammate. Gagne has; he teamed with catcher Russell Martin in Los Angeles.

- Jeff Suppan took the “gold medal” in a bunting competition earlier this week between Brewers pitchers. Lindsay Gulin won the silver medal and Mark Rogers took home the bronze.

- Macha plans to control opponents’ running game from the bench this season. Last year, then-bench coach Ted Simmons allowed catchers Jason Kendall and Mike Rivera to do it themselves, meaning the players didn’t have to look into the dugout for signs calling for pickoffs and the like. Macha thinks coaches have a better perspective of what opponents are trying to do from the bench.

- Third base coach Brad Fisher started a new camp tradition on Thursday. Every morning before the Brewers stretch, one of the team’s Minor Leaguers will be subjected to a question and answer session. Judging by the laughter coming from the group that surrounded catching prospect Angel Salome, there were some good questions.

- The MLB Network is making the rounds in the Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues and will feature the Brewers on Sunday, March 15 at 7 p.m. CT. Former FSN Wisconsin sideline reporter Trenni Kusnierek will file the report.

Gagne withdraws from Classic

Following his head instead of his heart, Eric Gagne reluctantly pulled out of the World Baseball Classic to focus on winning a job in the Brewers bullpen.

Gagne was on the provisional roster for Team Canada and wanted to play in the tournament, but that would mean departing Maryvale Baseball Park on March 1 and missing at minimum a week of camp. Canada plays in Pool C with the U.S., Venezuela and Italy and has a decent chance to advance past the first round, which would extend Gagne’s absence even longer.

That would have complicated things for the Brewers, who have to place Gagne on the 40-man roster by March 25 or offer him free agency. Gagne discussed his options with fellow Canuck and Brewers general manager Doug Melvin, who passed along word to Canadian officials that Gagne would stay in Phoenix.

Gagne, by the way, joined the legion of Brewers to undergo Lasik surgery over the winter, so we won’t see him trying to un-fog those goggles this season. Third baseman Bill Hall and pitcher Chris Capuano underwent similar procedures, joining catcher Jason Kendall, who did it last year.

Speaking of the Classic, there’s no official word yet from Yovani Gallardo, who is on Mexico’s provisional roster but has not formally decided whether he will play. Rosters for the tournament must be finalized by Tuesday.
 

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