Results tagged ‘ Prince Fielder ’

Crew cuts ties with Coffey, Inglett

If Todd Coffey makes another mad dash from the bullpen to the pitcher’s mound at Miller Park, it will probably be in another team’s uniform. 
Coffey and utility man Joe Inglett were the only two of eight arbitration-eligible Brewers not tendered a contract before Thursday’s 10:59 p.m. CT deadline for teams to do so. The decision means the right-handed reliever and the left-handed bench bat joined the pool of Major League free agents. 
The Brewers did decide to retain the rights to their six other arbitration-eligibles: First baseman Prince Fielder, second baseman Rickie Weeks, center fielder Carlos Gomez and pitchers Manny Parra, Kameron Loe and Carlos Villanueva. Those players are all considered signed for 2011, with their salaries to be determined later by baseball’s arbitration process. 
“We didn’t have many discussions about [non-tendering] the other players,” Brewers general manager Doug Melvin said. 
Melvin said general manager Gord Ash will stay in touch with Inglett’s agent, Ryan Ware, about returning at a lower price, but it appears Coffey will look for work elsewhere. 
The decision to cut ties with Coffey was largely a financial one. He earned $2,025,002 in 2010 and would have been in line for a raise in arbitration despite a somewhat disappointing season in which Coffey suffered a thumb injury swinging the bat in late May and posted a 5.35 ERA over his final 43 appearances. He lost his job as the team’s primary right-handed setup man to Loe, who had a solid first season in Milwaukee and will cost less than Coffey in 2011. 
“The process allows the player to see if there’s a better fit for him, and from our standpoint it allows us to look at a larger pool of players,” Melvin said. 
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Braun, McGehee bump up in order

Interesting Brewers lineup for the finale of a series of Citi Field, where it’s windy but still dry at the moment. The onset of these awful storms keeps getting pushed back, so perhaps we’ll get a window. 

Casey McGehee, stuck on 99 RBIs for his past seven games, is up to third in the order, ahead of Prince Fielder. I remember twice in this span that McGehee doubled with Fielder at first base and the big fella couldn’t score. But how Fielder is hitting in front of Corey Hart, who also has 99 RBIs. 
We’ll see what Ken Macha has to say about it. In the meantime, here’s the lineup:

Rickie Weeks  2B

Ryan Braun  LF
Casey McGehee  3B
Prince Fielder  1B
Corey Hart  RF
Lorenzo Cain  CF
Alcides Escobar  SS
Jonathan Lucroy  C
Chris Narveson  LHP
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Recapping a busy home finale

The Brewers beat the Marlins in a 7-1 rout in Sunday’s home finale, but the result was secondary on an emotional afternoon at Miller Park. For those who have yet to sift through the links on, here’s a bit of a recap:

— Their 2010 season was a dud, so Brewers fans instead made the team’s home finale a celebration of individual milestones and sendoffs for players who are likely moving on. They turned a win over the Marlins into a series of standing ovations and almost made everyone forget that the team still has a week to play.
Ryan Braun came from behind to win the Brewers’ three-man race to 100 RBIs, Prince Fielder homered in what could be his final home game with the Brewers and Trevor Hoffman made one last entrance to AC/DC’s “Hells Bells.” All three players were showered with love from the 29,059 fans, who pushed the Brewers’ season attendance over 2.75 million.
— On more note on Hoffman: Sunday marked his 35th game finished, a milestone that pushed the cost of the buyout of his 2011 club option from $500,000 to $750,000. That financial boost aside, Hoffman once more thanked his supporters for never giving up on him.
“I can’t begin to say thanks enough,” Hoffman said. “For a guy sitting on a six-ERA and part of a big problem, to get treated like I did by the fans here — I appreciate their support.”
— Hoffman was offered a standing ovation and so was Fielder, who might just have played his final home game for the Brewers. Fielder commented before the game to me and after the game to me and 30 of my closest microphone-wielding friends about his uncertain future. 
He didn’t offer much in the way of insight, saying that he’s under contract for 2011 and planning to be back. Whether he departs this winter, Fielder said, “is not up to me,” once again glossing over the point that he reportedly turned down a significant contract offer earlier this year. 
— The only blemish of the Brewers’ win over the Marlins came in the seventh inning, when starter Chris Capuano exited with a groin injury. He downplayed its significance and talked instead about his inspiring comeback season from a second Tommy John surgery, and touched briefly on his own uncertain future. Capuano is a free agent for the first time. 
— Staying on the “uncertain future” theme, manager Ken Macha made sure to get Craig Counsell into the lineup for Sunday’s finale. Counsell, too, is a free agent, and said he’s going to take the best available offer this winter. He’s earned that right. 
— Then there’s Macha himself, who was asked by reporters after the game about his own contract status. Here are Doug Melvin’s brief comments on that situation, saying that the team will wait until after the season to announce any personnel decisions. 
And while we’re at it, here are a couple of other links you may have missed over the weekend:
Mark DiFelice is coming back to the Brewers in 2011. I learned subsequently that catchers Patrick Arlis and Anderson Delarosa, infielder Anderson Machado and left-hander Chase Wright have also already signed Minor League deals for next season. 
— Our report about the Brewers’ Minor League player and pitcher of the year includes video of both Erik Komatsu and Jake Odorizzi, not to mention amateur scouting director Bruce Seid. 
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No shortage of praise for Hoffman in clubhouse

