Results tagged ‘ Mark DiFelice ’

Encouraging MRI for DiFelice

Brewers reliever Mark DiFelice appears to have dodged a major bullet on Monday, when he traveled back to Milwaukee for an MRI scan that revealed only wear and tear in his aching right shoulder.

That qualified as good news for DiFelice, who underwent major surgery following the 2001 season to repair a SLAP tear to the labrum in his shoulder and needed 2 1/2 years to feel 100 percent healthy again. DiFelice worried that he might have suffered a similar injury again on Sunday, when he felt pain in the joint and left the Brewers’ game in Arizona. 

Instead, DiFelice will be shut down for at least four days before he’s evaluated again. Brewers manager Ken Macha said he might have further information about the plan for DiFelice on Tuesday, but surgery doesn’t appear to be looming. 

“It doesn’t look like it’s anything too serious,” DiFelice said. 

The timing of the injury is troubling because the Brewers have just three weeks left in their season. DiFelice felt discomfort on his 10th and final pitch in the fourth inning on Sunday on a Ball 4 offering to D-backs pitcher Max Scherzer. After a mound visit from assistant athletic trainer Dan Wright, DiFelice was pulled from the game.

Fellow reliever Chris Smith escaped the inning to avoid further damage to DiFelice’s steadily-climbing ERA. He was one of the Brewers’ most reliable bullpen arms with a 1.64 ERA entering a July 26 outing against the Braves, but in 20 appearances since then he has a 9.45 ERA. 

The shoulder, he said, hasn’t been the issue. 

“After the surgery I’ve had good days and bad days, but over the last four years it’s been absolutely perfect. [Sunday night], I just tweaked it,” DiFelice said. “I think anybody can do that. The worst thing is when something happens at the end of the season. That’s annoying.”

Wth DiFelice out, the Brewers have eight pitchers in the bullpen plus left-hander Chris Narveson, who started on Sunday in place of Manny Parra. Narveson could be called upon to start again Friday if Parra’s stiff neck does not improve.

DiFelice activated, Burns sent down

Mark DiFelice was back in the Brewers’ bullpen Tuesday night for the opener of a week-long homestand, while Mike Burns was headed back to Triple-A Nashville.

The team reinstated DiFelice from the bereavement list on Tuesday afternoon after the right-hander played catch in the outfield with head athletic trainer Roger Caplinger. DiFelice was placed on the temporary bereavement list last Wednesday night to attend his grandmother’s funeral in Philadelphia, but he was also inactive last week because of tightness in his right elbow.

To clear a spot on the active roster, the team optioned Burns back to Nashville. He was called-up during the team’s just-completed road trip as a replacement for Jorge Julio, who was released, and worked four scoreless innings in his only Brewers appearance on June 2 at Florida.

In sending out Burns, the Brewers opted to keep Chris Smith, another right-hander promoted during the last trip. Smith, who had been closing games at Nashville before his call-up, had yet to appear for the Brewers entering the homestand.

“Burns gave us ‘length’ out there,” said Macha, referring to Burns’ ability to pitch multiple innings since he was a Nashville starter before his promotion. “We’ve got [Seth] McClung to give us length right now. We want to see how Smith reacts to the Major League thing, see what we have.

“I would have liked to pitch [Smith] in Atlanta, but all three games were tight so we went with our best guys. He’s pitched very well at Triple-A, so we want to see how that translates up here.”

Riske moved to 60-day DL

The Brewers on Thursday morning formally made the roster moves they previewed last night. The team purchased Chris Smith’s contract from Triple-A Nashville, opened a spot on the 25-man roster by placing Mark DiFelice on the bereavement list and opened a spot on the 40-man roster by shifting injured reliever David Riske to the 60-day DL.

Smith will be wearing No. 52 tonight against the Marlins.

DiFelice, who has not pitched since Sunday because of a sore elbow, can spend a maximum of seven days on the bereavement list but he hopes to return a few days early. He will leave the team on Saturday to attend his grandmother’s funeral on Sunday in Philadelphia. Monday is an off-day for the Brewers, who return to host the Rockies on Tuesday at Miller Park.

