Friday's Frosty Mug

Some things to read while noting the drawbacks of spring.

The Brewers dropped both halves of yesterday's split squad action, but it wasn't Ryan Braun's fault. Braun, who was scratched from the travel roster with hamstring tightness, played in the home game instead and went 1-for-3 with his second home run of the spring. Unfortunately, the remaining Brewers were only able to muster two more runs between the two games.

There were some positives to take away from yesterday's action, though:

  • Both starting pitchers pitched very well. Chris Narveson allowed one hit and one walk over three scoreless innings in Goodyear with three strikeouts, and Randy Wolf allowed two hits and two walks in his three scoreless innings, striking out four.
  • Mitch Stetter, who struggled in his previous outing, rebounded with a scoreless ninth against the A's, allowing one hit and striking out two.
  • In fact, nearly all of the runs allowed by Brewer pitchers yesterday were given up by pitchers who won't make the Opening Day roster: Kameron Loe, Amaury Rivas, Chris Capuano and Mark Rogers accounted for seven of the ten runs. LaTroy Hawkins was responsible for the other three.
  • Trent Oeltjen was able to return to action for the first time since being hit on the wrist by a pitch over the weekend. He walked in his only plate appearance in Goodyear.

Chris Narveson's strong start to spring training has given the Brewers a good problem to have. Narveson is out of options, so he's forcing the team to consider what they might be able to do with the lefty.

It probably won't be enough to earn him a spot on the roster, but Lorenzo Cain continued a pretty nice spring yesterday, entering as a pinch runner, stealing his third base of the spring and scoring a run. Tom Haudricourt talked to him about the mental aspect of recovery and rehab from last season's injuries.

Meanwhile, the major league spring training ride is over for Cody Scarpetta, who was optioned to Brevard County yesterday. The Brewers are already high on him, but don't be surprised if they attempt to accelerate his path to the big leagues a bit: Because of a unique contract situation, this is already Scarpetta's second option to the minors. He'll almost certainly qualify for a fourth, but that still means he'll need to be ready to make the team in spring training 2013.

It's possible two more Brewers will be on their way out of camp today. Over at Brewerfan.net, Battlekow is reporting that Hernan Iribarren has been designated for assignment and Rule 5 pick Chuck Lofgren has been offered back to the Indians (FanShot). It hasn't been publicly confirmed yet, so we'll have to wait and see what happens. Hernan Iribarren still appeared in yesterday's game after this report surfaced.

Designating Iribarren this early would be a relatively clear indication that the Brewers don't feel like he has much to contribute at the major league level. If he were kept in major league camp, it's possible an injury or someone else's ineffectiveness would open up a spot for him - by designating him this early, they're effectively saying they'd rather consider other options in that situation.

Removing Lofgren from the mix, however, seems logical. He faced long odds to make the team in the first place, and has probably fallen behind Chris Narveson and John Axford (among others) in the race for the final bullpen spot. And if the Brewers decide to hang onto a sixth starter, then there won't even be a final bullpen spot.

Yesterday I mentioned a note on Carlos Gomez, and efforts to get him to keep the ball out of the air. Brewers Bar wonders if Gomez is becoming a real life Willie Mays Hayes, while Jeff Sackmann (at The Hardball Times) wonders if the change is a good idea.

Elsewhere in camp minutiae:

  • Adam McCalvy has assorted notes on Chris Narveson, including Wisconsin ties, some background with Dave Bush, and a recently completed college degree.
  • Danny Knobler of CBS Sports has five things to know about the Brewers, covering the usual bases: Alcides Escobar, Carlos Gomez, attendance, Prince Fielder and Chris Capuano.

In the minors: FanGraphs has their top 50 NL prospects, with Alcides Escobar (#8), Brett Lawrie (#29) and Mat Gamel (#47) representing the Brewers.

And on projections: NJIT Professor Bruce Bukiet released his 2010 projections yesterday, and has the Brewers winning 78 games and finishing third in the Central. (h/t MetsBlog)

Around baseball:

Dodgers: Brian Giles announced his retirement yesterday.
Mets: Jose Reyes will need to rest for roughly 2-8 weeks and will likely open the season on the DL with a thyroid issue.
Rockies: Signed Todd Helton to a two year, $9 million extension to keep him under contract through 2012.

I feel like I say this every time Joe Posnanski posts something, but it's true again today: Today's Mug is roughly half an hour late because I stopped to read this post about Bill Self. Like any good Posnanski piece, it's off-topic, 10,000 words long and will eat at least half an hour of your day, but it's well worth it. In fact, if you're a college basketball fan and you skip over it, you're doing yourself a disservice.

Happy birthday today to:

Now if you'll excuse me, today is also my wife's birthday, so I have breakfast to make.

Drink up.

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