Results tagged ‘ Trent Oeltjen ’

Gomez working on his swing (with some data)

Brewers manager Ken Macha said Carlos Gomez has been tweaking his swing to produce more ground balls. The key for the speedy center fielder is keeping his lead elbow low, and thus keeping the bat head from dropping down.
“Yesterday’s batting practice, I thought he swung the bat as well as he has this spring,” Macha said. “We want him to get it on the ground, but I don’t want him to conscious about it. … A lot of the balls he hit in batting practice were hard and low.”
Macha asked his statistical gurus to prepare a report of Gomez’s success on fly balls, line drives, ground balls and bunts. It bore out what Macha suspected, that he would be well-served to avoid hitting everything in the air. 
Here’s the data, courtesy of Brewers manager of advance scouting and baseball research Karl Mueller:
Career batting average by batted ball type… 
Ground Balls – .268 (306 put in play)
Line Drives – .631 (123 put in play)
Fly Balls – .195 (261 put in play)
Bunts – .446 (102 put in play, 10 of which were sacrifices)
It’s no surprise that the line drive average is so high. The Major League average is about .700.
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Macha repeated what closer Trevor Hoffman said Tuesday, that there’s no reason to worry about the fact he has yet to appear in a Cactus League game. Hoffman is taking it easy this spring to avoid a situation like the one that emerged last year, when he strained a rib-cage muscle. 
Hoffman threw a bullpen session on Monday and said he could debut in a game at some point next week. 
“Myself, personally, it’s not a concern for me right now,” Macha said. “He’s got plenty of time to get ready.”
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Third baseman Mat Gamel remained a “non-participant,” to borrow Macha’s phrase, on Wednesday as he tries to quiet a sore shoulder. Outfielder Trent Oeltjen (wrist) has been taking swings in the batting cage at 75-80 percent, Macha said, and was to see one of the team’s doctors on Wednesday. So was right-hander Josh Butler, who has a sore right elbow or triceps. 
Butler had a cortisone shot several days ago and conceded that unless he gets back to throwing very soon, he might miss out on Cactus League action. 
“It’s going to be close,” Butler said. “Hopefully I can [pitch in a game] but the biggest thing right now is getting healthy.”
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The Brewers play split-squad games on Thursday and again on Saturday, so third base coach Brad Fischer made a point in the team’s morning meeting of telling players to make sure they know where they are going over the next few days. 
This early in camp, the extra games are a good thing, at least from a pitching perspective. The Brewers say they are considering seven men for the starting rotation, and this week lines up such that Chris Narveson can pitch on the road against the Reds on Thursday while Randy Wolf works against the A’s at home, and Dave Bush and Manny Parra can each start a game on Saturday, when the Brewers play at home against Colorado and on the road at the White Sox. 
“We’ve got a large number [of pitchers] in camp and we’ve got a big competition in the starting [rotation] so we’ve been able to slot guys,” Macha said. 
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Game day?

Maryvale Baseball Park is in wait and see mode this morning while rain falls in Phoenix. What is it about rainy weekends this spring?

The weather forced the Brewers to move their morning stretch into the covered batting cages, and manager Ken Macha and pitching coach Rick Peterson are making contingency plans should the game be washed out. Macha met with with reporters in his office and here’s what’s happening in camp:
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The most important thing, Macha said, was keeping scheduled starter Doug Davis on schedule. He is to make his Brewers debut today against the Reds, and should Mother Nature intervene Davis would instead throw a two-inning simulated game. The Brewers have covered bullpen for these contingencies.
Peterson would have to do some shuffling with the relievers scheduled to follow Davis. They are Todd Coffey, John Axford, Zach Braddock and Scott Schoeneweis. 
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Here’s the lineup posted this morning:

Alcides Escobar  SS

Jody Gerut  RF
Ryan Braun  LF
Prince Fielder  1B
Jim Edmonds  CF
Mat Gamel  3B
Gregg Zaun  C
Hernan Iribarren  2B
Doug Davis  LHP
Gamel would make his first Cactus League appearance. He complained of a sore right shoulder the other day but was back at full strength on Saturday. 
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Outfielder Trent Oeltjen said he was relieved that the x-rays on his bruised left wrist came back negative on Saturday. Oeltjen was supposed to participate in outfield drills Sunday before the rain dashed those plans, but he won’t resume swinging the bat until Monday. 
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As of Sunday morning, Macha was not ready to name his starting pitcher for Monday’s game against the Mariners at Maryvale Baseball Park. Right-hander Dave Bush and left-hander Manny Parra are each scheduled for two innings.
“We haven’t decided [who will go first],” Macha said. “Rick and I are going to talk about it and then we’ll tell one of them. We don’t want anybody to read anything into anything.”
Macha will not face the same conundrum next time. Bush and Parra are lined up to pitch again on Saturday, March 13, when the Brewers have split-squad games against the Rockies at Maryvale and against the White Sox in Glendale. 
Is Macha trying to downplay the competition?
“Why put so much pressure on the guy like that?” Macha said. “Just go out and pitch good, that’s all.”
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Macha was still singing left-hander Chris Capuano’s praises on Sunday, a day after Capuano pitched his first Major League game in nearly two years. He continues to mention Capuano as a legitimate candidate for the Opening Day roster. 
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Jim Edmonds made Macha chuckle the other day. 
“I asked him if he had a first baseman’s mitt because it would be nice to have a backup first baseman on the roster,” Macha said. “He says, ‘When you watch me run these balls down in center field, you’re going to like what you see out there.’ 
“I told him I’ve already seen that. I don’t know if you’ve seen this, but he came up with the Angels when I was there [as a coach]. He was a brash rookie then, and not a whole lot has changed. Just take the rookie out of there. That’s good. You want guys to have that type of feeling about themselves.”
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Oeltjen, Butler updates

Nonroster outfielder Trent Oeltjen underwent x-rays on his bruised left wrist Saturday and has no fractures in the joint, the Brewers announced. Oeltjen visited Phoenix-based specialist Dr. Evan Lederman a day after being struck on the wrist with a pitch in a loss to the A’s. 