I don’t think there’s any significance to the decision to tab Riske for the 60-day DL instead of Rickie Weeks. Brewers officials say both are out for the season, and Riske has no chance of bucking that pronouncement because he underwent Tommy John surgery on Tuesday. Weeks underwent wrist surgery, and some of his teammates admit they are holding out a glimmer of hope that Weeks will return very late in the season, like Yovani Gallardo did last year.

GM Doug Melvin has been asked about that possibility and said it wouldn’t happen. Weeks, he reiterated, is out for the season.

DiFelice on bereavement list, Smith coming up

The Brewers received permission from Major League Baseball during Wednesday’s win over the Marlins to place Mark DiFelice on the bereavement list, and they will promote right-hander Chris Smith from Triple-A Nashville in time for Thursday’s series finale in Florida.

Smith, 28, was 2-0 with a 1.38 ERA and 12 saves for Triple-A Nashville. He made his big league debut last season with the Red Sox, going 1-0 with a 7.85 ERA in 12 games.

The move will be officially made on Thursday. The Brewers will have to transfer one of their injured players — Rickie Weeks and David Riske are candidates — to the 60-day disabled list to clear a 40-man roster spot for Smith.

No DiFelice for Brewers tonight

Brewers reliever Mark DiFelice was unavailable for a third straight game on Wednesday because of lingering mobility issues with his right elbow.

“It’s better again today, but it’s still not there,” DiFelice said before the Brewers faced the Marlins in Game 3 of a four-game series. He wore a compression sleeve over his right arm.

DiFelice underwent an x-ray and other tests on Monday to make sure there was no structural damage in the elbow. He’s not sure how he hurt it, but it was stiff on Monday morning after DiFelice worked 1 2/3 innings against the Reds on Sunday.

He was still hoping to pitch for the Brewers before leaving the team Saturday to attend his grandmother’s funeral in Philadelphia. He will re-join the club on Tuesday in Milwaukee after spending two games away.

Depending on DiFelice’s health and the way other relievers are used in the remainder of the Marlins series, the Brewers may ask the Commissioner’s Office for permission to place DiFelice on the temporary bereavement list. The team would then be able to promote an extra arm from the Minor Leagues.

As of Wednesday, the team had not asked for permission from MLB, general manager Doug Melvin said.

“It’s a day to day thing,” manager Ken Macha said. “We’re all right today.”

Hoffman throws 40 pitches

I’m 400 feet away, up in the press box, but if the high-five between Brewers closer Trevor Hoffman and bullpen catcher Marcus Hanel was any indication, Hoffman’s first mound session in more than a month went well.

I counted an even 40 pitches over 13 minutes, and Hoffman threw his full assortment. Assuming that went well, he’ll be off Thursday and could either throw another bullpen or perhaps a live batting practice session on Friday in New York. At some point if he continues making progress, Hoffman will be sent out on a MInor League rehabilitation assignment.

The Brewers would love to have him back. Pitching in a non-save situation Tuesday night, fill-in closer Carlos Villanueva surrendered three runs on four hits. To be fair, two of the hits took tough hops near third base, including one that jumped up and hit Bill Hall in the left collarbone. Still, Villanueva allowed a 3-1 Reds lead to grow to 6-1, and manager Ken Macha hedged just a bit when he was asked whether Villanueva’s role was up in the air.

“We’ll have to see how he’s feeling [Wednesday],” Macha said. “Certainly, [Todd] Coffey and [Seth] McClung and [Mark] DiFelice have king of pitched a little better than he has right now. We’ll see how he’s feeling.”

Gameday: March 28 vs. A's

Jeff Suppan makes his next-to-last start start before Opening Day when the surging Brewers meet the slumping A’s (in case anyone is actually paying attention to Cactus League results) at Maryvale Baseball Park today.

Here’s how Ken Macha lined ‘em up:

Rickie Weeks  2B
Chris Duffy  LF
J.J. Hardy  SS
Prince Fielder  1B
Mike Cameron  CF
Bill Hall  3B
Vinny Rottino  RF
Jason Kendall  C
Jeff Suppan  RHP

Todd Coffey, David Riske and Jorge Julio are slated to follow Suppan, who is on the bump for seven innings or 105 pitches. Riske is aiming for his second scoreless outing in a row, which would qualify as a bona fide streak.

