Results tagged ‘ Jeff Suppan ’

Suppan to begin rehab assignment on Saturday

The Brewers’ media notes just came through, and included this nugget: Jeff Suppan will make a rehab start on Saturday with Class-A Wisconsin against Beloit.

Suppan has been on the disabled list with a rib-cage strain. The notes don’t include an update on fellow injured right-hander Dave Bush, who has been out much longer with a triceps injury. Bush threw off the mound Wednesday, and manager Ken Macha said that both pitchers are on a program to return to the rotation before the end of the month.

We’ll try to track down some details about both pitchers’ schedules. Right now, the extra arms would be a boost, allowing the Brewers to move Carlos Villanueva back to the bullpen, where his change-up could help against left-handed hitters while lefty specialist Mitch Stetter tries to figure out why he can’t get them out of late.

Minus Suppan, Melvin still shopping

I just called Brewers general manager Doug Melvin to see if the news of Jeff Suppan’s rib-cage strain — an injury that often sends a pitcher to the disabled list — changes his plan of attack for Friday’s nonwaiver trade deadline.

The answer was no.

“We’re still looking for guys who are available,” Melvin said. “We’d like to get a starter. We’ll have to wait a few days before we find out [about Suppan]. We’ll evaluate then.”

Even if it’s bad news, Melvin will be smart about his aggressiveness on the market.

“I’m not going to go out and give up a better player just because Suppan is out,” he said.

Suppan underwent an MRI scan on Tuesday after complaining of tightness in his side. Right-hander Dave Bush is already on the disabled list with a triceps injury, Seth McClung and Mike Burns were tried out as starters and then bounced from the rotation (McClung is now hurt and Burns is back in Triple-A). Another new starter, Carlos Villanueva, allowed five runs in four innings on Tuesday.

“It’s been tough right now even though we’ve been healthy,” Melvin said. “I have confidence in these guys getting better, but we haven’t pitched well. When you’re not going well, you don’t get the breaks, either.”

Melvin confirmed that he remains in touch with Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik, who holds a chip in left-hander Jarrod Washburn, who was 8-6 with a 2.70 ERA ahead of his Tuesday night start in Toronto. Washburn, a Wisconsin native, is a free agent after the season, and FOXSports.com speculated that Zduriencik, Milwaukee’s former scouting director, might consider injured second baseman Rickie Weeks in return. Zduriencik drafted Weeks in 2003.

Acknowledging only that the teams have been linked in published reports, Melvin said, “We’d like to add a starter, but Jack hasn’t decided yet if he would move one or not.”

Melvin will travel with the team to the West Coast on Thursday evening.  
 

MRI: Dreaded oblique strain for Suppan

A physical ailment may be behind Brewers starter Jeff Suppan’s recent struggles, after all.

A day after the right-hander proclaimed himself healthy, an MRI scan on Tuesday afternoon revealed a left oblique strain, an ailment that struck both Braden Looper and Trevor Hoffman in Spring Training and caused prolonged absences.

Suppan hasn’t won a start since June 12 and the Brewers are 2-6 in his
outings since then. But losing him would be another significant blow to
a struggling starting rotation already missing Dave Bush, who is on the
disabled list with a right triceps injury. Two others — Seth McClung and Mike Burns — were ineffective in their starts and removed from the rotation. Another fill-in — Carlos Villanueva — was tagged for five runs in four innings on Tuesday night. 

A club spokesperson said Suppan would be re-evaluated on Thursday by head team physician William Raasch. Suppan’s next scheduled
start is Saturday against the Padres in San Diego.

Suppan was charged with 10 runs and 10 hits in 5 1/3 innings of a blowout loss to the Nationals on Monday and insisted afterward that he was physically fine. That outing came on the heels of a 3 1/3-inning start in Pittsburgh, in which Suppan surrendered five runs on seven hits.

He missed some time last July with irritation in his right elbow, and was asked on Monday night whether any physical ailments were behind his recent slump.

