Brewers PR man Ken Spindler put together a list of Brewers players participating in the various Winter Leagues. Here are some highlights:
Brewers shortstop Alcides Escobar is off to a quiet start in the Venezuelan Winter League and headlines a list of 26 players with Brewers ties who played on after the end of the U.S. summer season.
Escobar was hitting .211 with a .248 on-base percentage through Wednesday, when he played his 24th game for the Cardenales de Lara. He returned home looking to build off a rookie season in the Majors in which Escobar hit .235 with a .288 OBP, four home runs, 45 RBIs and 10 stolen bases.
Two of Escobar’s September teammates were also playing in Winter Leagues. Outfielder Carlos Gomez batted .269 with four RBIs and 11 runs in 19 games through Nov. 19 for Escogido in the Dominican Republic, and infielder Luis Cruz is active in Culiacan, Mexico, batting .293 with six home runs and 20 RBIs in 34 games including a two-hit night Wednesday.
A total of 14 Brewers players are participating in Winter Leagues in the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Mexico and Puerto Rico after 12 players took part in the Arizona Fall League.
In addition to Gomez, the Brewers’ Dominican League contingent includes infielder Erick Almonte, who is batting .277 with 3 home runs and 19 RBIs in 43 games for the same team that featured Gomez. Right-handed pitcher Zack Segovia, who signed a Minor League contract with Milwaukee in November and will be in big league Spring Training camp, has gone 2-0 with a 1.66 ERA and eight saves in 16 relief appearances with Estrellas.
In the Mexican Winter League, longtime Brewers farmhand Brendan Katin batted .261 with one home run and three RBIs in six games in October prior to joining the Venezuela Winter League, where he has played in eight games. Right-hander Josh Butler made five appearances, four starts, with Hermosillo.
The Brewers are represented by five players in the Puerto Rican Winter League. Infielder Sergio Miranda leads the league with a .364 batting average to go along with 16 RBIs in 32 games with San Juan. Left-hander Efrain Nieves is also playing for San Juan and has gone 2-4 with a 4.62 ERA in 10 games including eight starts. Right-handers Hiram Burgos (0-1, 3.06 ERA) and Darren Byrd (2-1, 4.46 ERA) have both pitched in eight games with Mayaguez and catcher Martin Maldonado (.241 average, six RBIs) has played in 21 games with Mayaguez. The Brewers added Maldonado to the 40-man roster this winter.
In Venezuela, catcher Anderson De La Rosa has played in two games with Lara and left-hander Sam Narron went 2-1 with a 3.82 ERA in seven starts with Caracas. The Brewers recently re-signed Narron, the cousin of new Milwaukee bench coach Jerry Narron, to a Minor League contract.
Left fielder Ryan Braun is not in the lineup for the opener of a four-game series of the Marlins that will mark the end of Milwaukee’s home season. Braun was struck near the left elbow with a pitch in Wednesday’s rout of the Reds, a plunking that conjured memories of the Tommy Hanson pitch that hit Braun’s elbow in May and sapped the All-Star’s power.
With Braun out and the Brewers facing the non-contending Marlins, manager Ken Macha got creative with his lineup. Rickie Weeks is making his third start in the three-hole (the Brewers have lost the other two), Lorenzo Cain is making his second start as the leadoff man (0-1) and Mat Gamel will play his first career innings in the outfield. He’s replacing Braun in left field.
Here’s the full lineup:
Lorenzo Cain CF
Corey Hart RF
Rickie Weeks 2B
Prince Fielder 1B
Casey McGehee 3B
Mat Gamel LF
Jonathan Lucroy C
Luis Cruz SS
Yovani Gallardo RHP
For the third straight day against the Reds, the Brewers lineup featured a different starter in center field. After Carlos Gomez and Chris Dickerson started the first two games, manager Ken Macha had rookie Lorenzo Cain in the lineup Wednesday.
At shortstop, rookie Alcides Escobar got a second straight day off, with veteran Craig Counsell in the lineup once again. When asked Tuesday about starting September callup Luis Cruz instead of Counsell, Macha said he would not do it against a contender like the Reds.
The only other change to the usual lineup featured George Kottaras behind the plate, as he typically is when veteran lefty Randy Wolf is on the mound.
Here’s the rest of the lineup:
– Jordan Schelling, Associate Reporter
The Brewers will recall infielder Luis Cruz from Triple-A Nashville and will purchase right-hander Brandon Kintzler’s contract from Nashville in time for Tuesday’s game against the Cardinals, the club announced Monday evening.
Cruz was already on the 40-man roster and is coming off a solid year in Triple-A, where he batted .281 with 10 home runs and 68 RBIs. The Brewers claimed him off waivers from the Pirates last December.
Kintzler is an intriguing 26-year-old who was plucked out of the independent leagues last summer and posted a 1.47 ERA in 42 relief outings this season between Double-A Huntsville and Nashville. He’s ticketed for the Arizona Fall League after his stint with the Brewers.
With Kintzler’s addition, the Brewers have 39 players on the 40-man roster.
MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez wrote a preview of the Caribbean Series, which kicks off today on Margarita Island off the coast of Venezuela. Four teams from four countries are represented — the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Venezuela.
Two Brewers are represented. Infielder Luis Cruz plays for Mexico and batted .314 during that country’s regular season. Catcher Martin Maldonado, a nonroster invitee to Milwaukee’s camp, is on the roster for Puerto Rico. He appeared in 25 games during the regular season for Mayaguez. Puerto Rico also features Minor League left-hander Efrain Nieves, who pitched for Milwaukee’s low Class A affiliate in Appleton, Wis. last summer.
New Brewers center fielder Carlos Gomez played for the Dominican entry to the tournament, but he is not on that nation’s roster for the Caribbean Series. The Brewers explained Gomez’s absence from Sunday’s “On Deck” event by saying he was suffering from the flu.
You can follow Caribbean Series news, stats and can even access MLB.com’s gameday feature from this page
A baseball source told MLB.com’s Jennifer Langosch that the Brewers claimed infielder Luis Cruz off waivers from the Pirates on Monday. Cruz could provide a bit of insurance for the Brewers against the departure of versatile free agent Craig Counsell.
Cruz, 25, appeared sparingly for the Pirates in each of the past two years, batting .219 as a shortstop and a second baseman. He’s a .250 hitter over parts of nine Minor League seasons in the Red Sox, Padres and Pirates chains, topping-out with 12 home runs and 65 RBIs at Double-A Mobile (Padres) in 2006.
The Pirates placed Cruz on waivers on Saturday to clear a spot on their full 40-man roster ahead of Thursday’s Rule 5 Draft.
Counsell, though, remains a top target of the Brewers. General manager Doug Melvin submitted a contract offer to agent Barry Meister ahead of this week’s Winter Meetings and planned to meet face-to-face in Indianapolis. The Brewers are particularly focused on having depth on the infield behind injury-prone second baseman Rickie Weeks, rookie shortstop Alcides Escobar and somewhat-unproven third baseman Casey McGehee.
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