The Brewers also released an update on right-hander Josh Butler, who has inflammation in his right elbow and received a cortisone injection on Saturday. Butler, one of the most promising pitching prospects in Milwaukee’s chain, was prescribed five more days of rest.
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All-lefty bench a possibility

The Brewers’ starting lineup figures to lean right this season, but manager Ken Macha said Tuesday that he could end up with an entirely left-handed hitting bench.  
“It tests the manager, whether he can sit one of the right-handers down and get the left-handers in [the lineup],” Macha said.  
Many of the starting positional players haven’t even reported to camp yet and things could change over six weeks of Spring Training, but the Brewers for now project to have six right-handed hitters in the regular lineup (second baseman Rickie Weeks, shortstop Alcides Escobar, third baseman Casey McGehee and an all-righty outfield of Ryan Braun in left, Carlos Gomez in center and Corey Hart in right. Catcher Gregg Zaun is a switch-hitter, and Prince Fielder bats left-handed.  
Then comes a bench that could have plenty of lefty bats. Craig Counsell is a lock to be the primary backup infielder and Jody Gerut is back as the fourth outfielder. The leading candidate for the other infield spot is probably waiver pick-up Joe Inglett (organizational veteran Hernan Iribarren is out of options and could be an interesting candidate, too), and the Brewers will give nonroster invitees Jim Edmonds and Trent Oeltjen a chance to win the final outfield spot. Among the potential backup catchers is George Kottaras, who could have an edge over prospects Jonathan Lucroy and Angel Salome because of his experience and over the experienced Matt Treanor because Treanor isn’t on the 40-man roster.  
Counsell, Gerut, Inglett, Iribarren, Edmonds, Oeltjen and Kottaras all bat left-handed.  
The key, Macha said, would be sprinkling some of those left-handed hitters into the lineup to balance the bench.  
“We’ll see how that plays out,” he said.
Some other notes from Macha’s Tuesday morning chat with reporters:
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Left-hander Chris Capuano, the former All-Star and 18-game winner attempting a comeback from his second career Tommy John surgery, was among the Brewers pitchers scheduled to throw off a mound Tuesday. Macha was looking forward to it. 
“I have to give this guy some credit with the amount of work he’s put in to get to this particular point,” Macha said. “Not just that, talking about him with Doug [Melvin, Milwaukee's general manager] and Gord [Ash], the assistant GM, this guy is a pretty established Major League pitcher. … I think he’s got a particular passion for the game and he’s going to play it all out. Good for him.”
Capuano is not considered a candidate for the Opening Day roster because he has only pitched six games since re-injuring his left elbow in March 2008. He finished last season at the Brewers’ Class A affiliate and will probably need some extensive time in the Minors this season to prove he’s healthy. 
But he is not limited in camp, and the Brewers are holding out some hope that he could help the big league club in the future. 
“It would be nice to strike some gold from somebody,” Macha said. 
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The first full-squad workout won’t be until Saturday, but the hitters are scheduled to see some live batting practice from pitchers on Friday morning. That should be an interesting day for someone like Edmonds, who hasn’t faced live pitching since the 2008 postseason with the Cubs. 
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Weeks stopped by camp over the weekend, but he’s been away since taking his physical to deal with what Macha called a, “dental issue.” Counsell and Iribarren reported on Tuesday morning, leaving only Braun, Escobar, Fielder and Minor Leaguers Luis Cruz and Logan Schafer yet to make an appearance.
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Former Brewer Darryl Hamilton stopped by Tuesday as a representative of the Major League Players Association to discuss some rules issues with the players. Among the topics was baseball’s continuing efforts to speed the pace of games and some tweaks to the rules about pitchers licking their fingers on the mound (but not on the pitching rubber). Deep stuff. 
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Strength and conditioning coordinator Chris Joyner introduced a new drill Tuesday that forced some smiles. Pitchers balanced on one foot on a foam square and underhanded a baseball back and forth. Then it was on to everyone’s favorite Spring Training exercise: pitchers fielding practice.
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Minors deal for former D-back Oeltjen

The Brewers added some outfield depth on Monday when they signed former D-backs outfielder Trent Oeltjen to a Minor League contract with an invitation to big league camp. 

The 26-year-old spent most of 2009 at Triple-A Reno, where he batted .303 with 10 home runs and 64 RBIs in 114 games. He then made his Major League debut with Arizona and batted .243 with three homers and four RBIs in 24 games. He became a free agent on Nov. 4 when the D-backs outrighted Oeltjen from their 40-man roster.

A native of Sydney, Oeltjen played for Australia in the 2009 World Baseball Classic and batted .500 (6-for-12) with one RBIs in three games. He’s a .293 hitter in parts of nine Minor League seasons, mostly in the Twins’ chain. 

Oeltjen bats and throws left-handed.

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