Results tagged ‘ Josh Butler ’

Emptying the notebook: Butler, Parra, Gerut, instrux

Besides Ken Macha’s comments about his future, here’s what they were talking about at Miller Park today:

- The Brewers are convinced enough of Manny Parra’s health that they are sending rookie righty Josh Butler home on Sunday evening. Butler will fly to Huntsville to pick up his car for the long drive home to San Diego. He’ll despite his belongs there before hitting the road again to Phoenix. He’ll report for the Arizona Fall League by Oct. 5.

- Speaking of Parra, the manager had a homework assignment for reporters on Saturday afternoon. I’ll fudge it by simply repeating his words:

“I think you ought to write something about Manny Parra, that’s what I think. Where he was, and what he’s done,” Macha said, referring to the left-hander who won his 11th game of the season on Friday. “I think he’s done tremendous work on his delivery, his ability to command the ball now has been greatly improved from Day 1 to where he is now.

“It’s important for him to finish strong. I feel like he’s going to be a big part of the [2010] rotation. … Regardless of what his numbers are, and he’s got the highest ERA in the [National] League of any starter, he’s headed in the right direction.”

- Arbitration-eligible outfielder Jody Gerut is a possible nontender candidate for the Brewers, but Gerut’s strong showing in recent weeks makes it increasingly likely that he will be back in 2010.

“I can’t see where you wouldn’t think that he would be part of it,” Macha said. “He’s done a nice job in the field and can play all three outfield positions. He’s shown some power. There’s a whole lot of things he can do. Take a look at his history, too.”

During Macha’s year-end evaluation with GM Doug Melvin, Gerut was discussed as a potential starter in center field if the Brewers fail to, or chose not to, re-sign free agent Mike Cameron.

- Melvin and assistant GM Gord Ash will travel to Phoenix on Monday to see the Brewers’ instructional league squad. It will be their first look at many of the team’s 2009 Draft picks including three players — Kentrail Davis, Scooter Gennett and D’Vontrey Richardson — who did not sign in time to play for a regular-season affiliate.

The reports say that Richardson, the former Florida State University quarterback, has been putting on a show in batting practice.

“And he looks quite good in a uniform,” said Brewers special assistant Dan O’Brien.

- One high-profile ’09 Draft pick, right-hander Brooks Hall, is not participating in the fall instructional league because of a non-baseball-related medical issue, Ash said. He couldn’t expound on that because of privacy laws.

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Healthy Parra to start on Friday

Manny Parra is healthy again, and he’s returning to the Brewers’ starting rotation.

Parra, who hasn’t pitched since exiting a Sept. 8 outing against the Cardinals after one inning because of a stiff neck, is slated to start Friday against the Phillies. The left-hander will take the spot vacated by Yovani Gallardo, who was shut down by the Brewers as a precaution against overwork.

“I’m excited,” Parra said. “It’s not so much relief, because I knew [the neck] was going to get better, although for a minute there I didn’t know how long it was going to take. I almost feel re-energized. I feel real fresh, and hopefully I’ll finish strong.”

Assuming he gets through Friday’s game without a setback, Parra would be in line for one more start on Sept. 30 or Oct. 1 in Colorado, depending on how manager Ken Macha chooses to use Monday’s off day.

Parra is 10-10 this season despite a 6.42 ERA, the highest ERA in the National League for a pitcher with at least 80 innings of work. His season included a three-week demotion to Triple-A Nashville.

“I want to finish off strong because I know I’m better than I’ve pitched this year,” Parra said.

First, he had to get healthy. Parra didn’t think he would miss his next start after exiting early against the Cardinals, but fellow left-hander Chris Narveson will make a third start in Parra’s place on Wednesday against the Cubs. When Parra’s neck stiffness didn’t subside, the Brewers sent him home from a road trip last week for an MRI scan seeking answers.

It didn’t reveal any, but Parra noticed dramatic improvement beginning Friday, when the Brewers returned to Miller Park for their final homestand. By Tuesday, when Parra threw his final side session in preparation for his start against the Phillies, he was “100 percent healthy.” He even took batting practice with the rest of the starters.

“It’s completely out of my mind,” he said.

Will two starts be enough for Parra to feel good entering the offseason?

