Results tagged ‘ Zack Greinke ’

Yuni goes back to KC

Yuniesky Betancourt, the Brewers’ regular shortstop last season, has re-signed with the Royals to serve as a utility infielder, that team announced in a statement. He’ll be a backup for Alcides Escobar, one of the key players in the December 2010 deal that brought Betancourt and Zack Greinke to Milwaukee for a quartet of premium prospects.

“We have been looking for a utility infielder who could play short, third and second base and we feel Yuni is a great fit,” Royals GM Dayton Moore said in a press release. “He brings a right-handed bat with some power and is a guy we know fits in well in the clubhouse.”

The Brewers won’t get any Draft compensation for Betancourt because they declined to offer him arbitration after declining his $6 million club option for 2012. He got a $2 million buyout instead, cash that came from the Royals as part of the trade.

The Brewers have already replaced Betancourt with free agent Alex Gonzalez, a similar free-swinger who is considered a better defensive player.

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Greinke breezes through rehab start

Hawkeye Sports Photography/Dennis Greenblatt

Brewers right-hander Zack Greinke was sharp in his first Minor League rehabilitation start, a scoreless, three-inning stint for Class-A Brevard County on Tuesday night.

Greinke retired nine of the 10 batters he faced, struck out four of them and threw 35 pitches in his first game since suffering a cracked rib playing pick-up basketball in Spring Training. According to Mark DeCotis of FLORIDA TODAY, who regularly covers the Brewers’ Florida State League affiliate, Greinke threw 11 of his 13 pitches for strikes in the first inning, five of six pitches for strikes in a quick second inning and 11 of 16 pitches for strikes in the third, when he finally allowed a hit.

The hit belonged to Tampa catcher Mitch Abeita, who reached on a one-out single to second base. Greinke struck out the next two batters to end his outing.

According to a report passed along to Brewers media relations director Mike Vassallo, Greinke, “felt great” and worked with 91-94 mph fastball velocity.

The Brevard County club is off in five days so Grienke’s next start is expected to be with Triple-A Nashville. Brewers manager Ron Roenicke has said Greinke will have to make at least three Minor League starts before the Brewers consider re-instating him from the disabled list, perhaps for a May 4 start against the Braves at Turner Field.

Hawkeye Sports Photography/Dennis Greenblatt

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Greinke timetable getting clearer

Right-hander Zack Greinke threw his second bullpen session on Saturday and is on a tentative schedule that puts him back in the Brewers’ starting rotation during the first week of May.

Greinke is no longer feeling any discomfort from his cracked left rib and again threw his full assortment of pitches in the bullpen on Saturday afternoon. He has a series of bullpens and simulated games ahead of him, but the Brewers have already scheduled two rehabilitation starts at Triple-A Nashville during the final week of April. Greinke would throw 40-45 pitches in the first and about 75 pitches in the second.

Assuming he has no setbacks along that aggressive schedule, then he would be ready to make his Brewers debut during a three-city road trip that ends with stops in Atlanta (May 2-5) and St. Louis (May 6-8).

“Everything is feeling good,” Greinke said after Saturday’s session. “Now it’s just as fast as I can get ready. It’s not 100 percent right now, but it’s pretty good.”

Greinke was asked how stretched out he’d have to be to feel comfortable starting a Major League game.

“It depends on how you’re feeling,” he said. “It’s possible I may need to get a full, six-inning start [in the Minors]. It’s possible it’s just three innings. That’s just my opinion. … It usually takes four or five [starts] in Spring Training to start feeling good, but at the same time I’m kind of messing around your first couple of starts.

“So, maybe I’ll still need five. Maybe only two or three. I don’t know. I’ve never had to come back like this before.”

As for his arm strength, “It’s not there yet, but maybe not too much longer for that. [When the arm strength is back,] then you get pitching down a little bit.”

The Brewers will rely partly on Greinke’s own analysis of his progress.

“He’s going to have to tell us if he’s ready to go,” assistant general manager Gord Ash said.

“Too bad it wasn’t a couple of weeks ago at this point,” he said. “But for right now, it’s good, so that’s nice. I’ve accepted it. It’s just too bad. I’m just trying to get ready and not have another setback, and be able to pitch the rest of the season strong. That’s the goal.”

