Results tagged ‘ Lorenzo Cain ’

Big week ahead for Cain

Brewers rookie outfielder Lorenzo Cain made the most of his two weekend starts against left-handed pitchers, and now comes the really interesting part. The D-backs will feature right-handed starters throughout the four-game series this week at Miller Park, and Jim Edmonds won’t play all of those games in center field. 

That means a key opportunity for Cain.
“He’s not going to sit all four of those games,” manager Ken Macha said. “He’s going to play.”
Macha would like to see Cain log some more Triple-A at-bats before playing him every day in the Majors, but necessity is forcing the manager’s hand. Carlos Gomez is out with a concussion, Jim Edmonds is hobbled by a sore Achilles and Joe Inglett has been much more effective off the bench. 
Cain is 6-for-12 in his first six Major League games and on Sunday logged his first three RBIs and his first stolen base. 
“I’m hoping for many more stolen bases, many more RBIs,” said Cain, 24. “I’m just trying to go out there and be consistent.” 
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Cain in lineup

The Brewers are putting Lorenzo Cain right to work after his Friday afternoon call-up, starting him in tonight’s series-opener against the Astros. With left-hander Wandy Rodriguez on the hill for Houston, it’s a good opportunity to rest Jim Edmonds and his sore Achilles. 

Cain was promoted to replace Carlos Gomez, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to Tuesday, with a concussion. Chalk this up as a precautionary move, because as I write this, Gomez is part of the group taking early batting practice. 
Here’s the lineup:
Rickie Weeks  2B
Corey Hart  RF
Prince Fielder  1B
Ryan Braun  LF
Casey McGehee  3B
Lorenzo Cain  CF
Alcides Escobar SS
George Kottaras  C
Dave Bush  RHP
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Gomez to DL with concussion

The Brewers continued their cautious approach with center fielder Carlos Gomez on Friday by placing him on the 15-day disabled list with a concussion, suffered Monday when he was beaned by Cubs pitcher Brian Schlitter at Wrigley Field. Replacing Gomez on the active roster is outfielder Lorenzo Cain, who will begin his second stint with the team tonight at Miller Park. 

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Macha: Cain needs Triple-A time

Outfielder Lorenzo Cain was “impressive” in a weeklong stint with the Brewers, manager Ken Macha said. That didn’t stop the team from shipping him back to the Minor Leagues. 
Cain, 24, was optioned to Triple-A Nashville on Thursday to clear a spot for right-handed starter Yovani Gallardo’s return from the disabled list. Cain went 3-for-5 in his brief Major League debut, and was robbed of extra bases in his first big league at-bat by Braves left fielder Matt Diaz. 
In sending out Cain, the Brewers opted to keep its other speedy center fielder, Carlos Gomez, who entered Thursday with a .292 on-base percentage. Gomez and Cain both have Minor League options remaining. 
“[Cain] was impressive,” Macha said. “Very impressive. But this is a guy who has [41] at-bats in Triple-A. He needs to go play. That’s not eliminating that he may be back up here in a month or two weeks or something like that. He certainly has the tools to play center field and steal bases and swing the bat, but he missed a lot of last year with injuries, too. … 
“The honest answer is this: Lorenzo Cain missed a lot of the year last year, has [41] at-bats in Triple-A. He hasn’t even proven himself in Triple-A yet. To expose him to Major League pitching every day at this particular point in his career would probably do a disservice to him and our organization.”
Cain missed most of last season with a knee injury and began 2010 at Double-A Huntsville. Following a promotion to Nashville, he went 14-for-41 (.341) in 10 games with four stolen bases. 
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Cain coming up, Davis back to DL

The Brewers announced in their pre-game media notes that outfielder Lorenzo Cain had been recalled from Triple-A Nashville to replace left-hander Doug Davis, who landed back on the 15-day disabled list, this time with tendonitis in his elbow.