“I hope so,” Macha said. “I’m just glad that he’s able to come back to pitch.”

Parra’s status may prompt the Brewers to send righty prospect Josh Butler home early. Butler made his Major League debut in relief on Tuesday night and was a candidate to take Gallardo’s spot in the rotation, but instead he may depart when the Brewers finish their homestand on Sunday. That would give Butler a healthy break before he reports for duty in the Arizona Fall League.

Brewers general manager Doug Melvin said he would make sure Parra made it through Friday’s outing before making a decision about Butler. 

Coaches, Gallardo meet

Thumbnail image for 007688b4-911c-11de-96f9-001cc4c03286.image.jpgPrized right-hander Yovani Gallardo met with a trio of Brewers coaches on Thursday morning to discuss his schedule for the final two weeks of the season but the plan will remain a mystery until Friday. Gallardo would prefer to keep pitching, but said he’s open to the idea of calling it a season.

“I don’t think anybody is very excited when it comes down to being shut down,” he said. “But, the other thing you have to look at is that they might be doing things to protect you as a player.

“You have to see both sides, what’s best for the organization and what’s best for the player. That’s the way that I feel.”

If he stays on schedule, Gallardo would start Sunday against the Astros at Miller Park, and indeed he threw his usual between-starts bullpen session at Wrigley Field on Thursday morning. But recently-promoted prospect Josh Butler also threw in the bullpen, and was told to be ready to pitch in some capacity on Sunday.

“Hopefully, I’m able to go,” Gallardo said. “I say ‘hopefully’ because we only had a plan through Tuesday [when Gallardo returned after nine days off and lost to the Cubs] and then we were going to go day-by-day. But I just got done throwing a bullpen, and that’s a good thing. .. At this point, I’m starting Sunday.”

His meeting was with manager Ken Macha, pitching coach Chris Bosio and bullpen coach Stan Kyles. General manager Doug Melvin is also in Chicago and wanted to chat with Gallardo in person, but as of late Thursday morning, that sit-down had not happened.

Until it did, Macha wasn’t willing to reveal his intentions.

“Let’s let him talk to Doug,” Macha said. “We kind of has an extended conversation with Doug [on Wednesday] about ‘Yo’s’ status and we’ll let you know completely [on Friday] what’s happening. I think we’re on the same page, but before we stick it in print, let’s let everybody feel good about their conversations.”

Perhaps it’s not an either-or proposal between Gallardo and Butler. The Brewers could decide to start Gallardo on Sunday — Melvin’s bobblehead day — but hold him to a limited pitch count before turning to Butler.

In that scenario, Gallardo would have a chance to notch the three strikeouts he needs for 200. Only three other Brewers pitchers have reached that milestone including Gallardo’s Mexican countryman Teddy Higuera, who did it twice.

“That’s a good mark to get to,” Gallardo said. “But like I said, it comes down to the same thing. Staying healthy is the No. 1 thing, winning games is second and then everything else is after that. Hopefully I’m able to get there. If not, hopefully further on in my career I get that opportunity. Hopefully there will be a lot more opportunities. “

Butler, meanwhile, would be making his Major League debut. The Brewers acquired him last April from the Rays for outfielder Gabe Gross, and he put up a 2.97 ERA at four Milwaukee affiliates this season.

“I just want to get it over with. I want to get out there for the first time,” he said. “I talked to [fellow call-up John] Axford about it and he said he was more nervous during his nine days sitting there than when he actually got up and into a game. When he got into the game, it was all the same, and now he’s not as nervous anymore.

“Right now, it looks like ‘Yo’ is going to start, but that might change. I’m ready, whatever the plans are.”

What to do with Gallardo?

Dave Bush will take the mound for the Brewers on Thursday in the finale of a four-game series at Wrigley Field. After that, Milwaukee’s starting rotation appears set for some changes.

The Brewers are re-visiting the idea of shutting-down right-hander Yovani Gallardo for the season, and left-hander Manny Parra remains sidelined indefinitely with a stiff neck. Chris Narveson will make a second straight start in Parra’s place on Friday, and recently-promoted prospect Josh Butler appears a strong candidate to make at least one start if the Brewers make a move with Gallardo.

“There’s a possibility there will be some jumbling, yeah,” manager Ken Macha said.

