Results tagged ‘ Mitch Stetter ’

Medical round-up: Lucroy, Hart, Gamel, Hawkins

Some medical updates from Brewers camp:
– Ron Roenicke confirmed that catcher Jonathan Lucroy could be ready for Opening Day if all goes according to plan in his recovery from a fractured right pinkie finger. A metal pin in Lucroy’s finger will come out on March 21, and Lucroy can begin hitting after that as the pain tolerates. 
“He threw to bases [on Saturday] without the splint on, and was good,” Roenicke said. “So really it’s just going to be a matter of gripping a bat, trying to get the flexibility back in his finger. That’s going to take a while. But everything else is good. He’s catching bullpens so his legs will be in shape.”
– Right fielder Corey Hart has been making significant progress in the past few days in his recovery from a left rib-cage strain, Roenicke said. Hart played catch, took grounders in the outfield and did core strengthening exercises on Saturday without issue.
“They’re going to try to step it up a little bit and put more on him, and see where he is,” Roenicke said. “He’s coming along pretty good. … In a couple of days, they’re hoping he can swing.”
– Third baseman/utility man/hitting prospect Mat Gamel was scheduled to take live batting practice for the first time on Sunday in Minor League camp. If it goes well, he could do it again Monday before slotting into Cactus League games. 
Gamel still has a chance to make the team, Roenicke said. But the fact he bats left-handed probably hurts his case — the Brewers already have Mark Kotsay, Craig Counsell and probably Chris Dickerson slated for bench duty — and it will be more difficult at this stage of spring for Gamel to demonstrate his defensive versatility because the regulars are playing deeper into games. 
“I know he can hit,” Roenicke said. “It’s just a matter of how he fits on our club.”
– A trio of relievers are making good progress. 
Reliever LaTroy Hawkins was “feeling great today” about his live patting practice on Saturday, Roenicke said, and will probably throw some simulated innings this week before debuting in a game. He’s coming back steadily from shoulder surgery.
Left-hander Mitch Stetter, who strained a muscle behind his shoulder early in camp, is scheduled to pitch Monday against the Giants after throwing a successful live batting practice session Friday.   
Another left-hander Manny Parra, was very close to getting back on the mound, Roenicke said. 
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Banged-up bullpen notes

Who knew that head athletic trainer Roger Caplinger would play such an important role in the Brewers’ assembling their 2011 bullpen?

Closer John Axford, set-up men Takashi Saito and LaTroy Hawkins and left-handed long man Manny Parra had all yet to make their Cactus League debuts as of Thursday morning because of various ailments, and hopefuls Pat Egan and Mitch Stetter were in the same camp. 
“It’s a little unusual for your bullpen guys, because they’re usually just throwing an inning,” manager Ron Roenicke said. 
At least all of those players were on the right track:
– Parra, who was slowed by some middle back stiffness, was to pitch Thursday afternoon against the A’s at Maryvale Baseball Park. 
– Axford was set back by a bout of food poisoning, an unfortunate side effect of his Valentine’s Day dinner with wife Nicole. The Brewers took a cautious approach with Axford while he regained strength, and he’s to debut against the Giants on Friday in Scottsdale, Ariz. 
– Hawkins (shoulder) and Saito (hip and hamstring) each threw bullpen sessions on Wednesday with no setbacks, manager Ron Roenicke said. 
It was Hawkins’ first mound work since major shoulder surgery last August, and he said the 20-pitch session went “great.” He won’t appear in games until mid-month at the earliest. Saito asked for his Cactus League debut to be pushed back because of tightness that he worried could lead to trouble with his right shoulder, like it did in 2010, so he won’t make his Brewers debut until Saturday against the Angels.
The issues were not limited to the established pitchers. 
 
Stetter, trying to regain the foothold in the organization that he had in 2009, when he made 71 appearances in the Majors, suffered a strained latissimus dorsi muscle behind his left shoulder prior to camp but is scheduled for a bullpen on Friday. 
The latest name to come up in Roenicke’s morning meetings with reporters was Egan’s. The 6-foot-8 righty has been slowed by tightness around his right hip, Roenicke said, but is expected to throw off a mound on Friday, perhaps against the Giants. Egan had a similar ailment last spring with the Orioles.
 