“Health-wise had nothing to with [it],” Suppan said. “I wasn’t making pitches, I think that’s what it comes down to. You have to make pitches and I think offensively we did a good job tonight. I put us in a hole and really didn’t do a good job.”

With Suppan’s status in limbo and Bush still a few weeks away, general manager Doug Melvin continued to look for sensible deals ahead of Friday’s nonwaiver trade deadline.

Melvin made a rare post-game visit to the Brewers clubhouse on Monday night to once again discuss available arms with manager Ken Macha. Melvin told coaches to, “keep our chins up as much as we can,” Macha said. 

Macha sets post-rainout rotation

Brewers manager Ken Macha made his upcoming pitching rotation official after a 1-0 win over the Cardinals on Saturday. Friday’s rainout forced him to juggle things a bit, but here is the plan:

Sunday at St. Louis: Manny Parra
Monday at St. Louis: Braden Looper
Tuesday at Houston: Dave Bush
Wednesday at Houston: Yovani Gallardo
Thursday at Houston: Jeff Suppan

Looper was originally supposed to pitch Tuesday and Bush had Wednesday, but both can bump up and still be starting on regular rest because Monday was supposed to be an off-day. Macha waited for the result of Looper’s bullpen session Saturday morning to make the decision official.

Gallardo threw just 30 pitches before Friday’s game was washed out, but instead of using him in Looper’s place Tuesday in Houston, Macha is essentially counting the rainout as a missed start and using Gallardo on his regular day.

“This will be almost like he’s missing a turn,” Macha said. “You know what? if you just look at the short term you probably say, that’s a tough thing to do. But I think long-term, it will be good for him. He’s got some innings right now, and he’s also had some stressful innings. He pitched five innings a couple of times and had 100 pitches, and those are some stressful innings. I think, in the long run, you have to look long-term as opposed to short-term.”

Pants on fire

The Brewers have been on fire of late, but one of their coaches took things a bit too far on Monday night.  

pants.jpgEd Sedar, Milwaukee’s fun-loving first base coach, stood too close to
the portable heater stationed at the end of the dugout after the
Brewers’ eighth-inning rally and was spared a potentially serious burn
on his left calf by pitcher Jeff Suppan and an extra pair of socks.
Thankfully, all Sedar had to show for his mistake was the pair of
burned uniform pants put on display in PNC Park’s visitor’s clubhouse
Tuesday afternoon.

“Suppan yelled out, ‘Somebody’s burning!'” Sedar said with a chuckle. “Luckily, I wear two pairs of socks. It had just started on the second pair of socks when ‘Soup’ said he smelled something.”

Thank goodness Suppan didn’t have a cold.

“I probably would have felt it,” Sedar shrugged. “The worst part is that I was thinking earlier, ‘That’s a little dangerous.’ I guess it’s funny that it happened to me.” 

Sedar had to hustle into the clubhouse for a new pair of pants before the Brewers batted in the top of the ninth inning. He made it in time for a four-run rally that sealed Milwaukee’s 16th consecutive win over the Pirates.

Soup's next start bumped back

Jeff Suppan’s next start has been moved back one day, allowing for three between-starts bullpen sessions instead of the right-hander’s usual two.

Suppan is 0-2 with a 12.91 ERA in his first two starts including a loss to the Cubs on Sunday in which he issued six walks, including three with the bases loaded. Manager Ken Macha, who met with Suppan on Tuesday afternoon, hopes the extra day helps Suppan sharpen up.

For his part, Suppan is on board with the plan.

“Absolutely,” he said. “It wasn’t a really big issue. [Macha] said, ‘This is what we were thinking,’ and I said, ‘All right.'”

A team off-day on Thursday allowed Macha to make the move without disturbing the rest of his starting rotation. Yovani Gallardo, who had command issues of his own in Monday’s loss to the Reds, will start in Suppan’s place on Saturday against Mets ace Johan Santana. Suppan will start Sunday opposite Mike Pelfrey.

UPDATE at 5:39 p.m. CT — Following the Jeff Suppan front, I wanted to pass along a link to an excellent piece at Brew Crew Ball that includes a rather remarkable stat.