Following last night’s thriller, which featured career save No. 600 for Trevor Hoffman, we had a sidebar on his Brewers teammates’ reactions to the moment.
While that story captured the emotions and feelings in the clubhouse, there was far too much to fit in after the game. With a guy like Hoffman who’s frequently described as the “best teammate,” there was hardly of lack of things to say in the home clubhouse.
Braun: “Like we were going to the playoffs”
According to left fielder Ryan Braun, the emotion following the final out of the game was far greater than the meaningless early September game that it starter out as.
“It felt like we were going to the playoffs,” he said. “It was exciting. I think it was exciting for all of us to have something to celebrate, for all of us to have been a part of something so special. That’s something that we might not ever see again. Who knows if anybody else ever gets to 600 saves.”
Coffey: “I was 100 percent spectator”
Perhaps most excited about the achievement — more so even than Hoffman himself — were Hoffman’s bullpen mates.
Reliever Todd Coffey described his feelings as “beyond goosebumps” as he become more of a spectator than a teammate. After that, he went on for a few minutes about the emotions he felt both when Hoffman entered the game and recorded his 600th save.
“As soon as he walked out of the bullpen, the entire bullpen was up and I think we were all clapping louder than the fans, we were hollering louder than the fans,” Coffey said. “I don’t think any of us actually realized we were in the bullpen. We were all out there with Hoffy.
“We were hanging over, we even thought about, ‘let’s just jump the wall and go. Then we thought, ‘we better not jump the wall.’
“I think me, Zach [Braddock] and Kam[eron Loe] all hit the pile at the same time. I think I felt the whole pile moving when we hit it. It’s an experience that I’ll never forget. He’s always there for every one of us. For us to be there for him, it’s amazing. He cares less about himself and more about his teammates than anything else.”
Davis: “Just incredible”
Others had less to say, but their thoughts were no less insightful.
Veteran left-handed starter Doug Davis recalled being part of a similar moment early in his career.
“Definitely the most exciting thing I’ve ever been a part of,” Davis said. “My first win was John Wetteland’s 300th save. I thought that was impressive, but this, twice as many saves, it’s just incredible.”
Bush: “An amazing number”
Another Brewers starter, right-hander Dave Bush, took particular notice of the number of people in the dugout during that final inning, as everyone wanted the best view they could get of Hoffman’s historic save.
“It’s an amazing number, one that nobody’s ever gotten to before,” Bush said. “I can’t even fathom at all what it takes to reach that.
“It was exciting. Probably the most people I’ve ever seen in the dugout in the ninth inning. Everybody was coming down here because they wanted to be as close to it as they could. As a player, moments like that are few and far between. To be his teammate and to be around for something like is just awesome.”
Lucroy: “I’m totally lucky and blessed”
After beginning the season at Double-A Huntsville, catcher Jonathan Lucroy called the game Tuesday night, including Hoffman’s thrilling ninth.
As he waited on the mound for the all-time saves leader, with “Hell’s Bells” blaring from the stadium speakers, Lucroy said he had goosebumps and began to shake from the nerves.
He stayed relaxed behind the plate, though, and didn’t change a thing. Until the final out as he ran down toward first base.
“It’s something that I’ll remember for the rest of my life and cherish,” Lucroy said. “To be able to remember something like that, it’s a blessing for me to even be able to experience it.
“To see him achieve a goal like that is just something that every baseball player lives for. It couldn’t have happened to a better guy. He totally deserves it. It’s an honor for me to even be here and just experience it.
“I was jacked up and excited. I told myself I was going to sacrifice my life to get an out for him if I needed to. I was going to go everything I could to get an out, no matter what I had to do, I was going to sacrifice everything for him.
“For somebody like that, to put in the kind of work he has, to play for as long as he has, and have the kind of character that he has, and for something like that to happen to him, and for me to even be there and be a part of it, it’s an unbelievable feeling.