The most notable jumble would involve Gallardo, who complained of rust Tuesday night after waiting nine days between starts. It was a move by Brewers officials to limit the workload of a pitcher who missed all but four regular-season starts in 2008 because of a knee injury and has piled up innings — 180 2/3, most on the team — and pitches — 3,125, fifth-most in the National League — in 2009.

If he stays on a regular schedule, Gallardo would make three more starts this year. Now there is a chance he is done.

“Yes, we are discussing it and working our way through it,” Brewers assistant general manager Gord Ash said. “[Pitching coach Chris] Bosio and Ken will get their heads together and see what they want to do.”

Macha wouldn’t reveal his thinking on Wednesday.

The Brewers are also soliciting input from Gallardo’s agent, former Major League right-hander Bobby Witt, to “demonstrate that you have the long-term health of the player in mind,” Ash said. The Brewers’ medical staff will submit information to Witt and so will the team’s statistical gurus, in an effort to demonstrate that taking away Gallardo’s final three 2009 starts would not have significant implications for his bottom line in future seasons. Gallardo projects to be arbitration-eligible following next season.

“It’s not about money,” general manager Doug Melvin said. “If we were worried about money we wouldn’t have nine extra guys here with the team out of the pennant race.” 

Melvin was not interested in saying much more about Gallardo’s immediate future.

“If you’re going to do anything, you talk to the player first. We haven’t talked to him yet,” Melvin said. “We’re not addressing it today. We’ll let you know if we do. But if we do it, we would talk to him first.”

The decision would probably not be popular with Gallardo. He met with Macha, Melvin and Ash earlier this month and went along with a plan to skip one start while making it clear he wanted to play out the season.

“I don’t want to be shut down. I want to finish out the year strong,” Gallardo said. “We’re trying to find ways to make that happen.”
 
Were he to remain on schedule, Gallardo’s next start would come Sunday against the Astros. For now, the Brewers aren’t naming a probable pitcher for that date but it could be 24-year-old Butler, one of the team’s most promising pitching prospects. 

Asked whether Butler could start a game, Macha said, “That may happen. He hasn’t pitched in eight days, so we’re going to give him a couple of ‘sides’ here. … We’ve had some discussion of what to do. It will all become clearer as the days go on. It’s not etched in stone yet what we’re going to do.”

Butler replaces injured DiFelice

Mark DiFelice may avoid another shoulder surgery, but he couldn’t avoid a season-ending trip to the disabled list.

The team placed DiFelice on the 60-day DL with the strained right shoulder he suffered on Sunday in Arizona and purchased the contract of another right-hander, Josh Butler, a bright spot in the Brewers’ thin stable of pitching prospects.

Butler, 24, would have been added to the 40-man roster this winter, anyway, because the Brewers would not have risked exposing him to the Rule 5 Draft. Now he’ll get a brief taste of the big leagues before reporting next month to the Arizona Fall League.

In 24 games this season for three Milwaukee afiliates, including 23 starts, Butler was 9-3 with a 2.97 ERA. He missed about a month in the middle of the season with a rib-cage injury but was at his best for Double-A Huntsville, where the 6-foot-5 Californian went 2-1 with a 2.85 ERA and 33 strikeouts versus 13 walks in eight starts.

The Brewers acquired Butler last April in a trade that sent outfield Gabe Gross to the Rays. He will wear No. 62 beginning Tuesday night, when the Brewers and Cubs continue a four-game series. 

DiFelice meanwhile, is done for the year after posting a 3.66 ERA in 59 games. He tweaked his surgically-repaired shoulder on a Ball 4 offering to D-backs pitcher Max Scherzer on Sunday and worried that he had re-torn his labrum, an injury that sent DiFelice to the surgeon’s table following the 2001 season and might have been career-threatening had he suffered it again. An MRI scan on Monday in Milwaukee revealed only “wear and tear,” DiFelice said Monday at Wrigley Field.

With less than three weeks left in the season, Brewers officials apparently determined that DiFelice would not have enough time to return.
  

Eight farmhands set for Arizona Fall League

Eight Brewers Minor Leaguers, including 2004 first-round Draft pick Mark Rogers, will play for the Peoria Javelinas in the prestigious Arizona Fall League.