“Lost cause” is too strong because we’re talking about two starts this season, but Suppan obviously needs to get that fastball working so he can play off it with his other pitches. Perhaps this extra day — not to mention a match-up against Pelfrey instead of Santana — will help.

I do know this: Suppan has a long leash. He’s making a lot of money, yes, but he also has what a lot of fans hate hearing about — a track record. At the risk of going all Dennis Green here, Suppan was exactly who the Brewers thought he would be in his first two seasons. He’s in a slump now, and there’s no way the Brewers just pull the plug without giving him time to find his command again.

UPDATE again — Fixed that link. Gave me something to do while watching the paint dry… er, while watching Manny Parra pick. 

Historically bad inning for Suppan, Julio

Brewers starter Jeff Suppan and reliever Jorge Julio tied a modern Major League record tonight by combining to issue four bases-loaded walks in the fourth inning against the Cubs. Since divisional play began in 1969 that’s only happened nine times, including twice in the past five days. The Braves gifted the Phillies four runs via walks on Wednesday.

Suppan was responsible for three of the free passes. He walked No. 8 hitter Koyie Hill with one out and the pitcher on deck to give the Cubs a 2-1 lead. After recording the second out, Suppan then walked Alfonso Soriano and Kosuke Fukudome after working to full counts. He was replaced by Julio, who walked Derrek Lee on four pitches to make it 5-1.

And wouldn’t you know it, the Brewers almost stormed right back. Corey Hart hit a solo home run in the bottom of the fourth inning and Prince Fielder was inches away from a game-tying grand slam in the fifth. Reed Johnson, who had just replaced an injured Milton Bradley, pulled back Fielder’s fly ball and turned it into one of the most dramatic sacrifice flies I’ve ever seen.

Fielder tipped his batting helmet to Johnson. What a play.

Gameday: April 2 vs. White Sox

Crushed my last pork chop last night at Frasher’s (2122 N. Scottsdale Rd. for the transplants living in the Valley — go there, order the chop, the gooey butter cake and a Miller Lite and tell George, Kevin, Tim, Derek and the rest of the guys I sent you. You’ll thank me later). That means I am officially ready for the Brewers’ final Cactus League game.

Ryan Braun and Bill Hall are back in what looks like an Opening Day lineup against the White Sox. Braun missed Wednesday’s game with a bruised thumb but told manager Ken Macha on Thursday morning that he wanted to start today, and Hall missed the last two games after having a tooth pulled. Jeff Suppan is on the hill for his final time before Opening Day, though Macha was still hesitant to make it official.

“If Suppan comes through this fine, you can put him down as the Opening Day starter,” the skipper told beat writers this morning.

Here’s the lineup:

Rickie Weeks  2B
Corey Hart  RF
Ryan Braun  LF
Prince Fielder  1B
J.J. Hardy  SS
Mike Cameron  CF
Bill Hall  3B
Jason Kendall  C
Jeff Suppan  RHP

Mark DiFelice, Mitch Stetter and Carlos Villanueva are scheduled to follow Suppan. 

Suppan gets back on track

Jeff Suppan blanked the Giants on one hit through five solid exceptional innings on Tuesday.  Hopefully he saved something for April 7.

Three more Cactus League starts separate Suppan from his likely Opening Day start against the Giants at AT&T Park.  Manager Ken Macha does not intend to announce his pitching plans for another week, and Suppan danced around a question about the possibility.

“It’s definitely a big honor, and we’ll wait and see what happens,” said Suppan, who has three Opening Day starts to his credit. “Everyone is very capable of starting that game and they haven’t told us anything. It’s not even a concern of mine. My basic goal is to get ready for the season. Wherever that start falls, it falls.”

He carried a 7.36 Spring Training ERA into Tuesday’s start but no-hit the Giants through the first four innings without a single ball hit out of the infield. Pablo Sandoval broke up the no-hitter with a single leading off the fifth.