Davis spent nearly two months on the disabled list this season after developing inflammation around his heart, but his latest setback is completely unrelated. He made one start for the Brewers before the All-Star break, on July 9, and took a no-decision after allowing four earned runs in five innings. 
Cain was close to a call-up earlier this month after Brewers right-hander Yovani Gallardo strained a rib-cage muscle, but was sent back to Nashville when the Brewers decided initially not to place Gallardo on the DL. When club officials did put Gallardo on the DL a few days later, they activated Davis instead. 
Davis was supposed to make his second-half debut on Monday in Pittsburgh. Now the Brewers will have to make alternate plans. 
Cain, 24, is batting .326 in the Minor Leagues this season with 48 runs scored, 22 RBIs and 25 stolen bases. He started the year at Double-A Huntsville and earned a promotion to Triple-A Nashville, where he batted .341 with a .400 on-base percentage in 10 games. 
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Tired Rogers satisfied with AFL stint

mark-rogers.jpgForget what the numbers say. Brewers pitching prospect Mark Rogers is satisfied with his stint in the Arizona Fall League and the end of a long but healthy season. He’s also ready for a break.

Speaking Friday on a well-deserved day off, Rogers thought there was a “good chance” that he would get at least an inning of work in Saturday’s AFL Championship game. It would offer one last chance to put a positive finish on an up-and-down experience.

Rogers has been pitching — and struggling — for the Peoria Javelinas, a team of Brewers, Mariners, White Sox, Tigers and Dodgers prospect in the prestigious AFL. His team is set to face the Phoenix Desert Dogs on Saturday in a 1:35 p.m. CT game that will air on MLB Network. 

“I’m really fortunate to be with a great group of guys,” said Rogers, one of eight Brewers prospects on the team. “I’ll chalk it up as another great experience in my career.” 

It’s almost over, and that might not be a bad thing. Rogers, the fifth overall pick in the 2004 First-Year Player Draft, is coming off the longest season of his career after two full years lost entirely to shoulder surgeries. Before this season, Rogers had not pitched in a game since June 2006. 

He made up for lost time by posting a 1.63 ERA in 22 starts and one relief appearance at Class A Brevard County. Working on a strict pitch count, Rogers struck out 67 batters in 64 2/3 innings and touched 98 mph on the radar gun.

His AFL stint hasn’t been quite as smooth. Entering Saturday’s finale, Rogers had allowed 18 earned runs and 20 hits including three home runs in 10 2/3 innings. He walked nine, versus seven walks.  Opponents were hitting .392 against him. 

“I think I’m seeing a little bit of the fatigue from my first full season in three years, that’s for sure” he admitted. “But in the meantime I’m learning a lot. There are some really good hitters down here, and they hit mistakes. You have to be able to pitch. 

“It’s definitely going to be something to build on for next Spring Training. The main thing is that I feel good, but at the same time I do feel like it’s my first full season in three years. It’s a long year. That everyday grind adds up.” 

He began preparing for the 2009 season last November, meaning Rogers has now been throwing every day for more than 12 months. He’s looking forward to a post-AFL break. This year, he’ll take part in the conditioning portion of the Brewers’ offseason minicamp and will continue his shoulder exercises, but probably won’t start throwing regularly until January.  

“I know I can make it through a full season now with my arm feeling great, and that makes me really excited for next season,” said Rogers, who could find himself in Double-A Huntsville this time. “I’m going to come in fresh and ready to go with a lot more experience under my belt. Compare that to last year, when it was a clean slate. This time I have a lot of confidence that I can come into camp and turn some heads.”

The Brewers added Rogers to their 40-man roster last year and burned the first of his three Minor League options in March.

“I think he is starting to get things ironed out,” Brewers farm director Reid Nichols said. “He has been through a lot to this point. It was pretty exciting to see the mid-90 [mph] fastball come back. Now it’s just touch and feel and learning to read hitters. It may take some time because he missed a lot of it. The good news is he is healthy.”

Rogers was not the only Brewers pitching prospect who struggled in the AFL.
   
In 2009 the Brewers added Josh Butler to the 40-man roster, another intriguing right-handed pitching prospect who struggled alongside Rogers. After going 9-3 with a 2.97 ERA for four Brewers affiliates and earning a taste of the Majors in September, Butler struggled to an 11.93 ERA in six fall league starts. Opponents hit him at a .429 clip. 