Egan is particularly interesting partly because he’s a Rule 5 Draft pick, and would have to stick on Milwaukee’s 25-man roster or be offered back to the Orioles.
Given he’s never pitched in the Majors, Egan might be a long shot for a bullpen that, barring future injuries, is full except for one spot. Right-handers Sean Green, Mike McClendon, Brandon Kintzler and Justin James are among the others vying to impress Roenicke and pitching coack Rick Kranitz in camp.
“I’m not concerned about them being ready to pitch [at the start of the season], but what I’m concerned about is if guys are trying to make the team and they’re hurt, then, yes, they need to be out there to throw as much as they can,” Roenicke said. “[Egan] would certainly be one of them. Any time you have a Rule 5 guy, you have to see as much of him as you can.”
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Brewers say Hart out two weeks

ANOTHER UPDATE postgame — Ron Roenicke’s understanding is that Hart should be back in game shape in two weeks, not that he’ll be shut down for two weeks. There’s a distinction there. The bottom line is that oblique injuries are tough to predict, so let’s just see how Hart progresses.

UPDATE at 2:10 p.m. CT — The Brewers just announced that Hart would engage in “rest and recovery” for the next two weeks, so that’s a somewhat more serious take on his injury. Here’s an update to the earlier note:
Brewers right fielder Corey Hart will miss about two weeks of exhibition games while recovering from a strained muscle along his left rib cage, the club announced Monday. 
That marked a somewhat more serious diagnosis than the one Hart gave a few hours earlier, after he was examined by Dr. Craig Young at Maryvale Baseball Park. Hart said he only expected to be shut down “a few more days.” 
“I think it’s hard to tell exactly how long it’s going to be,” manager Ron Roenicke said. “But [assistant GM Gord Ash] said there is a strain there, and he wants to be overprotective of it. I was a little bummed when I heard two weeks.” 
Roenicke’s understanding is that Hart could be back playing in games in two weeks, not that he would be entirely shut down for that entire period. 
Hart was hurt during a throwing drill Saturday. He said it was the first time he’d tweaked an oblique muscle in his career. 
“[Young] said we would probably push it a little harder if we were in the middle of the season, but there’s no reason to push it right now,” Hart said. “We’re going to try easing in so we don’t have any setbacks at all.”
Hart’s duties on Monday were limited to receiving treatment in the training room. He was among the handful players on the injury report as the Brewers kicked off their exhibition schedule:
– Relievers John Axford (illness), Manny Parra (back), Zach Braddock (blister), LaTroy Hawkins (shoulder) and Mitch Stetter (undisclosed) were not on the list to pitch against the Giants of Cubs. Axford suffered a bout of food poisoning early in camp and has slowly been working back. Parra had some minor back stiffness last week and was scheduled to throw a live batting practice session on Monday. Braddock had a small blister last week that should not keep him out long, and Hawkins remains on schedule in his return from last year’s shoulder surgery. Manager Ron Roencike said only that Stetter was being brought along slowly this spring.
– Top pitching prospect Mark Rogers was very encouraged by a throwing session on Sunday and hopes to get back on the mound by mid-week. Rogers, who has a long injury history, shut down a live batting practice session last week because of some stiffness in his right shoulder. 
“I felt great yesterday playing long toss,” he said. “It’s the best I’ve felt all spring. We’re slowly working our way back into it. I’m sure a bullpen is in the near future. I’d guess in the next few days. So far, it’s responded better than I expected it to.” 
It’s difficult to sit around with the exhibition schedule underway. 
“I’ve got the itch,” Rogers said. “I want to pitch.”
– Infielder Mat Gamel remains restricted from hitting because of his own rib-cage strain. He’s been able to take part in fielding drills during his layoff. Catcher Jonathan Lucroy is out with a fractured right pinkie finger. He has a doctor’s appointment for late this week to set a plan for rehab.
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Hawkins to DL; Stetter up from Nashville

LaTroy Hawkins is hurt, after all. 