“I was the first one [to the mound]. Usually I run down to first base and back up on ground balls, but I cut it off halfway. I was going to go get there first as fast as I could. I grabbed him and he grabbed me in a headlock and then everybody else hit and we went at it.
“It’s not very often you see grown men crying out there and there were grown men crying on the field. It was very emotional, I was trying to hold back as best I could. It’s just the payoff for so much hard work and just shows you that if you work hard and be a good person in this game there’s a lot of good things that happen to you.
“I’m totally lucky and blessed to even be here. To experience that, I don’t even deserve that. I don’t even deserve to be on the same field as that guy.”
Axford: “My heart was racing the entire time”
Of course, no story about Hoffman’s historic accomplishment would be complete without some mention of his replacement, rookie John Axford.
As has been the case all season, Axford had nothing but positive things to say about his mentor in the Brewers bullpen.
“He’s meant everything to my development because he carries about his business perfectly. He does everything right,” Axford said. “That’s been the best mentor for me. I just try to watch him and see what he does and see how I can build upon that. Every time I go out there I just try and do right by Trevor. I just want to do basically what Trevor would do and do things the right way.
“My heart was racing the entire time once the ‘Hell’s Bells’ started. My heart was going and it didn’t stop the entire time until we’re actually here right now and I’m still talking a mile a minute. I still feel the emotion and the rush from it. I think it was absolutely unbelievable.”
“It’s a cool kind of turn around. At the beginning of the year, I got my first save and Hoffy went in and got a hold for me. Now I got to go in and save that game for him, which is probably going to be the best hold of my entire life right there. I’m definitely glad I was in that game for sure.”
McGehee: “The ultimate professional”
Third baseman Casey McGehee admitted he was nervous when Hoffman entered the game. In fact, he was just hoping the ball wasn’t hit to him.
Once the final out had been recorded, however, McGehee was thrilled to be a part of such a big moment and to have played with someone who is the all-time leader
in any category.
“I think the reaction of all the guys kind of let everybody see how important to this team and to us he is,” McGehee said. “You couldn’t have asked for it to happen to a better guy. He’s the ultimate professional with everything he does.
“There’s not too many people you played with that you can say you played with the all-time best anything. When my career is over and I’m sitting around telling stories at a bar somewhere, that’s going to be one of the ones I tell.
“You can’t block that out, we all knew what was going on. Most of us, we’re huge fans of the game. Coming up, we remember watching Trevor Hoffman when he was in his prime and he was virtually unhittable. To be any small part of it, it’s pretty special.
“Some of these guys that got called up today, first day in the big leagues, not a bad way to start your big league career.”
Fielder: “Happy to be a part of it”
The final out was recorded by Prince Fielder, as veteran shortstop Craig Counsell fielded a ground ball and fired to Fielder at first.
As Fielder closed his first-baseman’s mitt on the ball, he joined McGehee and Lucroy as the first three players to embrace Hoffman on the mound.
“It was awesome,” Fielder said. “Coming into this year, you knew he was close to getting it. Everything he had to go through to get to it and he finally got it, I’m really happy for him. It’s really awesome.
“It [ranks] up there just because it’s your teammate and it’s a really special moment and something that nobody else has ever done. That’s what makes it even more special and I’m just really happy to be a part of it.
Narveson: “Pretty amazing”
But none of it would have been possible had it not been for an impressive seven-inning performance by lefty starter Chris Narveson. 
His brilliance on the mound was lost in the shuffle, but everything was set up by one of Narveson’s best starts of the 2010 season.
“That was pretty amazing,” Narveson said. “To be able to witness it and be the guy that started that game, was pretty special.”
— Jordan Schelling, Associate Reporter

