Results tagged ‘ Mike Lamb ’

Gwynn clears waivers; club claims Koshansky

[UPDATED at 1:20 p.m. CT... Added some thoughts from assistant GM Gord Ash and corrected my note on Koshansky, who actually came from the Rangers after a 4-day stay in that organization.]

Tony Gwynn Jr. is staying put.

All 29 teams, including the San Diego Padres, who employed Gwynn’s father for 20 Hall of Fame seasons, could have had Gwynn for $20,000 — plus a roster spot, of course — after the Brewers placed Gwynn on outright waivers Wednesday. All 29 teams passed, so the Brewers were able to assign Gwynn to Triple-A Nashville. 

“I was surprised he got through,” Brewers assistant general manager Gord Ash said. “But it’s happened to other players before. It happened to Brad Nelson three years ago, and look where he is now. It doesn’t mean the end of anything, it’s just kind of an interruption.

“[Gwynn] is obviously disappointed, but understands. He wanted to make sure that he’s going to get the opportunity to play and make his way back to the big leagues. I assured him he would.”

Gwynn, 26 and Milwaukee’s second-round Draft pick in 2003, reported to Spring Training out of Minor League options and seemingly assured a job as the Brewers’ fourth outfielder. But he missed the first half of Spring Training with a sore throwing shoulder and then was outplayed by fellow out-of-options outfielder Nelson and non-roster invitee Chris Duffy. Gwynn went 4-for-25 in Cactus League games with eight strikeouts.

The final choice essentially came down to Gwynn or Duffy; both are left-handed hitters with speed on the basepaths and are premium defenders in center field. Duffy batted .315 in Spring Training.

Also on Friday, the Brewers announced that third baseman Mike Lamb had cleared release waivers and become a free agent. Lamb was informed Tuesday that he would not have a spot on Milwaukee’s Opening Day roster.

The team also claimed first baseman Joe Koshansky off waivers from the Rangers and optioned him to Nashville, where the Sounds already had a first baseman in former Brave Scott Thorman. Ash said the Brewers could have some further news regarding Thorman later today. 

Koshansky, who turns 27 in May, has spent brief stints in the big leagues in each of the last two seasons but spent most of 2008 at Triple-A Colorado Springs, where he batted .300 with 31 home runs and 121 RBIs in just 122 games. He also struck out 158 times. The Rangers claimed him off waivers from the Rockies on March 29 but then needed the 40-man roster spot for a non-roster invitee, according to Ash. 

Gameday: April 1 vs. D'backs

Scratch that, Bill Hall is out.

Brewers athletic trainer Roger Caplinger recommended that manager Ken Macha use Hall as a pinch-hitter on Wednesday instead of installing him in the starting lineup against the Diamondbacks. Hall had a tooth extracted on Tuesday, and Caplinger worried that an elevated heart rate would increase the likelihood of bleeding, Macha said.

So Casey McGehee starts instead:

Rickie Weeks  2B
Brad Nelson  LF
J.J. Hardy  SS
Prince Fielder  1B
Corey Hart  RF
Mike Cameron  CF
Bill Hall  3B  Casey McGehee  3B
Jason Kendall  C
Dave Bush  RHP

Bush is scheduled for seven innings or 105 pitches, with relievers Todd Coffey and Jorge Julio to follow.

In news this morning, the Brewers released infielder Mike Lamb and reassigned left-hander Chris Capuano to Minor League camp to continue his rehab from elbow surgery.

Was Lamb surprised? 'Yes and no'

We just talked via telephone with Mike Lamb and asked whether he was surprised when informed that he will not be on the Opening Day roster.

“Yes and no,” Lamb said. “Yes, because every indication I had from the off-season leading into Spring Training was that I was going to be on the team and see playing time at third base, depending on how Billy [Hall] did.

“Then, when I got to Spring Training, I started going into games in the seventh and eighth inning. And I went almost a week without playing third. It just wasn’t adding up. I wasn’t totally shocked, but I never dreamed I’d get released again. I don’t think I merited that. I thought I played decent enough. My batting average wasn’t that great but I certainly don’t think I was overmatched.”

Lamb is due $3 million this season but only $400,000 of that was to come from the Brewers. He’s owed the rest by the Twins, who signed Lamb to a two-year, $6.5 million contract prior to the 2008 season but then released him in August.