The Brewers will place the veteran reliever on the 15-day disabled list Sunday with weakness in his right shoulder and will recall left-hander Mitch Stetter from Triple-A Nashville. Hawkins, who surrendered a walkoff grand slam to the Dodgers’ Andre Ethier in his last outing on Wednesday, had previously declined the notion that he was hurt. 
But his location has been missing for some time and lately his velocity has dropped. On Saturday night after the Brewers announced the roster move, Hawkins owned up.
“Something wasn’t right,” he said. 
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Melvin: Sending down Stetter was 'tough call'

In something of a surprise move, the Brewers will option left-handed relief specialist Mitch Stetter to Triple-A Nashville on Thursday so Jeff Suppan can return from the disabled list to start against the Cubs. 
Stetter was one of three left-handers in the bullpen but the others — Chris Narveson and Manny Parra — are starting pitchers who were beat out by Suppan in the race for the fifth starter’s spot. Stetter was the team’s top late-inning option against left-handed hitters, coming off a 2009 season in which he made 71 appearances and limited lefties to a .178 batting average. 
The club’s decision was complicated by the fact that so few Brewers players have Minor League options. Narveson and Parra are both out, so the Brewers would risk losing either player on waivers if they tried to send them down. Likewise, fifth outfielder Jody Gerut and backup infielder Joe Inglett are out of options.
The only relievers with options were Stetter and right-hander Carlos Villanueva. 
“There were only two choices,” said general manager Doug Melvin, who informed Stetter of the move following Wednesday’s 7-6 loss to the Cubs. “Nothing against Mitch, it’s not that he hasn’t done the job, but we feel that Carlos can give us some more innings. 
“It was a tough call. We went back and forth on it. Obviously, we’re taking a little bit of a chance.” 
The Brewers are set to wrap-up their series with the Cubs on Thursday behind Suppan, who began the year on the 15-day DL with a neck injury. Then it’s off to Washington for a three-game series. The Nationals’ most dangerous left-handed hitter is slugger Adam Dunn. 
Stetter had made two appearances this season and retired both hitters he faced.
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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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Wolf, Stetter get their work in

Lefty Randy Wolf and catcher Gregg Zaun headed over to the Minor League fields a few moments ago to take part in an intrasquad game designed to keep Wolf on track for the start of the season. The team opted to give the “A” game assignment to Chris Narveson, who is still bidding for his spot in the rotation. 

Wolf was not the only big league pitcher in action. The team also sent left-hander Mitch Stetter, who has not been sharp in his Cactus League appearances, to pitch two controlled innings in front of pitching coach Rick Peterson.
“I told Rick that I think the best route for Mitch, if you really want to get a look at him instead of putting him out there against a ton of right-handers and then I have to take him out of the game, is let’s let him throw 15 pitches, sit him down, and then throw 15 more pitches,” manager Ken Macha said. “I think that will perhaps help him get in the groove he needs to get in.”
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Gameday: March 30 vs. M's (Braun, Counsell back in)

Left Fielder Ryan Braun (ribs) and infielder Craig Counsell (right knee) return to the “A” game lineup today, when the Brewers host the Mariners at Maryvale Baseball Park.

“I’m back,” Braun declared after meeting with manager Ken Macha

Macha set his lineup just before the clubhouse was closed to reporters, and here it is:

Rickie Weeks  2B
Corey Hart  RF
Ryan Braun  LF
Prince Fielder  1B
Mike Cameron  CF
Bill Hall  3B
Craig Counsell  SS
Mike Rivera  C
Manny Parra  LHP

Relievers Carlos Villanueva and Mitch Stetter are scheduled to follow Parra, so Stetter apparently will not head to Minor League camp to face a series of left-handed hitters, after all.

In news this morning, general manager Doug Melvin infomed pitchers Lindsay Gulin and Wes Littleton and catcher Carlos Corporan this morning that they will not make the Opening Day roster. All three players will travel with the Brewers to Los Angeles for a pair of exhibitions against the Dodgers, and will also participate in team workouts in San Francisco on April 5 and 6 before reporting to Triple-A Nashville.