New fix for Miller Park shadows: Move the roof

shadow.jpgPhoto courtesy Bob Brainerd/FS Wisconsin
After getting approval from the stadium operations staff and the umpiring crew, the Brewers tried a new fix for the notoriously tough daytime shadows at Miller Park on Sunday by manipulating part of the ballpark’s fan-shaped retractable roof. 
General manager Doug Melvin said it was manager Ken Macha’s idea. Usually, the roof panels stack on top of each other above each of the foul lines, two movable panels in left field and three in right, creating a line of sunlight and shadow that creeps across the infield early in afternoon games. The effect is particularly tough, hitters say, when the pitcher’s mound is bathed in sunlight and the batter’s box is in the shade.
On Sunday, two of the right-field panels were left hanging over right field instead of being tucked in their usually, full-open position. That meant both pitcher and hitter were in the shadows from the first pitch. 
“This has to be an ongoing experiment,” assistant general manager Gord Ash said, “because the position of the sun is different at different times of the year.”
Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder are the two most prominent critics of the hitting conditions during the day at Miller Park. They have suggested simply closing the roof for day games, but that is not considered a good option, partly because Miller Park is heated, but not air-conditioned, and partly because part of the fan experience is enjoying the game on a beautiful, sunny day. 
The Brewers were interested in a third-party opinion of the shadows issue so they contacted Mike Port, Major League Baseball’s vice president of umpiring. Port who surveyed the umps and found that they, too, have particular trouble seeing the baseball on sunny days in Milwaukee.
“This is a real issue,” Ash said.  
The Brewers are moving two day games to the night in 2011, Ash said — one Saturday in April and another weekday during the summer. But they cannot — and do not wish to — completely eliminate daytime baseball, so club officials have tried taking other steps. 
Last offseason, the Brewers removed ivy beyond the center field wall that created glare, and re-painted the hitting background with dark, glare-resistant paint. 
One big problem remains, and the Brewers are not sure there is a fix for the large banks of windows above the grandstands that allow light in during the late afternoon and early evening. Players have suggested tinting the windows, but that would block the light necessary for grass to grow on the field. The Brewers have looked into a massive system of blinds, but it would require a seven-figure investment. 
That’s cost-prohibitive, officials say, at least for now. So manipulating the roof to cover the early innings was the next best option. 
Major League Baseball has rules governing the operation of retractable domes, but they mostly cover the timing of such moves and not the positioning of panels. When Ash was GM in Toronto, for example, the Blue Jays would manipulate a certain roof panel to provide shade for fans in the stands. But it didn’t affect the way sunlight hit the field, he said. 
“You can’t, for example, open the roof while [the opponent] is hitting and then move it like this when we’re up,” Ash said. “Wherever you set it, it has to stay there.”
To make sure, the Brewers consulted with umpire Mike Reilly, the crew chief working the Brewers-Pirates series this weekend. 
Neither team had trouble hitting in the first inning on Sunday. Pirates rookie Neil Walker connected against Brewers starter Dave Bush for a two-run home run in the top of the inning, and the Brewers scored three runs on three hits against Charlie Morton in the bottom half. 
Braun finished 4-for-4 with his 19th home run, and reached safely all five times up. But he declined to talk to reporters after the Brewers’ 8-4 win. 
What did Dave Bush and the rest of the Brewers’ pitchers think?
“I’m smart enough to know it’s not a pitching game any more,” Bush said. “It’s an offensive game between the ballparks and baseballs and everything else. Everything is geared toward hitters right now. In that regard, I’m not surprised. 
“But it’s just part of the game, and when I’m out on the mound I’m worried about what I’m doing, the pitch I’m trying to throw. If we score eight every time with the roof half-closed, I’ll be all right with that.”
Macha deflected questions to the players, especially one about whether there are times a manager tries psychological ploys to draw out performance. 
“Me? Psychological things? Those are all questions for them,” Macha said. “I come to the ballpark and my focus is there. I’m ready to go.”
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Hart back, Fielder plays 300th straight

Ryan Braun remains sidelined with a strained left wrist, but fellow All-Star right fielder Corey Hart is back in the Brewers lineup Wednesday after sitting out two games with a stiff lower back. 

The Brewers need to win the final two games of this four-game series to avoid their first series loss to the D-backs since July 14-16, 2006, when they dropped two of three at Chase Field. The Brewers haven’t lost a home series to Arizona since Sept. 19-21, 2003, when they also dropped two of three.
Oh, and Prince Fielder is playing in his 300th consecutive game tonight. Considering all of the  hit by pitches and the myriad of ways we’ve seen other players banged up, it’s an impressive streak of durability.
Rickie Weeks  2B
Lorenzo Cain  LF
Corey Hart  RF
Prince Fielder  1B
Casey McGehee  3B
Chris Dickerson  CF
Alcides Escobar  SS
Jonathan Lucroy  C
Dave Bush  RHP
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Braun, Fielder switch back

As the Brewers open a three-game series Monday with the Cubs at Wrigley Field, manager Ken Macha’s lineup features no surprises.

Veteran Jim Edmonds is in center field against Cubs right-handed starter Randy Wells, and Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder have switched back to their usual spots.
At the bottom of the lineup, Macha placed shortstop Alcides Escobar seventh ahead of catcher Jonathan Lucroy batting eighth in a reversal of their typical order.
Weeks  2B
Hart  RF
Braun  LF
Fielder  1B
McGehee  3B
Edmonds  CF
Escobar  SS
Lucroy  C
Gallardo  P
— Jordan Schelling, Associate Reporter

Braun, Fielder switch spots

Nothing too surprising in the Brewers lineup Wednesday night, aside from one change near the top. 