He did not sound like a player interested in going to Triple-A.

“I need to talk to my agent [Sam Levinson],” Lamb said. “I don’t envision being a Triple-A player. It’s not a money issue. My contract is guaranteed. I don’t want to go to Triple-A to be somebody’s insurance policy. I don’t think I deserve that. I’m only 33.

“Hopefully, something will open up with another team. It’s a tough spot because everybody else is doing the same thing, trimming their roster to get down to 25. It can be difficult to find a job.”
 

Lamb won't make the cut

A Brewers clubhouse attendant pulled Mike Lamb off the practice field on Tuesday just minutes before the Brewers began their daily stretch, and when Lamb met inside with general manager Doug Melvin and manager Ken Macha, he was told that he will not make the team’s Opening Day roster.

What happens next is up to Lamb. The Brewers will place him on waivers by 1 p.m. CT on Wednesday, but it is unclear whether he will be on release waivers or outright waivers. The answer depends on whether Lamb is willing to accept a job at Triple-A Nashville should he clear.

“There are some things I talked to his agent and to Mike about that will come into play tomorrow,” general manager Doug Melvin said. “We may know tonight and get back to you.”

Lamb was hitting .250 in the Cactus League (13-for-52) with two home runs and 12 RBIs. He racked up six of those RBIs in his last four games, including a pinch-hit, three-run homer on Friday night against the Rangers and another three-RBI performance on Monday against the Mariners. 

Melvin said the final decisions have yet to be made, but the departure of Lamb certainly bodes well for Casey McGehee, who is hitting .370 this spring with six homers and 15 RBIs. He hit a game-winning, two-run homer to beat the Mariners on Monday.

Besides his gaudy Cactus League numbers, McGehee brings to the table a right-handed bat for a Brewers bench stocked with lefties. He had proven an above-average defender at third base and has shown he’s capable at first base, second base and the outfield as well. He also has catching experience, and could give Macha more flexibility at that position. 

Surgery is one option for Counsell

Brewers infielder Craig Counsell was back in the starting lineup Monday after playing a pair of Minor League games, but he might need surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee, assistant general manager Gord Ash said.

That’s just one of the scenarios for Counsell, who is expected to serve as Milwaukee’s primary reserve infielder this season and is particularly important as a backup to starting shortstop J.J. Hardy. There also remains the possibility that Counsell could play through the injury, Ash said.

“He played over on the [Minor League] side the last couple of days and pushed himself pretty good,” Ash said. “He has some pain but still can play through it. What we want to do is move him over here and let him play [in a big league game] to see how he feels. By mid-week we’ll have some decisions on where it goes from there.”

A surgery would sideline Counsell for 2-3 weeks, Ash said.

If Counsell suffers a setback, both Mike Lamb and Casey McGehee would make Milwaukee’s Opening Day roster but the team would be thin behind Hardy. Bill Hall, who played shortstop when hardy was injured in 2006, would probably slide over from third base. The team wants to stick with its plan to send shortstop prospect Alcides Escobar to Triple-A Nashville.

Let the games begin

The main stadium is finally filled with ballplayers today for an intrasquad game that precedes Wednesday’s Cactus League opener. Some particulars about those games, starting with Wednesday’s tilt against the A’s:

- Pitchers on the list to throw Wednesday include starter Jeff Suppan, who will throw two innings or 30 pitches, followed by Dave Bush, who will work an inning in advance of his first start on Sunday. Trevor Hoffman is scheduled for his unofficial Brewers debut, followed by Eddie Morlan, Lindsay Gulin, Nick Green, Todd Coffey and Jorge Julio.

- Macha did not unveil his lineup in advance, but the Brewers’ regular starting position players will be at their spots with the exception of third baseman Bill Hall, who is cautiously working back from a partially torn calf muscle. Mike Lamb will likely start at third on Wednesday.

- A’s skipper Bob Geren called Macha on Monday to see if the Brewers were interested in employing the designated hitter. Macha declined, saying he wanted his pitchers to practice bunting.

