Thursday's Frosty Mug

Some things to read while baseball saves your marriage.

The Brewers celebrated Jeromy Burnitz's 40th birthday with a win last night, closing out a 2-4 homestand and inching up to 3-6 overall. Tomorrow, they open a ten game road trip against the Mets, Phillies and Astros.

J.J. Hardy should be back in the lineup when the Brewers visit Citi Field for the first time tomorrow. Hardy was a late scratch last night due to back stiffness, but says he'll be fine by Friday.

It seems like the blogosphere may have identified one of the problems the Brewers are facing this week: The Bucky Channel noticed Manny Parra was having a hard time splitting his attention between a runner on first and the hitter at the plate, and Cute Sports noticed Seth McClung having the same problem. You may recall that Ken Macha is handling the running game from the bench in 2009, after Jason Kendall was allowed to do it on his own in 2008.

Trevor Hoffman threw 40 pitches in a bullpen session yesterday and is getting close to returning. He's scheduled for one more bullpen session over the weekend before potentially being sent out for a rehab assignment on Tuesday. Unfortunately for Timber Rattlers fans, that rehab assignment will be in Memphis with the Nashville Sounds, not in Appleton with the Rattlers.

Doug Melvin, however, spent the day with the Timber Rattlers yesterday, and spoke briefly about the convenience of having a minor league affiliate so close to home and the Brewers' rough start.

I think this one needs to be sent back for further research: Jerry Crasnick of ESPN has a list of nine players who took unlikely paths to the big leagues: Chris Duffy, who had a relatively straightforward minor league career, is on it, and Mark DiFelice, who pitched in the independent Atlantic League as recently as 2006 and didn't make his big league debut until age 31, is nowhere to be found.

These rankings were posted before last night's win, but the Brewers have dropped all the way to 25th in MLB FanHouse's Power Rankings.

What do they need to do to improve? Scott Miller of CBS Sportsline says they need to get improved performance out of Jeff Suppan and schedule more games against the Pirates.

Looking around the league:

Cardinals: Chris Carpenter is expected to be out 4-8 weeks with his oblique strain. P.J. Walters will be called up to take his spot in the rotation tomorrow.
Giants: Joe Martinez has been released from the hospital, six days after being struck by Mike Cameron's line drive.
Mariners: Placed Ryan Rowland-Smith on the DL with triceps tendinitis.
Orioles: Placed Melvin Mora and pitcher Alfredo Simon on the DL. Mora has a hamstring injury and Simon has elbow trouble.
Red Sox: Placed Daisuke Matsuzaka on the DL with arm fatigue, citing the WBC as a factor.
Yankees: Xavier Nady will likely need Tommy John surgery, which would keep him out for the rest of 2009.

Finally, the Brewers pause today to mourn another loss in the baseball community: Merle Harmon, the original voice of the Milwaukee Brewers, died yesterday at age 82. Adam McCalvy has Bob Uecker's statement on the passing of his first broadcast partner.

Drink up.

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