Results tagged ‘ LaTroy Hawkins ’

Hawkins "puzzled" by velocity drop

The Brewers scored a pair of two-out runs in the top of the ninth inning on Thursday for a temporary tie, but the Dodgers answered. 
Boy, did they answer. 
Andre Ethier crushed a down-the-middle fastball from Milwaukee reliever LaTroy Hawkins for a game-winning grand slam, sending the Brewers to a 7-3 loss and re-igniting a crowd of 38,456 fans at Dodger Stadium that had been silenced a half-inning earlier.
Gregg Zaun had two RBIs and Prince Fielder scored two runs for the Brewers, who needed one more clutch hit for their first-ever sweep of the Dodgers in 13 seasons together in the National League. You’ll have to pardon the veteran Hawkins if he had other things on his mind. 
“I’m puzzled,” Hawkins said. 
He repeated those two words twice more for emphasis. It’s an unfamiliar feeling for a veteran who breezed through last season with the Houston Astros with such precision that the Brewers committed to a two-year free agent contract. 
Hawkins said his command has eluded him in all but his first two outings this season, and how his velocity is gone, too. That was a bad combination against Ethier, who has more game-winning hits since 2008 (11) than anyone else in baseball, and now has homered in both of his at-bats this season with the bases loaded. 
After the Brewers tied the game at 3 against Jonathan Broxton, the Dodgers wasted no time in rallying against Hawkins, who surrendered singles to Jamey Carroll and Xavier Paul, then uncorked a wild pitch during a battle with dangerous outfielder Matt Kemp that allowed Carroll to advance to third base. 
Hawkins walked Kemp to load the bases for Ethier and again fell behind with Balls 1 and 2. Ethier gave the Brewers a break when he swung through a high fastball that would have been Ball 3, then fouled off another fastball to even the count. 
Zaun, the catcher, wasn’t about to change course. 
“We’re in a 2-and-2 count, bases loaded, nowhere to put him, and I’ve got to go with the guy’s best pitch,” Zaun said. “If I miss with second- or third-best, or second- or third-best gets hit, and we lose, then I’m kicking myself.” 
Trouble is, Hawkins’ best pitch has not been very good of late. He was pumping 96 mph fastballs with ease during his four scoreless outings to begin his Brewers career, but on Thursday he didn’t top 91 mph. 
Hawkins missed part of Spring Training with a shoulder injury but said his arm is fine. Which leaves him, “puzzled.” 
“You can make mistakes if you throw hard enough. You can’t make mistakes at 88-90 [mph],” Hawkins said. “If I knew what it was, I’d tell you and I’d fix it. … It definitely doesn’t put your mind at ease, that’s for sure.” 
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Macha: Hoffman will have Thursday off

After watching Trevor Hoffman throw 23 more pitches Wednesday and suffer his second blown save in as many days, manager Ken Macha suggested that his struggling closer was due at least a one-day break.
“That’s two days in a row for him,” Macha said. “[On Thursday], if we have a chance to win it, perhaps it will be somebody else at the end of the game.”
The leading candidate would be LaTroy Hawkins, who saved 11 games for the Astros last season as a fill-in for injured Jose Valverde. But Macha gave no indication that Hoffman would get anything other than a one-day break to re-charge his 42-year-old arm, even though Hoffman has blown as many saves — four — in seven opportunities as he had in all of 2009, when Hoffman converted 37-of-41 chances and made the All-Star team. 
“He’s aware of what he’s doing and we’ll try to get it ironed out,” Macha said following the Brewers’ 6-5 loss in 14 innings. 
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A true off-day

On second thought, Manny Parra will enjoy a day off with the rest of his Brewers teammates on Wednesday. 

It’s the team’s only scheduled off-day all spring, and manager Ken Macha decided Tuesday morning that it would be just that for all players and staff. Originally, Parra was scheduled to throw a Minor League intrasquad game to stay on schedule for the season. Instead, he will follow starter Jeff Suppan in Thursday’s game against the Dodgers. 
Macha might have gotten the idea from the Dodgers. On Monday, Clayton Kershaw started and worked the first five innings before Russ Ortiz handled the final four frames. 
The relievers who were supposed to follow Suppan — LaTroy Hawkins, Todd Coffey and Mitch Stetter — will pitch in a simulated game that day instead. 
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Within the past few days, Brewers officials told a couple of pitchers recovering from Tommy John surgery that they would continue their rehabilitation from the Minor League complex. Left-hander Chris Capuano and right-hander David Riske will eventually be assigned to Class A Brevard County in the warm-weather Florida State League, Macha said. Capuano is ahead of Riske in his progression.
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The following players were released from the Brewers’ Minor League system on Tuesday:
LHP Donald Brandt
INF John Delaney
INF Jose Duran
RHP Joel Morales
INF Yohannis Perez
RHP Ryan Platt
LHP David Welch
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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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Hawkins has stiff shoulder

Brewers manager Ken Macha revealed on Friday that reliever LaTroy Hawkins has been sidelined with right shoulder stiffness. The morning report from the medical staff was very positive, Macha said, and Hawkins should return to the mound for a bullpen session, “shortly.” 

