Monday's Frosty Mug

Some things to read while looking for Kid Nichols' skeleton. (h/t Baseball Musings)

Sometime in the next few hours, Chris Narveson will get another opportunity to make his case for a spot on the Opening Day roster, pitching in a B game this morning. In an effort to keep all the pitchers in camp stretched out and on schedule, the team also announced that Manny Parra will pitch in a minor league game on Wednesday, the team's only Cactus League off day.

Randy Wolf is crediting in-game adjustments for a somewhat successful outing yesterday. Wolf gave up two runs in the first inning, then settled in to finish his five inning outing strong. Wolf says he used to have awful springs but made an adjustment to his delivery in 2008 that made it easier for him to come to camp strong and get into a rhythm.

Yesterday's tie was part of a division-wide epidemic: The Cubs and Reds also tied in their game. With the Astros, Cardinals and Pirates rained out, there were only three games involving NL Central teams yesterday, and two ended in ties.

I probably shouldn't even mention this, and I'll definitely include a "knock on wood" as I do, but this spring's Brewer camp has been pretty healthy on the whole. With that said, if you needed a recap of camp injury news, Mr. Sparkle of Quevedo at the Buffet has a look at who's "busted."

Surprisingly not busted this spring: Jim Edmonds. Despite closing in on 40 years of age and not having played in the majors in 2009, Edmonds is a likely candidate to make the team out of camp. Anthony Witrado profiled Edmonds over the weekend and quoted him as saying he might not accept a major league job if offered one, but Adam McCalvy refuted that in his latest inbox. I was ready to write it off as a miscommunication and "Witrado being Witrado" until I saw this MLB FanHouse story, which includes these quotes:

His heart doesn't seem completely in it to begin with.

"Some days," he said last week, "driving in, I think [WTF]."

Asked by FanHouse if he was OK with being the fourth outfielder and playing a couple of times a week, Edmonds said, "I don't know if that's going to be enough."

As spring training closes, he said, he plans to meet with general manager Doug Melvin -- who gave Edmonds, 39, a non-roster invite sight unseen -- to discuss his situation.

"It depends on the role," he said. "If the role kind of diminishes, then I feel like I can just walk away. If it stays true to what they said and I get a chance to play a lot, then I'm all for it. We'll see how it goes."

Edmonds is one of a handful of players the Brewers might have to make decisions on this week: Edmonds, Matt Treanor and Scott Schoeneweis all have "out" clauses in their contracts that allow them to ask to be released if they're not on the major league roster by Thursday. Of the three, Edmonds is the only one that's anywhere near a lock to make the team. Treanor and Schoeneweis are both likely candidates to opt out: There won't be much playing time to be had for Treanor in the minors, with Angel Salome and Jonathan Lucroy already struggling to find time. Schoeneweis, meanwhile, told Adam McCalvy he's not interested in a return to AAA. Don't be surprised, though, if neither player exercises the clause immediately - neither will likely know by Thursday if they've made the team.

George Kottaras appears to be the frontrunner for the backup catcher job based on a solid spring, but don't count Treanor out yet. Ken Macha and Rick Peterson met with all four remaining catchers yesterday to get their thoughts on pitchers, and afterwards he told Tom Haudricourt Treanor has "done a fine job receiving the ball. He's very receptive to all instruction, solid on the defensive side." If Kottaras is being viewed as the better offensive player but Treanor is seen as better defensively, as Tom H. suggests, then Treanor may still have the advantage. He also had a throwing error in yesterday's game, though. Haudricourt recapped the situation in yesterday's Final Thoughts.

Speaking of catchers, Adam McCalvy has a profile of Gregg Zaun and a look at his approach at the plate.

Also healthy for the first time this spring: Ryan Braun. Braun hit his third Cactus League home run yesterday, but told Tom Haudricourt that feeling strong and healthy is his top priority this spring.

Elsewhere in camp minutiae:

  • If you listened to this weekend's games (or checked the box scores), you might have noticed that Yovani Gallardo led the Brewers to a 1-0 victory Saturday with five shutout innings and a solo home run. Tom Haudricourt understated the obvious by calling Gallardo "a special kid."
  • LaTroy Hawkins threw a bullpen session over the weekend and all went well. He's back on track for Opening Day.
  • Joe Koshansky was added to Brewer camp over the weekend as another warm body who can play first base (FanShot).
  • BrewCrewBabe has a photo of the fire behind the outfield wall in Maryvale yesterday.
  • Hopefully Jeremy Jeffress wasn't responsible for it. Gord Ash told Tom Haudricourt that Jeffress seems "dedicated and determined" this spring. It's not outside the realm of possibility that Jeffress could be contributing to the major league team for the Brewers by the end of the season. It's also possible he could be banned from baseball for life by then.

