Results tagged ‘ Kyle Heckathorn ’

Timber Rattlers' roster rich with pitchers

arnett.jpgA slew of the Brewers’ top prospects, especially in the pitching department, are set to begin their season just up the road from Miller Park. 

Three of Milwaukee’s first five picks in last year’s Draft — pitchers Eric Arnett (right, foreground) and Kyle Heckathorn and catcher Cameron Garfield — headlined the Class A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers’ roster unveiled by the Brewers on Monday amid big-league Opening Day festivities. The Timber Rattlers will also feature pitching prospects Jake Odorizzi, Del Howell, Nick Bucci and Maverick Lasker, plus Florida State University quarterback-turned-Brewers outfielder D’Vontrey Richardson. 
The Timber Rattlers are scheduled to play their season opener on Thursday at 6:35 p.m. CT, an off-day for the big league club. Fox Cities Stadium in Grand Chute, Wis. is about 100 miles north of Miller Park via U.S. Hwy. 41, and tickets are still available on the team’s website.
“You look up and down the roster, and it’s just prospect after prospect,” Rattlers president Rob Zerjav told the Appleton Post-Crescent’s Brett Christopherson. “I’d get the daily [Minor-League Spring Training] box scores from Brewers, and these guys were quite impressive. It seems like they’re the real deal.”
Timber Rattlers manager Jeff Isom told the Post-Crescent that all of the team’s starting pitchers but Arnett would work in tandems to start the season. The day’s starter will get 75-80 pitches to start the season before turning it over to the designated reliever. The next time through the rotation, the pitchers will switch roles. 
Arnett and Heckathorn were a part of the Brewers’ Major League Spring Training camp this year but neither appeared in a Cactus League game. Arnett, a 22-year-old power right-hander and the 26th overall pick in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, posted a 4.41 ERA at rookie-level Helena last summer. He struck out a batter an inning (35 strikeouts, 34 2/3 innings) but also issued 21 walks. 
In all, the Timber Rattlers’ roster includes 14 players drafted by the Brewers in 2009. The full roster is available here.
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Gamel sidelined a few more days

Third baseman Mat Gamel conceded this morning that he tried to come back too early from a sore right shoulder. Now it appears he will be sidelined a few more days. 

Gamel first complained of some soreness last week and was held out of Cactus League games for the first three days of the schedule. He said he was ready to play by Saturday but was asked to wait, then got an extra day of rest Sunday. when the Brewers-Reds game was rained out. So it came as some surprise to manager Ken Macha that Gamel was forced to exit Monday’s game against the Mariners in the third inning with a sore shoulder. 
“I guess it’s not ready yet,” Gamel said. “It was feeling better. I guess I just rushed it. … But it’s better to miss a couple now than a couple later.”
He would have preferred to not miss any at all. Gamel also missed time last spring with a sore throwing shoulder — he says this injury is different — and then saw his numbers slip after the Brewers began bouncing him between Triple-A and the big league bench beginning in May. 
Officially, Gamel is competing for a spot on the big league roster this spring and he remains the team’s top option behind incumbent starter Casey McGehee. There is some pressure, then, to be out on the field. 
“You can’t make a team in the training room,” he lamented. “They need you healthy.”
Macha agreed. 
“Let’s make sure we nip this in the bud so he can give himself a chance,” Macha said. “If it happens again and he’s going to be out two weeks, we’ve got coverage. We’ve got other guys we can put on the team.”
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Assuming we stay dry, here is the lineup for today’s game against the Cubs:
Rickie Weeks  2B
Craig Counsell   SS
Carlos Gomez  CF
Prince Fielder  1B
Jim Edmonds  LF
Jody Gerut  RF
Adam Heether  3B
Jonathan Lucroy  C
Jeff Suppan  RHP
The pitchers scheduled to follow Suppan include Marco Estrada, Chuck Lofgren, John Halama, Claudio Vargas and A.J. Murray. 
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Lucroy is starting today but Macha has been focusing lately on evaluating George Kottaras and Matt Treanor, who may have a leg up on the backup catcher battle. 
“They each give you a little bit different look,” Macha said. “Kottaras, watching him take [batting practice], he’s got pretty sizeable power when he gets hold of one and he’s a left-handed hitter, which is nice to have. … Treanor, I really like the way he throws the ball and blocks the ball in the dirt. So you’ve got two kind of different styles, or what they bring to the table is a little different.”
What will influence Macha’s decision?
“I want to take a look and see what Zaun does as the spring goes on,” he said. “That may be a determining factor. I’m open if a guy goes out there and is head and shoulders above everybody.”
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Macha offered praise for Minor League first baseman Steffan Wilson, who garnered a last-minute invitation to big league camp to help back up Fielder at first base. 
“He’s been impressive,” Macha said. “Intense guy. He was taking his warm-up swings and he’s looking like Mike Sweeney more every day. Big, strong first baseman. Hits the ball all over the ballpark.”
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Lockers stood empty Tuesday morning where pitching prospects Eric Arnett, Kyle Heckathorn and Alex Periard had dressed. All three pitchers were cut from big league camp on Monday to continue their preparation on the Minor League side. Macha said that Monday morning’s B game prevented pitching coach Rick Peterson from giving the young men a proper send-off, but Peterson planned to stop by the Minor League complex for a chat.
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Arnett, Heckathorn, Periard sent down