The Brewers are not expecting Hawkins to miss the start of the regular season. 
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The team made another round of roster cuts in the morning. Outfielder Lorenzo Cain, pitcher Marco Estrada and catcher Angel Salome were optioned to Triple-A Nashville and nonroster pitchers Zach Braddock and Kameron Loe were returned to Minor League camp. Estrada and Loe are ticketed for Nashville’s starting rotation. 
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Shortstop Alcides Escobar was also sidelined Friday for yet another trip to the dentist’s office. It appears as if he will have an entirely new mouthful of teeth before Spring Training is over. 
With Escobar out, the lineup for Friday’s game against the Angels looked like this:
Rickie Weeks  2B
Jim Edmonds  CF
Ryan Braun  LF
Prince Fielder  1B
Casey McGehee  3B
Corey Hart  RF
George Kottaras  C
Luis Cruz  SS
Jeff Suppan  RHP
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The Brewers and Rangers will play another B game on Monday, this time at Maryvale Baseball Park at 12 p.m. CDT/10 a.m. MST. Chris Narveson, who is still in the running for the pitching rotation, will probably start that game on an extra day of rest.  
Doug Davis, who has the No. 3 starter’s spot sewed up, will start the A game against the Dodgers that day. One of Dave Bush or Manny Parra, fellow competitors with Narveson, will start Tuesday against the Indians and then the other will pitch some kind of game on Wednesday, the big-league Brewers’ only off day of the spring. After that, Macha conceded, the team will at least need to make a decision on its No. 4 starter in order to wisely distribute innings over the final week-plus of camp. 
In other words, we should know much more about the Brewers’ starting rotation a week from today. 
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Favre fan Hawkins pulling for Colts

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With the Super Bowl only hours away, I scanned the roster to see who might be pulling for whom when the Colts and Saints meet Sunday. Ben Sheets is the biggest Saints fan I’ve ever known, but he has moved on. Rickie Weeks attended Southern University in Louisiana, but he lives in Orlando and I’ve never heard him mention the Saints. Craig Counsell was born in Indiana and attended Notre Dame, but he grew up in Wisconsin. 
So I tried newcomer LaTroy Hawkins, who grew up in Gary, Ind. as a Bears fan. He said he’s adopting the Colts this weekend. 
“My mom, my mother-in-law and my father-in-law are all big Colts fans,” Hawkins said. “So is my daughter. She’s got a Colts flag painted on her wall in her room, and a Shrek doll wearing a Colts jersey. Her grandma got her into that. But I’m rooting for them anyway because I like Peyton [Manning]. I’m a big fan. I know it’s going to be a shootout, but I think defense is going to have to win this game. It’s going to come down to which defense can stop the other offense. If they don’t play defense, this might be the highest-scoring Super Bowl in history.”
Hawkins is planning to watch the game at home with his family. He’s a big Brett Favre fan, and was at the Superdome in New Orleans for the Jan. 24 NFC Championship game. The Saints beat Favre and the Vikings in overtime to advance to the Super Bowl, giving Hawkins even more reason to pull for the Colts on Sunday.
“I don’t have any Saints fans around me right now so I can say this,” Hawkins said, launching into song. “‘Who dat say dey gonna beat dem Saints? Colts do! Dat’s who.'”
The Brewers’ resident football fanatic is video coordinator Joe Crawford, who has played in the team’s clubhouse fantasy football league for the past six years. Manning was his starting quarterback in 2009 and the Saints’ Marques Colston was part of Crawford’s receiving corps. 
“For me, it’s one of those weird Super Bowls where I like both teams,” Crawford said. “I’m a Peyton Manning fan and I like everything about the guy. But I’m a big Bengals fan, and we’ve had to put up with the same years of negativity and nicknames that the Saints have. They were the ‘Aint’s’ and everything. So, it would be awesome for New Orleans to have the Saints win.
“Either way, it’s a stress-free Super Bowl for me. Usually I’m rooting hard against the Steelers or something like that. This time I get to sit back, enjoy the game and watch the commercials.”
I hope it’s a stress-free weekend for everybody else, too. Enjoy the game on Sunday, and think of it as a sort of ceremonial hand-off to the baseball season. Brewers pitchers and catchers report on Feb. 20 and have their first formal workout two days later. 
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Hawkins contract complete

One more UPDATE on Dec. 17: Thanks to Twitter follower @TheronJay, who pointed out that you can’t give incentives for saves. I double-checked and was misinformed on Wednesday; Hawkins’ bonuses are tied to appearances and games finished, not saves.