- As for Tuesday’s intrasquad game, it’s Eddie’s Elite, managed by first base coach Ed Sedar, against Fischer’s Fanatistics, the home team managed by third base coach Brad Fischer. The game was scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m. CT, and position players will bat once or twice before a Minor Leaguer takes over. 

Here are the starting lineups:

Eddie’s Elite
1. Corey Hart  RF
2. Craig Counsell  2B
3. Ryan Braun  LF
4. Prince Fielder  1B
5. Mike Rivera  C
6. Mat Gamel  DH
7. Vinny Rottino  3B
8. Alcides Escobar  SS
9. Chris Duffy  CF
Scheduled pitchers: LHP Chase Wright, RHP Tim Dillard, LHP Chris Narveson and LHP R.J. Swindle

Fischer’s Fantastics
1. Rickie Weeks  2B
2. Jason Kendall  C
3. Mike Cameron  CF
4. J.J. Hardy  SS
5. Trot Nixon  LF
6. Brad Nelson  RF
7. Casey McGehee  3B
8. Mike Lamb  1B
9. Tony Gwynn, Jr.  DH
Scheduled pitchers: RHP Braden Looper, RHP Mark
DiFelice, LHP Sam Narron and RHP Omar Aguilar

UPDATE at 1:45 p.m. CT:  It was nine up, nine down for Brewers pitchers before Hardy began 2009 the way he ended 2008. Hardy hit an 0-and-1 pitch from Dillard for a home run to left-center field leading off the bottom of the second inning. It’s 1-0, Fantastics.

And the regulars are already hitting the showers. Hart, Counsell, Braun, Weeks, Kendall, Cameron, Fielder and Rivera all left the game after one at-bat, making way for Minor Leaguers on loan from the other half of the complex.

UPDATE at 2:14 p.m. CT: With so many defensive changes in this game, it looks like Lamb has the MVP award locked up. Lamb made a diving stop at first base in the top of the second inning and shoveled to DiFelice for a tough out against Mat Gamel, then drove in the Fantastics’ second run in the bottom of the second inning with a sacrifice fly. That made it 2-0, but Scott Thorman got one run back in the top of the third inning with an RBI single.

UPDATE at 2:58 p.m. CT: Didn’t get this in before we had to meet Macha on the field, but 2-1 was the final score, with Lamb’s sacrifice fly representing the winning run for Fischer’s Fantastics. Time of game was 55 minutes, prompting calls for four-inning games throughout Spring Training. 
 

Hall suffers Crew's first spring injury

The Brewers did not get through Day 1 of Spring Training without the first injury news of the year.

Bill Hall, the frontrunner at start at third base, was diagnosed with a partial tear of his left calf muscle on Friday and will be sidelined 4-6 weeks for rehabilitation. Hall was injured while doing conditioning work before the start of Spring Training.

Assuming his rehab progresses on schedule, Hall still could be ready in time for the Brewers’ April 7 season-opener in San Francisco. Hall underwent offseason Lasik surgery and was hoping for a bounce-back season after two down years. His best season was 2005, when Hall mostly played shortstop and belted 35 homers while hitting .270 and driving in 85 runs.

Third base is a position of relative depth for the Brewers, who have Mike Lamb back for 2009 as well as utility man Craig Counsell, who started 38 games at third in 2008. Both bat left-handed, as does prospect Mat Gamel, though the Brewers may prefer to send Gamel to Triple-A Nashville to continue work on his defense. The top right-handed option is Casey McGehee, an offseason waiver claim from the Cubs.

UPDATE at 1:48 p.m. CT:  Just got off the phone with assistant GM Gord Ash, who said Hall felt a “pop” in his calf during a working Thursday at a private training facility in the Phoenix area. He called head athletic trainer Roger Caplinger and underwent an MRI scan on Friday morning.

Asked about Hall’s availability for Opening Day, Ash said this: “We’ll know better about that [Saturday] when we see him for his physical. He’s recovered fast from injuries before, but to recover enough from this injury to get onto the field could be 30-45 days, so he might be touch and go.”

As for Plan B should Hall miss the start of the season: “We have a lot of choices. … These things will sort themselves out. You don’t like to start camp with an injury, but it is part of the game, no question, and we’ll adjust.”

Ash said Hall was the team’s only health concern that came to light ahead of Saturday’s physicals.

 

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