Besides Rogers, who missed all of 2007 and 2008 with shoulder injuries, the Brewers will send pitchers Omar Aguilar, Zach Braddock, Josh Butler and Rob Wooten, plus catcher Jonathan Lucroy, infielder Taylor Green and outfielder Lorenzo Cain. The position players have been set for some time, but Brewers officials waited until this week to finalize their contingent of arms.

Braddock, who has battled a shoulder injury and blisters this summer, is on the Javelinas’ “taxi squad” and may be activated only on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Both Rogers and Aguilar are on Milwaukee’s 40-man roster.

Additionally, Class A Brevard County’s Fred Dabney will serve as the Javelinas’ pitching coach this fall.

The Javelinas play home games at Peoria Sports Complex and will be comprised of players from the Brewers, Dodgers, Mariners, Tigers and White Sox. The 18th annual Arizona Fall League season begins on October 13 and runs through Nov. 19 with the Rising Stars game on Nov. 7 and the Championship game set for Nov. 21. Every game can be followed live on Gameday on MLB.com and MLBFallBall.com.
 

In the Minors: Jones to AAA; Butler, Rogers to AFL

Some Minor League tidbits from Brewers assistant GM Gord Ash:

- The organization intends to promote former first-round Draft pick Mike Jones to Triple-A Nashville on Monday. It’s a significant milestone for Jones, the 12th overall pick in the 2001 First-Year Player Draft, who has been derailed by shoulder injuries over the years.

Jones had been pitching at Double-A Huntsville and doing, “great, which is why we want to send him to Triple-A,” Ash said. “He wants to go. He has never been over Double-A, so he feels good about it and he deserves the chance.”

Ash has seen Jones pitch three times this season and said the pitcher’s fastball is back up to 93 mph. In 20 starts this season between Class A Brevard County and Huntsville, Jones is 7-5 with a 4.40 ERA and 73 strikeouts versus 32 walks.

- Right-hander Josh Butler, who had been sidelined by an oblique injury, is healthy and will take Jones’ place at Double-A Huntsville. In four Minor League stops this year, including his just-completed rehab stint in the rookie Arizona League, Butler has a 2.87 ERA in 20 appearances, 19 of them starts.

The Brewers acquired Butler from Tampa Bay last season for outfielder Gabe Gross. 

- Teams have until Monday to designate their pitchers for the prestigious Arizona Fall League, but the Brewers intend to make Butler and fellow right-hander Mark Rogers two of their four picks. Another could go to left-hander Zach Braddock, depending on Braddock’s health. He had been sidelined by a shoulder injury, then developed blisters. The shoulder has healed, Ash said, and the blisters are close.

“Butler will be one of then, Rogers will be one,” Ash said. “After that, it’s wait and see what we have, health-wise.”

On the positional side, Brewers GM Doug Melvin told MLB.com on Saturday that the team intends to send outfielder Lorenzo Cain, infielder Taylor Green and catcher Jonathan Lucroy to the AFL.

- The Brewers considered promoting Rogers, the fifth overall pick in the 2004 Draft, from Class A Brevard County but opted against it. Rogers has also been derailed by shoulder problems, but Ash saw him firing 98 mph fastballs during a visit this summer.

“We’ll let him have a full, good year there,” Ash said. “We’re trying to extend his pitch count. He was at 50; now he’s up to 65. He’s pretty impressive. Ninety-eight [mph] with good secondary stuff. And he’s feeling good about himself, which is the important thing.”

- The Brewers will lose a number of Minor League players on Sept. 1 to the Baseball World Cup in Europe, Ash said. Among the participants are Canada’s Brett Lawrie, Jim Henderson, John Axford and Adam Stern, Puerto Rico’s Martin Maldonado and Efrain Nieves and The Netherlands’ Shawn Zarraga. Canada and the Netherlands play their first-round games in Sundbyberg, Sweden, and Puerto Rico begins in Barcelona. 

Outfielder Jason Bourgeois, promoted to Milwaukee this week, was under consideration for the U.S. entry, but his call-up makes him ineligible.

- Partly because of those losses, and partly because the Brewers have a number of players coming back from injury, the team will make very few Sept. 1 call-ups. The only sure thing is that the Brewers will promote an extra catcher, Ash said.
 

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