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Greinke and the basketball question

The great website MLBTradeRumors.com got its hands on a copy of the uniform player’s contract, and I thought Brewers fans may be particularly interested in the section about “other sports.” This topic came up earlier this month when right-hander Zack Greinke was injured playing pick-up basketball. 

As GM Doug Melvin said then, Greinke did not violate his contract because it only stipulates that he cannot participate in organized basketball leagues. Here’s the actual language of what a player can and cannot do:
Other Sports
5.(b) The Player and the Club recognize and agree that the Player’s participation in certain other sports may impair or destroy his skill and ability as a baseball player. Accordingly, the Player agrees that he will not engage in professional boxing or wrestling; and that, except with the written consent of the Club, he will not engage in skiing, auto racing, motorcycle racing, sky diving, or in any game or exhibition of football, soccer, professional league basketball, ice hockey or other sport involving a substantial risk of personal injury. 
Manager Ron Roenicke has been asked daily about Greinke’s progress, and has had little to report. Greinke is still in the treatment phase of his recovery, doing arm exercises and maintaining cardiovascular fitness while everybody waits for his cracked left rib to heal. The timetable for his return remains murky.
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Gomez out with stiff back

Center fielder Carlos Gomez is the latest Brewers regular to show up on the injury report. He was supposed to start Monday’s game against the Giants, but complained of a stiff back so Brandon Boggs is playing instead. 

It’s a minor setback, but those have been piling up for the Brewers. Of the nine projected Opening Day starters, seven have lost at least a handful of Cactus League innings to a medical issue. Pitcher Zack Greinke (cracked rib), catcher Jonathan Lucroy (fractured finger) and right fielder Corey Hart (rib-cage strain) have not played at all because of more serious injuries, and second baseman Rickie Weeks (groin), shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt (right quadriceps), left fielder Ryan Braun (rib-cage strain) and now Gomez have come out of a game early or missed a start as a precaution. Plus, closer John Axford got a late start because of food poisoning.
First baseman Prince Fielder and third baseman Casey McGehee have been able to stay on their schedules. 
Perspective is in order, because none of the setbacks in Brewers camp have threatened a player’s season. Betancourt left Sunday’s game early, but he could be back in action as early as Tuesday. Braun returned to the lineup Monday after exiting Saturday with his rib strain. Weeks’ groin issue seems to have passed. Hart is making significant progress in recent days and was to begin swinging a bat on Monday. Lucroy will have the pin in his finger removed next week and is on track for Opening Day. 
Maybe the Brewers are just getting their injuries out of the way early. Better now than during the regular season. 
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Teammates react to Greinke news

They would not criticize Zack Greinke for being injured on the basketball court and not the baseball field, but Brewers teammates could not hide their disappointment Wednesday that the team’s prized offseason pick-up will begin the year on the disabled list. 
Greinke revealed Tuesday that he cracked a rib playing basketball last month, and club officials expect him to miss at least a start or two in April.
“It’s tough. It is,” said Yovani Gallardo, suddenly the clear favorite for Opening Day. “It’s very harmful, because you want to have a pitcher like that out there every start. But we have a lot of guys here with great talent. We’re going to go out there and work harder until he comes back and joins us.
“It’s a little disappointing for all of us,” Gallardo said, “but I think we all do things that [carry] risk.”
Gallardo was not the only teammate who argued that players can just as easily get hurt playing baseball as playing with their kids, or, as fellow starter Shaun Marcum said, letting loose a sneeze. 
“We’re not going to allow this to deter us from what we want to accomplish,” said left fielder Ryan Braun. “Obviously, we’re disappointed. We would have liked to have him healthy for the whole season. But there’s nothing we can do about it now. We can’t go back and change anything. 
“Our focus moving forward is finding somebody else to step up and seize the opportunity that is being presented. This isn’t going to deter us from anything.”
The first opportunity should now go to Gallardo, who was already a candidate with Greinke to start Opening Day against the Reds. Gallardo said Wednesday morning that he had not been given any indication of where he would pitch in a rotation that also includes Shaun Marcum, Randy Wolf and Chris Narveson. 
Gallardo started last year’s season-opener for the Brewers. 
“There’s no doubt we already had a No. 1,” Braun said. 
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Greinke to miss opener with fractured rib