The Brewers made their first Spring Training camp on Monday, when right-hander Alex periard was optioned to Double-A Huntsville and righties Eric Arnett and Kyle Heckathorn were returned to Minor League camp. 

Arnett and Heckathorn were Milwaukee’s top two picks in last summer’s First-Year Player Draft and their camp invitations were part of their contracts. Neither appeared in an official Cactus League game. 

“It’s been exciting, and I’m just going to try to get back here next year,” Arnett said a few days earlier. 

Periard, who got his first taste of big league camp in 2009 but was sidelined at that time by a shoulder injury, made his lone appearance this year on Saturday against the Rockies. He was charged with three earned runs in two innings. 

With Monday’s moves, the Brewers have 54 players in Major League camp.

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Morning report

Some notes from Ken Macha’s morning meeting with reporters:

All of a sudden the Brewers have quite a little medical report, though all of the bumps and bruises Macha ran through on Friday were considered minor. Here are some of them:
- Third baseman Mat Gamel, scratched from Thursday’s Cactus League opener because of a sore right shoulder, was to take some swings off a tee on Friday morning and was tentatively listed to travel with the split-squad headed to Tucson on Saturday to play the Rockies. But Macha cautioned that the assignment could change based on how Gamel felt later Friday. 
- Josh Butler (triceps) was scheduled for a 40-pitch bullpen session and Kyle Heckathorn (rib cage) was to throw some live batting practice on Friday. The Brewers are taking a very cautious approach with both right-handed pitching prospects early in camp, and that was fine with Butler. 
“I never had to stop throwing because of this; they’re just taking it easy on me,” said Butler, who knocked on wood after saying he had so far avoided major arm injuries in his career. “There is still so much time left in Spring Training. It’s frustrating not to go play in these games right now, but it will happen. There’s no reason to rush it.”
Butler will get into a Cactus League game at some point but Macha still won’t completely commit about Heckathorn, who was the Brewers’ supplemental first-round Draft pick last year.
Macha also said that organizational newcomer Marco Estrada, another right-hander, was dealing with a minor neck issue but was to play catch on Friday. If that went well, Estrada would be scheduled to pitch against the Rockies in Tucson.
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Speaking of that game, Eric Arnett, the Brewers’ first selection in last year’s Draft, is also on the list for Tucson and Macha would like to see him get into the game late. If he does, the skipper will see the raw right-hander in person; Macha is going to travel with the road crew instead of staying home to see Randy Wolf lead another split-squad against the Giants. 
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Jim Edmonds was penciled in to start in right field on Friday against the A’s for his unofficial Brewers debut. Macha is not quite ready to commit to how much playing time Edmonds will see this spring, but expects to use him at all three outfield positions and at first base. I’ll have more on Edmonds a bit later today. 
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Today’s starting lineup against the A’s looks like this. Macha was at first considering a day off for Gomez, but bench coach Willie Randolph suggested they keep him in:
Weeks  2B
Gomez  CF
Braun  LF
Edmonds  RF
Zaun  DH
Kottaras  C
Escobar  SS
Heether  3B
Wilson  1B
Gallardo  P
Other pitchers on the travel roster include Tim Dillard, LaTroy Hawkins, A.J. Murray, Mark Rogers, Mitch Stetter and Carlos Villanueva.
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Fall instructionals underway

Each of the Brewers’ first six picks in the most recent First-Year Player Draft are taking part in the fall instructional league in Arizona, and 2008 first-round pick will join the fray once he’s finished playing for Team Canada in the baseball World Cup.