If you weren't around this weekend, you might have missed FtJ's Weekend Mug, where he wandered out onto an island all by himself by making the case that the Brewers should hold onto Jeff Suppan this season. I disagree with his point but see the logic in his argument. Elsewhere on Suppan:

If you'd like more passionate arguments that Jeff Suppan should be released, please visit the comment section of literally every post that's mentioned him in the last two months.

With a partial tear in the lat muscle behind his shoulder, all Mat Gamel can do is work on his rehab and wait for a chance to prove this post wrong: The Brewers Bar wonders if Gamel is losing his luster as a top prospect.

Jody Gerut was the latest Brewer covered in Baseball Musings' Players A to Z series. David Pinto thinks Gerut's high line drive rate means his luck might even out in 2010.

In the minors: Minor league camp is officially open and games are underway. Most of the game are "unofficial" and few (if any) statistics and official box scores are kept, but thankfully Chris Mehring of Rattler Radio is in Arizona keeping us informed via his blog and Twitter.

On projections/predictions and other stuff I didn't know what to do with:

Around baseball:

Dodgers: Released Eric Gagne.
Indians: Kerry Wood has a strained muscle in his back and could miss two months.
Marlins: Offered Rule 5 pick Jorge Jimenez back to the Red Sox.
Mets: Released Josh Fogg.
Red Sox: Signed Alan Embree to a minor league deal.
Tigers: Signed pitcher Casey Fien to a minor league deal.
Twins: Signed Joe Mauer to an eight year, $184 million deal.

 

Reaction to the Mauer deal:

  • Bob Nightengale notes that the Twins had never guaranteed more than $80 million to any player in franchise history, before guaranteeing over $100 million more to Mauer. He also notes that the Twins' payroll will likely exceed $100 million next season.
  • Dave Cameron estimates that Mauer would have to be worth six wins per season over the life of the deal to make it a good value for the Twins, and says that "seems about right."
  • Ryan Topp of Bernie's Crew has a look at what this deal might mean for the Brewers' attempts to sign Prince Fielder to a long term deal. He comes to the conclusion that the two situations aren't all that similar.

I'd like to take a moment to offer best wishes to former Brewer Lenny Harris, who is in stable condition after undergoing emergency quadruple bypass surgery on Saturday. Harris was a Brewer in 2002, and is now working as a hitting instructor for the Dodgers.

We beat up on Tony La Russa and the Cardinals a lot around here, at times justifiably so. I will give La Russa credit where it's due for this specific act, though: He felt his players didn't know enough about the history and legacy of Stan Musial, so he printed off a Joe Posnanski post about the Cardinal legend and left a copy in each player's locker. 

Last week I mentioned that Dontrelle Willis might win a rotation spot with the Tigers after two long and disappointing seasons. It turns out speculation might have been a bit premature: Lynn Henning of The Detroit News thinks the Tigers will release Willis this spring. (h/t BBTF)

I've mentioned a couple of articles recently that help illuminate the concept of "options," why they're important and how they work. Baseball America has another one, looking at eligibility for fourth options and the Rule 5 Draft.

The Home Run Derby is already the most-viewed segment of MLB All Star week, so it clearly needed another gimmick. This year's Derby will be televised in 3D. Chris Berman's home run calls in three dimensions might ruin us all.

I'm pretty sure I've previously mentioned the plight of UW-La Crosse baseball, a program which was nearly discontinued after last season. The Bucky Channel has a look at the efforts to save the program: They've successfully funded the 2010 season, but still need your help to secure its long term future. UWL alums include former Brewers Jerry Augustine and Vinny Rottino.

I'm not sure why, but I found this story about the Gaslamp Ballers finding a mentor funny and fascinating.

If you haven't done it yet, I'd strongly encourage you to take this SB Nation Survey to help the company learn a little more about you and tailor the future of this and hundreds of others to fit your needs and preferences. As an added bonus, if BCB has the highest community participation, we'll win $500 for a charity of our choice. 

Happy birthday to:

Also, happy birthday today to Brew Crew Ball, which turns 5. We've come a long way in five years: Thanks to Jeff Sackmann for getting the ball rolling, and to all of you for helping make BCB the best place on the internet for intelligent Brewer conversation.

That's all I've got for you today, unless you wanted to know the Japanese word for "injury."

Drink up.

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