UPDATE at 1:45 p.m. CT:  It’s a done deal, the Brewers say. Hawkins will meet with the media at Miller Park at 3: 30 p.m. CT. 

UPDATE again at 2:25 p.m. CT:  I confirmed the terms of Hawkins’ contract and learned that he can earn $275,000 in incentives each season, not over the length of the full two years. The bonuses are based on a combination of saves appearances and games finished. In other words, if something happens to Trevor Hoffman and Hawkins spends significant time as the closer, he could earn a total of $8.05 million.

LaTroy Hawkins’ two-year, $7.5 million deal with the Brewers was finalized Wednesday afternoon after the right-hander passed a physical. Here’s the breakdown of his’ contract:

Hawkins gets a $3 million salary with a $500,000 signing bonus in 2010, then $4 million in 2011. He can earn an additional $275,000 in incentives per season, based on appearances and games finished.
Hawkins, who turns 37 on Monday, is the team’s second significant free agent pick-up from the Winter Meetings — the other, of course, was Randy Wolf — and he projects to pitch alongside workhorse Todd Coffey as set-up men to closer Trevor Hoffman. Hawkins also has some saves to his credit and could fill-in as closer on days Hoffman is unavailable. 
In 65 games last season for the Astros, Hawkins posted a 2.13 ERA, 19 holds and 11 saves. He worked 63 1/3 innings with 45 strikeouts and only 16 walks. Of the 16 runs he allowed, eight scored on home runs. 
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Agent confirms: Hawkins signs with Brewers

Free agent reliever LaTroy Hawkins and agent Larry Reynolds met with Brewers officials on Wednesday morning and had the framework of a two-year, $7.5 million deal in place just after lunch. 
Reynolds confirmed via Twitter that Hawkins will sign with the Brewers pending a physical, giving Milwaukee its second significant pick-up of the day. The team also agreed to terms of a three-year contract with left-handed starter Randy Wolf, a deal Wolf confirmed in an appearance on Sirius XM Radio.  
Hawkins attended the Winter Meetings in person hoping to find a multi-year offer. The Astros had interest in re-signing him after free agent closer Jose Valverde declined arbitration, but Milwaukee made a strong push for Hawkins on Wednesday.   
Hawkins will turn 37 on Dec. 21, but he is coming off his best season since he saved 25 games for the Cubs in 2004. In 65 appearances for Houston, he posted a 2.13 ERA and 11 saves as a fill-in closer when Valverde was hurt or unavailable.  
Hawkins could particularly help the Brewers as an additional option (along with lefty specialist Mitch Stetter) to face left-handed batters, who managed just a .203 batting average against Hawkins last season; righties hit .303. For his career, lefties have hit him at a .282 clip and righties .281.  
Hawkins has pitched parts of 15 seasons for seven different teams. He earned $3.5 million from the Astros last year.  
Among the other relievers under consideration by the Brewers this week were former Cubs closer Kevin Gregg (a right-hander who has been particular tough on left-handed hitters the past three seasons) and left-hander Mike Gonzalez, who notched 10 saves with the Braves this past season. Gonzelez is a Type A free agent who declined the Braves’ arbitration offer, so he would cost the Brewers a second-round Draft pick. 

General manager Doug Melvin already has his closer in all-time saves leader Trevor Hoffman, but likes the idea of stockpiling multiple relievers with ninth-inning experience. 

“It helps,” Melvin said.  “We did that with Solomon Torres [in 2008]. If someone falters, you have somebody who’s done it before.” 

The Brewers acquired Torres in a trade with the Pirates just after the 2007 Winter Meetings and he began the year as a set-up man to $10 million closer Eric Gagne. When Gagne failed in the role, Torres stepped in notched 28 saves. 

Hawkins could be the final major addition to Milwaukee’s bullpen. Hoffman re-signed for $7.5 million right after the season, and Brewers assistant GM Gord Ash said Tuesday that the team had a tentative deal with right-hander Claudio Vargas to return. Cost-effective lefty Stetter should also be back along with arbitration-eligibles Todd Coffey and Carlos Villanueva. Seth McClung is also arbitration-eligible but can pitch as a starter or a reliever and recovered from an elbow injury before the end of last season. 

Other candidates include right-hander Chris Smith and left-hander Chris Narveson, both of whom are on the 40-man roster and had stretches of success in 2009. David Riske may return at some point in the season from Tommy John surgery. John Axford impressed in a late-season stint with the Brewers last season and Macha mentioned him Tuesday as an option. And a number of Brewers officials, including Macha, have touted left-handed pitching prospect Zach Braddock as an option to help the big league team at some point in 2010.

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