“Today I was working on my tempo,” Suppan said. “In other games before I was working on my pitches; fastball, change-up, introducing my slider, introducing the curve ball. Today I really worked on my balance and tempo and getting ahead. That was important today.”

The day was more adventurous at the plate and on the bases. In the third inning, Suppan thought he had struck out after failing to drop a bunt and retreated to the dugout, only to be called back by plate umpire Jim Reynolds because there were only two strikes.

Then, after working a walk in the fifth, Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner showed a great pick-off move that might not have fooled Suppan but certainly fooled first baseman Travis Ishikawa, who had to make a diving/stumbling grab to prevent an overthrow.

Let the games begin

The main stadium is finally filled with ballplayers today for an intrasquad game that precedes Wednesday’s Cactus League opener. Some particulars about those games, starting with Wednesday’s tilt against the A’s:

- Pitchers on the list to throw Wednesday include starter Jeff Suppan, who will throw two innings or 30 pitches, followed by Dave Bush, who will work an inning in advance of his first start on Sunday. Trevor Hoffman is scheduled for his unofficial Brewers debut, followed by Eddie Morlan, Lindsay Gulin, Nick Green, Todd Coffey and Jorge Julio.

- Macha did not unveil his lineup in advance, but the Brewers’ regular starting position players will be at their spots with the exception of third baseman Bill Hall, who is cautiously working back from a partially torn calf muscle. Mike Lamb will likely start at third on Wednesday.

- A’s skipper Bob Geren called Macha on Monday to see if the Brewers were interested in employing the designated hitter. Macha declined, saying he wanted his pitchers to practice bunting.

- As for Tuesday’s intrasquad game, it’s Eddie’s Elite, managed by first base coach Ed Sedar, against Fischer’s Fanatistics, the home team managed by third base coach Brad Fischer. The game was scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m. CT, and position players will bat once or twice before a Minor Leaguer takes over. 

Here are the starting lineups:

Eddie’s Elite
1. Corey Hart  RF
2. Craig Counsell  2B
3. Ryan Braun  LF
4. Prince Fielder  1B
5. Mike Rivera  C
6. Mat Gamel  DH
7. Vinny Rottino  3B
8. Alcides Escobar  SS
9. Chris Duffy  CF
Scheduled pitchers: LHP Chase Wright, RHP Tim Dillard, LHP Chris Narveson and LHP R.J. Swindle

Fischer’s Fantastics
1. Rickie Weeks  2B
2. Jason Kendall  C
3. Mike Cameron  CF
4. J.J. Hardy  SS
5. Trot Nixon  LF
6. Brad Nelson  RF
7. Casey McGehee  3B
8. Mike Lamb  1B
9. Tony Gwynn, Jr.  DH
Scheduled pitchers: RHP Braden Looper, RHP Mark
DiFelice, LHP Sam Narron and RHP Omar Aguilar

UPDATE at 1:45 p.m. CT:  It was nine up, nine down for Brewers pitchers before Hardy began 2009 the way he ended 2008. Hardy hit an 0-and-1 pitch from Dillard for a home run to left-center field leading off the bottom of the second inning. It’s 1-0, Fantastics.

And the regulars are already hitting the showers. Hart, Counsell, Braun, Weeks, Kendall, Cameron, Fielder and Rivera all left the game after one at-bat, making way for Minor Leaguers on loan from the other half of the complex.

UPDATE at 2:14 p.m. CT: With so many defensive changes in this game, it looks like Lamb has the MVP award locked up. Lamb made a diving stop at first base in the top of the second inning and shoveled to DiFelice for a tough out against Mat Gamel, then drove in the Fantastics’ second run in the bottom of the second inning with a sacrifice fly. That made it 2-0, but Scott Thorman got one run back in the top of the third inning with an RBI single.

UPDATE at 2:58 p.m. CT: Didn’t get this in before we had to meet Macha on the field, but 2-1 was the final score, with Lamb’s sacrifice fly representing the winning run for Fischer’s Fantastics. Time of game was 55 minutes, prompting calls for four-inning games throughout Spring Training. 
 

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