Thursday's Frosty Mug

Some things to read while waiting for your red cake truffles to solidify.

It's picture time, once again: So Mat Gamel, the last Brewer to report to spring training, reported with a previously unknown shoulder impingement that will prevent him from throwing for the time being. Gamel's decision not to mention his shoulder trouble, his similar decision not to mention his elbow trouble in September and his late appearance in camp have combined to earn him a meeting with team officials in the not so distant future. I doubt they'll discuss Gamel's appearance as one of 11 Brewer prospects featured in FanGraphs' overview of Brewer prospects.

While Gamel will be unable to throw, the Brewers are left with Mike Lamb, Casey McGehee and Craig Counsell as the only healthy third basemen in camp. Bill Hall walked on a treadmill and took ground balls on his knees yesterday, but the team is being cautious with his rehab from a partially torn calf.

Mark Attanasio addressed the team yesterday, discussing the payroll situation. This had to create some potentially awkward moments, like this quote:
"Doug [Melvin, Milwaukee's general manager] has very quietly over the past few weeks shored up the pitching," said Attanasio, who addressed the team Wednesday ahead of its first full-squad workout. "We feel a little more comfortable with [the pitching]. I think when we saw everybody at the fan event [in Milwaukee last month], we were still at a bit of a discomfort point."
I think we're almost all in agreement that the pitching staff needed the boost it got from the Looper signing, but I'm not sure I'd say that to Seth McClung's face.

Not everyone's a big fan of the "shoring up" that was done, however: the Trevor Hoffman signing appeared on two ballots in Dugout Central's vote for worst offseason acquisition.

The Gagne signing doesn't just add another arm to the Brewer bullpen, it might also add another Brewer representative to the World Baseball Classic. The Official Site reports that Gagne, like Yovani Gallardo, is still undecided on pitching in the Classic. Ryan Braun (USA), Vinny Rottino and Mark Difelice (Italy) have committed to play. R.J. Swindle and Alexandre Periard (Canada) and Jorge Julio (Venezuela) have declined invitations to play.

There are a handful of early power rankings and projections out there, but many of them don't view the Brewers too kindly: File this note under B for "Be careful what you wish for:" Kyle from Goatriders of the Apocalypse is worried the Cubs will not have significant enough competition in the NL Central to prepare the team for the playoffs.

In Iowa it likely won't be an option, but if I move back to Wisconsin someday I'll likely have to have a Brewer license plate.

On the transaction wire:

Astros: Are not interested in Ivan Rodriguez, leaving the Marlins as his likely only option.
Mariners: Have reportedly reached a deal with Ken Griffey, but I do recognize this is the second time in seven days I've said that.
Orioles: Are close to signing Brian Roberts to a four year deal worth $40 million.
Phillies: May issue identical offers to LHPs Joe Beimel, Will Ohman and Dennys Reyes and sign whoever accepts it first.
Rays: Avoided arbitration with Willy Aybar, agreeing to a two year deal worth $2.3 million.

It's still hard to compete for a job when you're not in camp: Mariners OF Wladimir Balentien is absent from Mariners camp, joining the list of players with visa issues.

There are always a litany of spring training injuries, but only one that involves going home and eating ice cream: Evan Longoria left Rays workouts yesterday due to pain from having his wisdom teeth extracted last Friday.

Oh, and Casey McGehee may or may not be a 2009 Brewer, but Cubs fans will be seeing him all season either way.

Drink up.
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