The Brewers’ remade starting rotation will not begin the season intact. Zack Greinke cracked a rib playing basketball during the first week of Spring Training and will begin the regular season on the disabled list, club officials said Tuesday. 
Greinke, Milwaukee’s biggest offseason addition and potential Opening Day starter, made two Cactus League starts with sore ribs before undergoing an MRI scan on Monday that revealed a hairline fracture of his seventh rib and a bone bruise on his eighth rib. 
The normal recovery time is four to six weeks from the time of injury, Brewers head physician William Raasch said, meaning Greinke is already about two weeks into the healing process. But he will need time to re-build arm strength, so his rehab will almost certainly extend into April.
The Brewers can get by with four starters for all but three dates in April, according to general manager Doug Melvin.  
Greinke was hurt when he fell after going up for a rebound. 
“I’ve been doing this for a couple years now, and people are always saying, ‘You’re going to get hurt,’” he said. “It finally caught up to me.
“I was hoping it was just bruised, but I guess it’s worse than that. So I guess I have to stop playing [basketball] now. I had a lot of fun while I was doing it, but it wasn’t worth it.” 
The Brewers sent four young players to the Royals for Greinke and shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt in mid-December as part of a starting rotation makeover that sparked a run on season tickets and has many of the team’s core players talking about making a run in the National League Central.
Now the start to his Milwaukee tenure will be delayed, if only slightly. 
“We’re not talking about this gross deformed fracture,” Raasch said. “We’re talking about something very subtle that we can barely see, and we found it on the MRI. We’re not that concerned about it, except the fact that it’s bad timing. He’s got a sore rib because he fell on it, and unfortunately you stress your ribs when you throw baseballs hard. …
“You have to understand that as it’s healing, we’re going to progress him and allow him to do more and more things. The ideal situation is that after a week or two [from Tuesday] he’ll feel real good, hopefully, and we’ll start the throwing program in two weeks and build him up.” 
The injury is so subtle, Raasch said, that x-rays did not reveal the fracture.
“Let’s put it this way: If this was the playoffs, he’d just be throwing with it. … He wants to progress, and our job is to sacrifice a few games now so he can pitch into the postseason.”
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Roenicke close to setting starting rotation

Now that Zack Greinke and Yovani Gallardo each have two spring starts in the books, Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said Tuesday morning that he was close to naming his Opening Day pitching rotation. 
“We need to do it soon,” Roenicke told reporters, about 90 minutes before he was to sit with general manager Doug Melvin to discuss the plan. “We need to make decisions.”
Roenicke expected to make the plan public by Wednesday. The Brewers’ season-opener is March 31 in Cincinnati.
It’s a “tricky” call for the Brewers’ rookie manager, Greinke said last week, because the team has three pitchers who started 2010 Opening Day. Greinke handled that honor for the Royals, Gallardo for the Brewers and Shaun Marcum for the Blue Jays. 
That trio of right-handers is set for the Opening Day rotation along with two lefties, Randy Wolf and Chris Narveson.
Roenicke has spoken individually to all three pitchers and said he was considering a number of factors, including the pitchers’ own opinions.
“We’re very fortunate to have three guys who can start Opening Day,” Roenicke said. “I don’t think too many organizations have that. … The question here, coming into it, was Yovani has been here for a while and he’s a No. 1. Do you go with him because he’s been here and you owe it to him? 
“Then, also, talking to the guys, I wanted to know what they were thinking. … Their response to me makes a big difference on where I want to put them, because some guys are like, ‘I don’t care. You put me where you want to put me.’ Other guys are, ‘Hey, I’m expecting to be your No. 1 guy.’ Sometimes you play to that personality.
“It’s just like anything else, you put these guys in a position where you think they’re going to succeed best. If I think Yovani is going to succeed best at No. 2 or No. 3, then that’s where I want to put him. Marcum, he’s a bulldog, probably wants to be that No. 1 guy. Personalities have a lot to do with where we end up slotting guys.”
Matchups also play a role. The Brewers play the Reds on March 31 and April 2-3, then return home for an April 4 home opener against the Braves that begins a four-game series and a seven-game homestand. 
“Obviously, you want to win that first game, you want to start your season off [well],” Roenicke said. “But you also want to do the things that set you up for the next days, too.”
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Greinke wants Opening Day, too

