Thursday's Frosty Mug

Some things to read while being summoned. (h/t Ben Hill)

For the first time since the Cactus League opener, there won't be a live broadcast of Brewer baseball this afternoon. Instead, the Brewers will play a relatively rare Arizona night game, with Manny Parra taking on Tommy Hunter at 8:05. The game will be broadcast live on WTMJ, or you can catch it at 10 on MLB Network if you're looking for something to do after the NCAA Tournament games end for the night.

The odds against making the major league roster were pretty long in the first place, but they're getting longer by the day for Mat Gamel. With less than three weeks left to Opening Day he still hasn't been able to play a full Cactus League game, and Ken Macha says it's unlikely he could be ready to open the season with the major league club.

Angel Salome knows all about spring training injuries. Adam McCalvy has a look at the rookie catcher's climb through the Brewer system, and the further challenges that 2010 could present.

Elsewhere in camp minutiae:

In the minors:

Today's lone season preview comes from Jeff Sackmann over at The Hardball Times. Topics covered include the rotation, Carlos Gomez and Alcides Escobar's offensive contributions, Rickie Weeks, the bullpen, and Prince Fielder.

Around baseball:

Indians: Claimed infielder Anderson Hernandez off waivers from the Mets and designated infielder Brian Bixler for assignment.
Mariners: Released pitcher Yusmeiro Petit. Also, Cliff Lee was suspended for five games for throwing at D-Backs catcher Chris Snyder.
Nationals: Released reliever Logan Kensing.
Red Sox: Jed Lowrie has mononucleosis, and might not be at full strength until May.
Rockies: Huston Street will undergo an MRI on his shoulder and will likely open the season on the DL.
White Sox:
Released pitcher Daniel Cabrera.

All told, yesterday was a surprisingly quiet day on the transaction front. As Tom H. noted, yesterday was the final day where teams could release players with non-guaranteed contracts and owe them just 1/6 of their 2010 salary. The Nationals, for example, saved $68,000 when they released Elijah Dukes yesterday.

If you've been near a TV or the internet in the last 24 hours, you've probably heard about Rangers manager Ron Washington testing positive for cocaine last season. Washington was a long-time assistant coach under Ken Macha, who told Tom Haudricourt he was shocked by the news. This morning, reports have surfaced saying the former team employee who leaked the information attempted to blackmail the Rangers before taking it public.

Corey Hart is still adjusting to his new goggles and has yet to wear them to the plate in a game this spring, but maybe that's a good thing: Nate McLouth is also adjusting to new corrective lenses (wearing contacts for the first time this spring) and he's batting .036 in Braves camp.

Each year around this time we're warned about the dangers of taking spring training stats too seriously, with small sample size and a variety of other factors limiting their validity. DRaysBay, however, has compiled spring stats from the last three seasons, and that at least alleviates the sample size issue a bit. If someone wants to do that for the Brewers, I'd be interested in seeing it.

Each year in early spring we report notes on players late to camp with visa issues. The issues usually get resolved and are all but forgotten by the start of spring training games. This year, though, Dodgers reliever Ronald Belisario is still in Venezuela, and even his own lawyer doesn't seem to know why.

Today's spring training slice of life story is Cubs outfielder Sam Fuld, working to overcome diabetes while chasing his major league dream.

I noted earlier this week that the Astros were #30 of 30 in FanGraphs' organizational rankings. Surprisingly enough, there are four other non-NL Central teams rated lower than the Pirates, who check in at #25.

Some days the Mug is late, and it's usually because my brain won't move on until I finish checking out something like this: There is no overlap between Joe Posnanski's list of Happy Songs and Keith Law's quiz about songs from Sesame Street. I got five of ten on Law's quiz.

On this day in 1953, the Boston Braves moved to Milwaukee, where they remained for 13 years before moving on to Atlanta. The Braves were Milwaukee's first major league franchise since the original Brewers moved following the 1901 season. The minor league Brewers, who had been playing in Milwaukee, moved to Toledo, Ohio to become the Mud Hens.

Two notable former Brewers were born on the same day in 1976, and both celebrate their birthday today: Happy birthday to 2003-2004 Brewer Scott Podsednik and 2005-2006 Brewer Tomo Ohka. Both turn 34.

That's all I have for you today, unless you were interested in CC Sabathia's thoughts on grenades.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go find some B-roll.

Drink up.

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