Games against other teams’ instructional league squads began on Saturday, and through Tuesday the baby Brewers were off to a 2-0-1 start. They beat a group of Cubs farmhands, 10-2, on Tuesday, when first-round supplemental pick Kyle Hechathorn allowed two runs in four innings.

For those interested in the list of Brewers participants, you can view a PDF of the roster:
MIL instrux.pdf

New Brewer Heckathorn: 'It's time to go'

The Brewers made Kyle Heckathorn an offer he just couldn’t refuse.

Heckathorn, a big right-hander from Kennesaw State University and the 47th overall pick in last month’s First-Year Player Draft, passed a physical at Miller Park on Saturday and finalized his first professional contract. It includes a $776,000 signing bonus, plus a rare invitation to big league camp next spring.

The Brewers don’t extend those invitations lightly to recent Draft picks. Matt LaPorta, Milwaukee’s first-round pick in 2007, wasn’t promised a spot, though he later got one. Rickie Weeks, the team’s top pick — second overall — in 2003, got an invitation, but that was because he signed a Major League contract. Prince Fielder was invited to camp after the Brewers selected him in the first round in 2002.

“Doug [Melvin, Milwaukee's general manager] doesn’t easily give those out,” Brewers scouting director Bruce Seid said. “In this case, we felt that with what Kyle brings — his size, he’s mature, he’s smart — this was an ideal situation.” 

So Heckathorn, 21, who could have returned to college, instead joined a select list of Brewers Draft picks who made quick ascents to the Majors.

“They came up with the money, and then the invite to Spring Training, that was the capper,” said Heckathorn, who planned to splurge on a new pick-up truck. “That’s all I needed. They compromised, I compromised. Now it’s time to go. It’s time to start my professional career.”

He will report to rookie-level Helena on Monday. Heckathorn figures he’ll need a week or two to get back into pitching shape. 

“I’ve been running and throwing a lot,” he said, “trying to keep my arm strength up.”

Heckathorn went to Milwaukee in the supplemental phase of the Draft’s first round, the team’s second selection in the Draft behind first-rounder and fellow right-hander Eric Arnett. Like Arnett, the 6-foot-6, 240-pound Heckathorn is a power arm coming off his junior season in college. Club officials were not shy in the weeks leading up to the Draft in saying they were high on Heckathorn, who can reach 99 mph with his fastball but sits more comfortably in the 94-97 mph range, and also features a hard slider.

He was 4-1 with a 3.44 ERA and 98 strikeouts in 86 1/3 innings for Kennesaw State this season, including a 15-strikeout game. After the Draft, Brewers scouting director Bruce Seid said that the team intended to introduce Heckathorn to Minor Leagues as a starter.

“This is the best place for me,” Heckathorn said. “I’m lucky they got me and I’m fortunate to be a Brewer.”

With Heckathorn in the fold, 27 of the Brewers’ 53 selections are under contract including 14 of the first 17 picks.

Only one of the team’s first six picks remains unsigned ahead of the Aug. 17 deadline: University of Tennessee outfielder and fellow supplemental first-round pick Kentrail Davis, a Scott Boras client.

“Any time you’re dealing with Scott Boras, it’s always going to be a drawn-out situation,” Seid said. “But that’s not a negative; we just know that. We have a relationship with him. We’ll just continue to take steps forward.”

Davis was sophomore-eligible, meaning he could return to Tennessee for two more seasons.

Seid said the Brewers were still working to sign fourth-round pick Brooks Hall, a right-handed pitcher, and Florida State University outfielder D’Vontrey Richardson, the team’s fifth-round selection.

Crew nabs hard-thrower Heckathorn at No. 47

Another blurb, this one on a familiar name who went to the Brewers with their second first-round sandwich pick:

Supplemental Rd. 1, Kyle Heckathorn, RHP, Kennesaw State (Ga.):  No surprise to see the Brewers jump on the 6-foot-6, 240 pounder, who, like Arnett, is a hard-thrower coming off his junior season in college. Club officials were not shy in the weeks leading up to the Draft in saying they were high on Heckathorn, who can reach 99 mph with his fastball but sits more comfortably in the 94-97 mph range, and also features a hard slider. He was 4-1 with a 3.44 ERA and 98 strikeouts in 86 1/3 innings for the Kennesaw State this season, including a 15-strikeout game. Like Davis, he turns 21 later this month. Some mock Drafts had Heckathorn going to the Brewers in the first round.

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