Wednesday's Frosty Mug

Some things to read while planning for the future.

Zack Greinke media sessions are going to be relatively rare this spring (supposedly he'll only talk after he pitches), so the fact that he sat down with reporters for over half an hour yesterday was the day's big story. Follow that link to see what he had to say about his new teammates, his attempts to deal with and ignore distractions and the social anxiety issues he's working though. Tom Haudricourt summed up the conversation by saying Greinke "deals with a lot," and that certainly appears to be the case.

Greinke still hasn't been announced as the Brewers' Opening Day starter, but if he's given the start he'll face off against Edinson Volquez. Reds manager Dusty Baker announced yesterday that he's planning on pitching Volquez, Bronson Arroyo and Johnny Cueto in the opening series.

Meanwhile, Jerry Crasnick was in camp yesterday working on the latest story about the Brewers' pitchers hitting. You can also follow that link to see video from Baseball Tonight's report from Maryvale.

Elsewhere in video, The Official Site has an interview with Shaun Marcum.

If you're looking to bang your head on your desk a bit today, your best opportunity might be this Tom Haudricourt piece on Yuniesky Betancourt and defense. If you'd rather save the time, here are some of the excerpts that raised my blood pressure:

Many residents of Brewers Nation wouldn't say the same. As thrilled as those worrywarts were to get pitching ace Zack Greinke from the Royals in a blockbuster December trade, they weren't happy about the shortstop exchange.

...

Never mind that Betancourt, who turned 29 a couple of weeks ago, committed 18 errors in 151 games last season, compared to 20 by Escobar in 138 games at shortstop. Betancourt rates poorly in all of the chic fielding statistics, such as number of runs saved above or below average (-19), and number of runs above or below average a player is worth (-12).

...

"I don't think it's fair to try to figure out on a computer how good a guy is defensively," said Roenicke. "You don't know what's in his head. Is he positioning himself right?"

So I guess we're all just a bunch of worrywarts. Maybe we should just be glad Betancourt showed up to camp and Haudricourt stopped complaining about the weather long enough to write a story about him.

Other notes from camp:

I don't know if Manny Parra has allowed his first home run of the spring yet, but these numbers would suggest it shouldn't take long: Jesse Wolfersberger of FanGraphs noted that Parra allowed home runs on 16.5% of his fly balls in 2010 and projects for an 11% HR/FB rate this season, the third highest in baseball.

Elsewhere in pitching, Jack Moore of Disciples of Uecker considers LaTroy Hawkins' likely new role, and says the aging reliever should fit into this spot better than the one he was expected to fill in 2011. Hawkins is still earning $4 million in the final season of his two year deal.

The Brewers announced their 2011 broadcast schedule yesterday, and it's about what it's typically been: 135 games will be carried on FS Wisconsin and 15 more will appear on WMLW. Assuming a few national telecasts over the course of the season, that leaves roughly 8-10 games untelevised.

David Pinto of Baseball Musings is working on an interesting project this spring, expanding his "Probabilistic Model of Range" defensive system to look at teams position-by-position over the last five years. Rickie Weeks' detractors might be surprised to note that both Weeks and the Brewers' combined second basemen rank near the middle of the pack over that time.

Today in season previews: MLB Soup lists Shaun Marcum, John Axford and Prince Fielder as the three most critical players for the Brewers in 2011, and FanSided has a look at five non-roster players in camp.

There's a double dose today at PocketDoppler: First, this week's edition of "A Simple Kind of Fan" takes a look at Rickie Weeks' contract extension, then Brian Carriveau takes a deeper look at the benefits of going "all in."

In the minors:

Back in Milwaukee, Ryan Braun's restaurant has been "reconcepted" and has a new name: Graffito. Only the finest vintage spray paint will be served.

Today in shameless self-promotion: Wisconsin Sports Tap is holding a contest to determine the best Brewer Twitterers, and I'd like to win it. Head over there to see how you can help (or hinder) our efforts. Also, if you don't follow us (@BrewCrewBall), now might be a good time to fix that too.

Around baseball:

Cardinals: Infielder Nick Punto will be out 8-12 weeks following surgery to repair a sports hernia.

The NL Central race may take an interesting and unexpected turn today. This morning multiple outlets are reporting that Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright, who has finished in the top three in NL Cy Young voting each of the last two seasons, has returned to St. Louis for further examination of a potentially significant elbow injury (FanShot).

Today in former Brewers:  A day later, I still think the jokes about Jason Kendall's "Rewind Yourself" comment are hilarious. Jack Moore of NotGraphs suggests it as the title for Kendall's debut album.

I read about half of this, then I called in Kameron Loe to finish it: The B-Ref Blog notes that we're living in the Golden Age for reliever appearances on back-to-back days.

Here are some more spring training stories:

  • If you've ever wondered what major league spring training is like, Chad Durbin has a simulation suggestion you can try out at home.
  • After seeing this picture, I feel like Bartolo Colon's offseason workout plan is even less strenuous than Durbin's simulation.
  • If you see someone out in Peoria this spring wearing horrifically mismatched clothes, odds are it's Ichiro.

We'll see a fair number of great minor league promotions and giveaways in 2011, but it's going to be hard for anyone to top the Stockton Ports' Dallas Braden bobble belly.

With help from the B-Ref Play Index, happy birthday today to Seattle Pilot Gordy Lund, who turns 70.

Now, if you'll excuse me, my flying car's in the shop.

Drink up.

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