Wednesday's Frosty Mug

Some things to read while putting your mustache on for the day.

On the field, Tuesday was an off day for most Brewers. Seth McClung threw three innings in a minor league game to stay on schedule, with R.J. Swindle and Mat Gamel joining him in minor league camp for the day. McClung is, at least for the moment, part of the starting rotation that USA Today says will be the key to the Brewers' season.

Whether you like or dislike Rickie Weeks, it's encouraging to see stories like this one, where the coaching staff is working with him to correct his flaws. Sounds like Dale Sveum is working on several aspects of his related to his batting stance and swing, and Willie Randolph has taken on the task of improving his defense.

While Weeks learns to play one position, Adam McCalvy takes a look at some of the Brewers in camp who can play more than one, and how their versatility helps and hinders their careers. View From Bernie's Chalet thinks Chris Duffy, Brad Nelson and Casey McGehee will take the last bench spots, with Jorge Julio, Todd Coffey and Mark DiFelice picking up the final bullpen spots. That would leave Mike Lamb, Trot Nixon, Tim Dillard, R.J. Swindle and Eduardo Morlan, among others, off the roster.

Speaking of DiFelice, both he and Vinny Rottino should be back in camp soon as Team Italy was eliminated from the WBC yesterday. Rottino picked up a double in the ninth in his only at bat. The big news of the day, however, was The Netherlands' 2-1, 11 inning win over the Dominican Republic, singlehandedly eliminating the DR from contention. Babes Love Baseball thinks Bert Blyleven's performance as pitching coach for the Netherlands should be added to his Hall of Fame resume.

Meanwhile, Curt Schilling has written about the impact of pitching in the WBC, comparing it to baseball's All-Star series in Japan, which Schilling pitched in following the 1998 season.

Some days the Mug feels a little empty without a mention of Eric Gagne. Miller Park Drunk has a photo essay covering his Brewer career.

Some aging veterans, however, can still play: The Seattle Post-Intelligencer has a profile of Mike Cameron. The story is a great, well rounded view of Cameron as a person, including his locker room antics, his battle with post-concussion syndrome (which I haven't seen anywhere else), and his family.

On rankings, projections, etc:

I'm pretty surprised by this number, which I would have expected to be lower: Over 50% of fans at Miller Park last season came from outside of the five-county area that's helping pay for the ballpark. That number is probably a little inflated, as it includes visiting fans of opposing teams, but it's still impressive. Don Walker uses it to make a case for the retractable roof.

Stories from other camps:

Mariners: Brandon Morrow suffered a setback in a bullpen session and will not be ready for Opening Day.
Mets: Angel Pagan has elected to have surgery on his right elbow and will miss 6-8 weeks. The team also released Duaner Sanchez.
Padres: GM Kevin Towers said in a radio interview yesterday that several spots are still open in his bullpen, and some could be filled as players come available at the end of camp.
Rangers: Ben Sheets is in Texas rehabbing with the Rangers' team doctor, but team officials say there's no connection to the team.
Rockies: Jorge de la Rosa may not make the Rockies' rotation after all. He was pulled from a start yesterday after just one third of an inning, and has a spring ERA over 20.

It has not been a good spring for the Astros. On the field, they lost their tenth straight game yesterday. Off the field, FanGraphs ranked them 28th in their organizational rankings, ahead of only the Nationals and Marlins.

Andruw Jones had also been having a rough spring, until he met up with Claudio Vargas. Vargas gave up a home run to Jones yesterday. At one point this spring, Jones had struck out 10 times in 14 at bats.

On the economic front, things don't look so good for the Arizona Diamondbacks. Hearst-Argyle, a minority partner in the team, is selling their 1.7% share of the team for an estimated $2.25 million. That price would suggest the value of the franchise has fallen $247 million in the past year.

The news isn't quite as bad for the Mariners, but still ugly: not only did the team narrowly avoid losing 100 games last season, they also lost $4.5 million. Hopefully new management can generate some enthusiasm among the fan base, even if they don't win in 2009 either.

Are the Cubs already learning the dangers of relying on Milton Bradley? Bleed Cubbie Blue has quotes from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram where Bradley admits to taking some days off in 2008 to protect his stat line. Eric Seidman of FanGraphs calls Bradley the "most talented player of the last ten years who truly deserves to sign one-year deals each season."

Baseball Musings' Team Offense Projections has projected the Cardinals to score 4.97 runs per game in 2009. They scored 4.81 in 2008.

Oh, and I forgot to mention it on Monday, but there are new pictures on Gorman's Flickr page.

Drink up.

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