Spring surprise: Gagne back with the Brewers

I had just left Maryvale Baseball Park for the day when Brewers spokesman Mike Vassallo texted a shocker: Eric Gagne is re-joining the Brewers.

He won’t exactly make the $10 million he pocketed last season, and general manager Doug Melvin made it clear Gagne received no guarantees he’ll get a job. Gagne agreed to a Minor League contract that includes an invitation to big league camp and an out clause that will allow him back to free agency if he doesn’t get a 40-man roster spot before the end of Spring Training.

“He’s got to win a job,” Melvin said. “He came to me at the end of the season and told me he felt he didn’t earn his [salary], that he didn’t pitch the way he wanted to pitch for what he was being paid. He said he felt indebted to us to come back in and give it another shot for us.

“I didn’t expect that, and I respect the fact that he stood up and said, ‘I didn’t pitch well.’ He came to me and said, ‘I’m sorry I disappointed you.’ But he pitched well at the end of the year and that’s what counted, so I give him a lot of credit for that.”

Gagne joins a crowded bullpen. Trevor Hoffman is the closer and Carlos Villanueva, David Riske and Seth McClung and at least one left-hander from Mitch Stetter or R.J. Swindle are ticketed for what will probably be a seven-man relief corps. Assuming only one lefty makes the cut, it would leave only two more spots for a field of competitors led by 40-man roster members Todd Coffey, Jorge Julio, Mark DiFelice and Rule 5 pick Eduardo Morlan.

Melvin said Gagne’s decision to sign had nothing to do with the team’s decision to cancel a trip by top pro scout Dick Groch to see free agent reliever Chad Cordero throw in California on Wednesday. Cordero’s camp informed clubs that he will only be throwing at about 80 percent of total effort, so the Brewers instead will send their local scouts.

The Brewers are not interested in former St. Louis reliever Jason Isringhausen, another right-handed former closer who, like Gagne, could be open to a Minor League deal. So it appears that the team feels it has enough competitors already in camp to put together a quality bullpen.
 

Emptying the notebook…

Some random items that did not find a home in news stories over the past few days:

- Prince Fielder, Craig Counsell and Hernan Iribarren reported to camp on Monday, leaving only three players absent ahead of Tuesday’s report date for position players: Mike Cameron, Alcides Escobar and Mat Gamel. All three are expected to arrive on time.

Cameron is a veteran so it’s not surprising to see him report on time instead of early, but it’s a bit surprising that Escobar and Gamel, two of Milwaukee’s top prospects, have yet to show. Escobar planned to arrive Monday but he missed a flight out of Venezuela, and Gamel stayed back in Florida because he’s about to become a dad for the first time.

- Speaking of Escobar, assistant general manager Gord Ash said the shortstop prospect was not kicked off his winter ball team, refuting a rumor that has circulated the Internet during the offseason.

- Fielder was in high spirits, and he does appear to have slimmed down over the winter. You can see the change in his face.

- The Brewers have already scheduled a “B” game for the March 10 off-day, and will play the Rangers in Surprise, Ariz. at 9:30 a.m. that day. The team is also working to schedule a “B” game for the March 4 off-day, but has not found any takers.

Those games are intended mostly to keep Brewers pitchers on schedule. All of the regular offensive players will get that day off.

- Manager Ken Macha intends to play left fielder Ryan Braun extensively in early Cactus League games so he is ready for the World Baseball Classic. While players like Fielder get their one or two at-bats and call it a day, Braun could play some full games, Macha said.

- Camp was lively on Monday, when the pitchers were divided into teams for a bunting competition. Mitch Stetter is a surprisingly good bunter and so is Trevor Hoffman, though it’s not all that surprising since Hoffman is a former shortstop. Carlos Villanueva delivered the best bunt, landing the baseball within a small target along a virtual third base line.

On a side note, Villanueva is batting right-handed again. He tinkered as a lefty last season, but since he’s now permanently in the bullpen, he figured it was best to keep things sinple.

- General manager Doug Melvin on catching prospect Jonathan Lucroy: “That kid is going to be a player. He reminds me a little of [former A's catcher] Terry Steinbach.”

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