After switching spots a month ago, sluggers Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder switched back, with Braun batting third ahead of Fielder in the cleanup spot.
Aside from that, veteran Jim Edmonds is in center field against the right-hander Tim Lincecum and Craig Counsell is at shortstop for the second straight night as promised.
Here’s the rest of the lineup:
Weeks  2B
Hart  RF
Braun  LF
Fielder  1B
McGehee  3B
Edmonds  CF
Lucroy  C
Counsell  SS
Narveson  P
— Jordan Schelling, Associate Reporter

Hart provides pop in No. 2 spot for Brewers

MILWAUKEE — You don’t see too many guys leading the league in home runs batting second, but that’s what Corey Hart continued to do for the Brewers on Saturday.


Hart, whose 17 home runs are a National League best, also ranks third in the Majors behind Jose Bautista and Miguel Cabrera, who have belted 18 homers apiece.

With Hart swinging a hot bat over the last month, manager Ken Macha moved him to the No. 2 spot on Friday. Hart proceeded to go 2-for-3 with a home run and two RBIs.

“I kind of liked it last night,” Macha said of the move. “The guy’s swinging the bat, he’s on base a bunch. I want those guys to get on base for Prince [Fielder] and [Ryan Braun].”

Macha likes the power potential of Hart batting between leadoff hitter Rickie Weeks and Fielder.

If Weeks gets on base in front of Hart, it gives the Brewers the chance for a quick two runs before recording an out in the game offensively. Regardless of his spot in the lineup, Hart continues to hit home runs, totaling 14 since May 15.

“He’s a special hitter, he’s got some tools that not everybody has,” third baseman Casey McGehee said of Hart. “For him to be doing it as consistent as he is right now, is pretty impressive to watch.

“It just extends it so far. He’s hitting second, and that worked. He’s been hitting sixth and that’s been working. So when he’s going good it makes a huge difference.”

Jordan Schelling is an associate reporter for


Macha shakes up lineup for series finale

MILWAUKEE — As the Brewers continued to excel on the field, manager Ken Macha continued to tweak the club’s lineup on Sunday.


After batting catcher George Kottaras second on Saturday because of Kottaras’ high on-base percentage, Macha made another move Sunday to get more guys on base. Macha moved his entire batting order up one spot after Rickie Weeks with the exception of shortstop Alcides Escobar, who was in the ninth spot, behind pitcher Randy Wolf.

“We’ll try this out,” Macha said. “We tried something out yesterday and I think that had some fruits to it. I think it’s just an interesting look. I thought about putting Kottaras there and I thought about this a little bit too.”

As a result, left fielder Ryan Braun became the ninth Brewers hitter to bat second on the season. It’s just the third time Braun has batted second and the first time since he was a rookie.

Behind him, Prince Fielder batted third for the third time this season, Casey McGehee became just the third cleanup hitter this season and Hart batted fifth for the second time on the year.

McGehee was the first Brewers hitter other than Braun or Fielder to bat cleanup since Hart did so on July 1, 2008. The Brewers won that game, 8-6, in Arizona.

Wolf is the first pitcher this season to be in the lineup anywhere other than the No. 9 spot. The only time any other hitter has batted ninth was during the three-game Interleague set with the Twins at Target Field.

With Escobar batting ninth, Macha and McGehee were quick to point out the lineup looks a bit different after the first time through. In fact, it looks a lot more like the team’s usual lineup.

“Looking at the lineup, at the beginning of the game it’s like, ‘Oh, you’re batting cleanup,'” McGehee said. “But it’s really the same. I’m still hitting in front of and behind the same guy. Then hopefully you get Escobar on base and all of a sudden Rickie’s basically hitting second after the first go round. So I think it’s going to be interesting to see how it all shakes out.”

As with the Kottaras move on Saturday, the thought process behind Macha’s decision came down to on-base percentage.

At .402 and .393, Fielder and Braun rank fifth and ninth in the National League in on-base percentage.

“If we score first, we’ve got a high percentage of wins. In the first inning, they’re going to have to face Prince and Brauny. That gives us a chance to score early,” Macha said. “I just want those guys to get on base. Corey’s hot right now, McGehee’s up in the league leaders in driving in runs — I just want the guys to get on base.”

— Jordan Schelling, Associate Reporter