Fellow 40-man roster member Omar Aguilar had a 7.11 ERA in nine relief appearances. Left-hander Zack Braddock was a bright spot before he surrendered six earned runs on four walks and four hits in 1/3 inning of relief work on Thursday, an outing that bumped his ERA from 0.87 to 5.25. Righty Rob Wooten allowed five runs in nine relief innings for a 5.00 ERA. 

The Brewers’ hitters in the AFL offered more to feel good about. Catcher Jonathan Lucroy was especially impressive, drawing raves from scouts and the Brewers officials who saw him play, hitting .310 through Thursday with two home runs and 10 RBIs. Outfielder Lorenzo Cain, who on Wednesday was added to the 40-man roster, hit .242 but posted a solid .375 on-base percentage as the Javelinas’ leadoff hitter. 

Third baseman Taylor Green was batting .212 entering Saturday’s finale but had four of his 11 hits and all six of his RBIs in the Javelinas’ last three games. 

“I believe that if you have this experience, it’s going to make you better,” Rogers said. “It’s been a great year for me, and I don’t want to look at it as anything else. I look forward to a full season ahead of me without a pitch count where I can just go play.”

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Cain, Rivas get 40-man spots

Two days before the deadline to protect prospects from next month’s Rule 5 Draft, the Brewers added outfielder Lorenzo Cain and right-hander Amaury Rivas — the team’s reigning Minor League pitcher of the year — to the 40-man roster.

Two others who would have required protection had been previously added. The Brewers gave pitchers John Axford and Josh Butler a taste of the Majors in September, figuring they would need roster protection after the season, anyway. The team also added infielder Adam Heether earlier this month. [That’s true, but they didn’t have to add Heether to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft. He would have been a six-year free agent.]

Cain, 23, impressed Brewers coaches when he filled-in for some injured outfielders during Spring Training but saw his season derailed by a left knee injury in April. He was limited to 60 games at three levels of Milwaukee’s farm system and batted .218 with a .277 on-base percentage.

“When you play with an injury all year it can make you apprehensive, and it did,” Brewers farm director Reid Nichols said. “He had doubts on his knee. He was probably playing a step short the whole time and had a little lack of confidence in what he could do physically. That’s normal, when you can’t go the way you want to go. There’s no doubt he’s a good player. He just has to get that knee as well as his other one.”

Cain is currently making up for lost time in the Arizona Fall League.
Through 17 games, he was hitting .242 with a .375 on-base percentage
and 14 runs scored as the Peoria Javelinas’ leadoff man.

Rivas, who turns 24 on Dec. 20, was 13-7 with a 2.98 ERA at Class A Brevard County in 2009 to win a Robin Yount Award as the organization’s top pitcher. He was at Miller Park to accept the award in September.

With Wednesday’s additions, the Brewers still have five open spots on their 40-man roster.

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Fall League set to start

afl-javelinas.jpgThe prestigious Arizona Fall League begins its 18th season on Tuesday with a trio of games, including a matchup between the Surprise Rafters and Peoria Javelinas that includes the Brewers’ contingent of prospects.

Eight players will suit up for the Javelinas this season including pitchers Omar Aguilar, Josh Butler, Mark Rogers and Robert Wooten plus catcher Jonathan Lucroy, infielder Taylor Green and outfielder Lorenzo Cain.

In addition, left-hander Zach Braddock is a member of the Javelina’s taxi squad, available on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Class A Brevard County pitching coach Fred Dabney will serve in that role for the Javelinas.

That’s a pretty impressive list of Brewers prospects. Keep an especially close eye on Aguilar, Butler and Rogers because they are on Milwaukee’s 40-man roster, plus Cain and Lucroy, who have pretty clear paths to the big leagues if they can continue to develop. Cain lost part of the 2009 season to a knee injury, so his AFL stint is particularly important.

The AFL distributed a PDF packed with everything you could possibly want to know about the league, so I’ll attach it here for those who are interested. The AFL’s regular season ends Nov. 21 with the championship game slated for Nov. 21.
Javelina.jpg
AFL Opening Day.pdf

Here’s something you won’t find in that PDF: A javelina, according to the Arizona Game and Fish Department, is also known as a peccary, a medium-sized mammal that looks a bit like a pig. A terrifying, crazed pig.