Macha also listed reliever Mark DiFelice as his starter for Sunday’s game against the Giants. It’s Yovani Gallardo’s day to pitch, but he will work the Triple-A game instead to avoid giving Giants hitters a preview of April 8 in San Francisco. It’ll be an “A” team in Scottsdale; the only position player not on the travel list was Mike Rivera, and he’ll presumably stay back to handle Gallardo.

I’m not exactly sure yet what that means for Ryan Braun. My understanding was that he might play a few games in Minor League camp to test his ribcage injury, but his name was circled this morning to travel to Scottsdale. We’ll be chatting with Macha in a few minutes and I’ll ask about Braun.

Gameday: March 21 at Angels

While Braden Looper works a Triple-A game, the A-team Brewers travel to Tempe to take on the Angels. As expected, Tony Gwynn Jr. will get his first start in the outfield today:

Jason Kendall  C
Tony Gwynn Jr.  CF
Corey Hart  RF
Prince Fielder  1B
Bill Hall  3B
Brad Nelson  LF
Casey McGehee  2B
Mike Lamb  DH
Alcides Escobar  SS

Right-hander Dave Bush will start for Milwaukee, and there was a bit of news about Bush today from manager Ken Macha, who is planning to pair Bush with Kendall’s back-up, Mike Rivera, to start the season. It’s a move to rest Kendall a bit more often this season, and is based on the small sample of success for Bush while Rivera is behind the plate.

David Riske, Jorge Julio and Wes Littleton are scheduled to work an inning apiece behind Bush, who is slated for six innings or 90 pitches.

In other morning notes:

- Trevor Hoffman (oblique) played catch the past two days and has today off. He will be evaluated again on Sunday.

- Catcher Angel Salome was cleared to take some “dry swings” on Saturday but he’s still out with a stiff back.

- Outfielder Chris Duffy returned to camp after missing part of Thursday and all of Friday with a stomach ailment. He took batting practice and should be available to play again on Sunday.

- Carlos Villanueva was originally penciled in to start Sunday against the Giants but instead Mark DiFelice will start and Villanueva will work in relief. The Brewers are trying to stretch Villanueva out a bit to sharpen him up. 

Parra off to solid Cactus League start

Unlike Yovani Gallardo the day before, Brewers lefty Manny Parra cruised through his first Cactus League start.

Parra faced seven batters in two scoreless innings, holding the A’s to one hit with one strikeout. Mark DiFelice followed and posted a similar line (minus the strikeout) and Omar Aguilar worked a scoreless inning with one hit to keep the A’s scoreless through the end of the fifth inning.

A’s pitchers were just as sharp, holding the Brewers hitless until Craig Counsell’s two-out single in the fifth inning. Corey Hart snapped the scoreless tie with an RBI single in the sixth, but the A’s got the run back against R.J. Swindle in the bottom of the inning.

Tied at 1 going to the seventh…

Gagne wants to "pay back" Brewers

Here are some quotes from new Brewer Eric Gagne, who returned to Maryvale Baseball Park on Wednesday as a Minor Leaguer on a mission:

“I let the team and the organization down,” said Gagne, who inked a Minor League deal with the Brewers and reported to big league camp just in time for a physical exam and Milwaukee’s first full-squad workout. “The one thing is that it’s easy to succeed, it’s hard to fail. …

“They paid me a lot of money last year and I didn’t really deliver. This is a little bit of payback.”

On being a $10 million bust last season:  “You look at your paycheck every two weeks and it’s like, ‘Man, that’s crazy what I get paid for,’ and you put pressure on yourself,” Gagne said. “I felt bad about it. I want to pitch good. I was happy with the season because we made the playoffs, but I was disappointed because I knew [general manager Doug Melvin] took a chance on me last year, he stuck his neck out. … He gets judged on all his moves, [especially] the big moves, and it didn’t work out with me.”

On whether he turned down Major League offers from other teams to wait for a better deal that never came:  “I’m not going to talk about that one,” Gagne said. “Yes and no. It was a weird offseason, let’s put it that way.”

He added: “I could have retired, but I’m not done.”

As I wrote yesterday and again this morning, Gagne has no assurances about a job and has tough competition from pitchers already on the 40-man roster. Barring injuries, I see two open spots and five 40-man guys with a shot: Jorge Julio, Todd Coffey, Eddie Morlan, Mark DiFelice and Tim Dillard.

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