Given his famous competitiveness, it came as absolutely no surprise on Tuesday when Zack Greinke said he would like to start for the Brewers on Opening Day. 
Greinke spoke following his much-anticipated, if unofficial, Milwaukee debut, and anyone can check the calendar and see the former Royals ace is on an every-five-day schedule that leads directly to his second consecutive Opening Day start. But anyone — including Greinke — can also check the roster and see there are two other pitchers who took the ball in 2010 openers, including Yovani Gallardo, the Brewers’ incumbent and All-Star who said last month that he’d like the honor for the second straight year. Shaun Marcum is a Brewer, too, and he started the Blue Jays’ 2010 opener. 
Greinke realizes that manager Ron Roenicke is in something of a pickle. 
“Everyone wants to pitch Opening Day, but whatever is decided, it’s not like anyone’s going to cry if they don’t get it,” Greinke said. “I was thinking about it. It’s kind of tricky.” 
Roenicke was relayed that comment following the Brewers’ 3-1 win over the White Sox at Camelback Ranch. 
“Good answer, Zack,” Roenicke said with a smile. 
With that, Ronicke went quiet. He isn’t ready to reveal his pitching plans for the first week of the Brewers’ regular season, though he told reporters earlier in the day to expect something soon. 
The skipper hinted in previous days that he would use left-hander Randy Wolf in Game 3 of the season to separate him from the other lefty, Chris Narveson, who will be fifth out of the chute. That leaves Greinke, Gallardo and Marcum to fill Games 1, 2 and 4. The first is the team’s March 31 season opener in Cincinnati, but the fourth game is just as big because it’s the Brewers home opener. Roenicke made clear he views that as a prestigious assignment. 
Still, everybody seems to want Opening Day. 
“But that’s good,” Roenicke said. “If guys are upset about not pitching that opener, that’s good. Any time you have guys that want the ball all the time, that’s great to have.” 
So, stay tuned.
For more on Greinke’s first outing and some video of his postgame media scrum, check Brewers.com later today. 
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Morning Brew: Saito, Hawkins, starting rotation

Some notes from the Brewers’ clubhouse this morning:

Saito-toss.jpg

You can add Takashi Saito to the list of Brewers being very cautious with minor medical matters. Saito was supposed to make his unofficial Brewers debut on Wednesday against the Cubs, but he requested the outing be pushed to Saturday against the Angels. 
On Wednesday, the 41-year-old Saito will throw a bullpen session instead. 
“Right now, I’m kind of tight in my hamstring and my hip,” Saito said through translator Kosuke Inaji. “I don’t think it’s that big of a deal, but last year when I hurt my shoulder, I feel that the reason was i hurt my hamstring and tried to throw harder with my shoulder. 
“It’s still early in Spring Training, so I want to be careful right now.”
The schedule shift means Saito is on pace for nine innings of Cactus League work this spring instead of 10. He said as long as he gets into eight games, he’ll be ready for Opening Day. 
Right-hander LaTroy Hawkins is scheduled for a bullpen on Wednesday, his first mound work since undergoing right shoulder surgery last season. Hawkins would have to throw a series of bullpens, then live batting practice before appearing in a Spring Training game. 
If he continues to progress on schedule, Hawkins could pitch in a game by the middle of the month. He’s aiming to be ready for the Brewers’ March 31 season-opener. 
Zack Greinke makes his Brewers debut against the White Sox today in Glendale, Ariz., one of my favorite spring venues, maybe because I got to attend a game here last spring as a fan. We prodded him again today, but manager Ron Roenicke still was not ready to reveal his plans for the starting rotation. 
Asked when he would be ready to make public his intentions, Roenicke said, “I imagine it will come pretty soon.”
As I wrote yesterday, it sounds as if he will use left-hander Randy Wolf in Game 3 of the season to separate him from the other lefty, Chris Narveson, who will be fifth out of the chute. That leaves Greinke, Yovani Gallardo and Shaun Marcum to fill Games 1, 2 and 4. The fourth game is a big one because it’s the Brewers home opener, and Roenicke made clear he views that as a prestigious assignment.
Might he have to sell it as such?
“I may,” he said. 
Roenicke has had conversations with two of the pitchers about his thinking, and has said before that their desires could play a role in how they line up. 
“I want to hear how they respond,” Roenicke, who declined to reveal details of those talks. He conceded that someone is bound to be disappointed, considering Greinke, Yovani Gallardo and Shaun Marcum all started on Opening Day last season. 
“But that’s good,” Roenicke said. “If guys are upset about not pitching that opener, that’s good. Any time you have guys that want the ball all the time, that’s great to have.” 
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