Tidbits: Hoffman, Suppan, Sheets, Hardy

The discussion about whether the Brewers would trade Ryan Braun or Prince Fielder was the most interesting part of general manager Doug Melvin’s year-end wrap-up with the media, but here’s a taste of the other topics discussed:

- The Brewers officially announced their new deal with closer Trevor Hoffman, who re-signed for one year plus a mutual option for 2011. The contract guarantees $8 million and could pay as much as $16.5 million over two years. 

 “By signing Trevor Hoffman, that was a big splash for us,” Melvin said. “If our pitching is going to improve, we have to keep the success we had at the back end of our bullpen. And also, to attract free agent starting pitchers, one of the first questions they always want to know is, ‘Who is the closer?'” 

- Melvin hinted that the focus on pitching could make it difficult for the team to re-sign its key free agents, including center fielder Mike Cameron and catcher Jason Kendall. Rickie Weeks is the second baseman, Melvin reiterated, making it likely that free agent Felipe Lopez will also be let go.

Assistant GM Gord Ash conceded that it’s difficult for teams to win with unproven players up the middle but insisted it can be done. He mentioned Lorenzo Cain and Logan Schafer as the team’s top center field prospects and said Jonathan Lucroy was the team’s top catching prospect. Interestingly, Angel Salome’s name was not brought up.

- Jeff Suppan, the Brewers’ 2009 Opening Day starter, is not guaranteed a spot in the 2010 starting rotation despite his $12.5 million salary. It will be the final season of his four-year contract, and he projects as the team’s highest-paid player for the second straight year. 

“I think Jeff is a professional and he knows that he will come into camp and [compete],” Melvin said. “You have to give him some credit for the fact he’s been given the ball a lot of years. He’s very seldom injured. … I don’t think there will be very many guarantees about who will be in the rotation. We probably have to make it more competitive to get better.” 

- Free agent righty Ben Sheets, who missed all of 2009 following elbow surgery, is still on the Brewers’ radar.

“Ben is somebody who would have to be on anybody’s list when it comes to improving your pitching staff,” Ash said. “We’re not up to date with his physical condition right now since he’s no longer in our care, so that would have to be Step 1. But from our point of view, we enjoyed Ben as part of the Brewers and there’s been, ‘once in a while’ conversations with his agent to remind him that we still have that ongoing interest. It hasn’t been followed-up yet.”

- Melvin already interviewed one potential pitching coach on Monday and was to travel with Ash on Thursday to interview another candidate. He wouldn’t say whether he had already spoken with former A’s and Mets pitching coach Rick Peterson, an early favorite for the position because of his past working relationships with Brewers manager Ken Macha and bench coach Willie Randolph

“We don’t want to advertise who we’re looking at,” Melvin said. “The cat’s out of the bag on one guy. I interviewed him on Monday and another team interviewed him the next day.” 

- Ash shed more light on the options that faced third baseman Casey McGehee, who underwent successful surgery on Tuesday. McGehee has a lesion in his knee, Ash said, that causes fragments of bone to break away. He could have had a more intensive procedure to inject healthy cells into the knee to promote re-growth but it was a riskier procedure that could have sidelined McGehee weeks or even months into the 2010 season. 

“He elected, after consulting with a couple of surgeons, to have kind of the intermediary procedure done, and that was to take out all of the fragments and hope that area of his knee remains intact,” Ash said. “We don’t have 100 percent guarantee on that. What we do know about Casey is that he’s an excellent worker and he’s motivated.” 

- Melvin did little to dispute the notion that shortstop J.J. Hardy will be traded this winter to make room for Alcides Escobar. Hardy’s value is down both because of his poor 2009 season (he batted .229 and was optioned to the Minors in August) and because the rest of the league knows that the Brewers are ready to install Escobar. 

“It might be down a little bit,” Melvin said of Hardy’s value. “But there are still clubs that have interest in him. Shortstop is a big hole to fill.”

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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.
 

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