Thursday's Frosty Mug

Some things to read while checking.

It's not spring training until the first significant injury: Jonathan Lucroy broke the pinkie finger on his right (throwing) hand while practicing plays at the plate yesterday, will have surgery to insert a pin into the finger and is expected to miss four weeks (FanShot).

Broken finger or no, Lucroy sounds committed to doing everything he can to get ready this spring so he can get back on the active roster. He still intends to catch bullpen sessions and take part in whatever drills he can. His projected recovery time would suggest he'll be full strength about a week before the Brewers break camp, though, so it'd probably be a stretch for him to make the Opening Day roster at this point.

With the strong possibility that Lucroy won't be ready for Opening Day, Brian Carriveau of PocketDoppler noted that the race for the backup catcher spot will likely get a little more attention this spring. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like Shawn Riggans is going to get a chance to compete for the job: He's still suffering from the aftereffects of pneumonia and is expected to report to minor league camp when he returns. Despite losing two catchers in camp's opening week, Doug Melvin told Adam McCalvy he's comfortable with his depth at the position at this point.

Lucroy isn't the only Brewer nursing an injury in camp, though: Mark Rogers, Zack Greinke and Mat Gamel also missed time yesterday. Rogers is suffering from shoulder tightness, but downplayed it when talking to Tom Haudricourt. Greinke has bruised ribs, but the injury is also believed to be minor. Gamel has an oblique strain and isn't expected to hit for a week or so.

Other notes from camp:

Adam McCalvy also has details regarding the incentives in Mark Kotsay's contract: He can earn an extra $450,000 in total, with $150k tied to plate appearances, $200k tied to starts and $100k due if he's still with the team on July 1.

A day later, a fair number of people are still talking about Zack Greinke's interview session from Tuesday. Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star used to cover Greinke when he was with the Royals, and says not much has changed. Ron Roenicke told Adam McCalvy that he likes Greinke's direct, no-nonsense style.

I think most of us are pretty happy to have Shaun Marcum in camp this spring and there's somewhat universal agreement that moving from the AL East to the NL Central should improve his numbers a bit, but how much? Vaughn's Valley used some past examples to estimate Marcum's NL bump.

Speaking of things that are difficult to quantify: David Pinto of Baseball Musings continues to rank teams and players defensively by his Probabilistic Model of Range over the last five seasons. Carlos Gomez came in as the fourth best center fielder over the last five seasons.

In the minors:

  • Satchel Price of Beyond the Box Score has a post up listing his personal top 15 Brewer prospects, and has Mark Rogers at #1.
  • As part of yesterday's All Questions Answered thread, John Sickels of Minor League Ball said Zach Braddock will likely continue to build on his 2010 success, Mark Rogers will likely end up in the bullpen, Kyle Heckathorn should start the season with Brevard County and Zelous Wheeler is the Brewer prospect he'd take along on a quest to rescue Princess Zelda.
  • Prospect Madness continues at Bernie's Crew: The last matchup I've seen features Amaury Rivas and Steffan Wilson.

Yesterday's big news around baseball was the fact that Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright is expected to need Tommy John surgery and miss the 2011 season. Shaun Marcum was one of several players quoted in this reaction piece at Cardinals.com.

If Wainwright is in fact out for the year, that changes the NL Central race a bit: Updated ZiPS projections now have the Brewers and Reds tied at 85 wins, two ahead of the Cardinals.

Around baseball:

Dodgers: Pitcher Vicente Padilla will likely open the season on the DL after undergoing surgery to release an entrapped nerve in his pitching arm.

Today in former Brewers: Bill Hall is expected to be the Astros' second baseman this season. Zachary Levine of the Houston Chronicle has a look at the various positions Hall has played as a big leaguer.

Here are today's spring training stories:

My favorite graphics of the day came via MLB Trade Trees: They have a graphical representation of the Brewers/Mets/Rockies trade that sent Jeromy Burnitz to the Mets and the resulting career tree for Benny Agbayani.

With help from the B-Ref Play Index, happy birthday today to 1991 Brewer Matias Carrillo, who turns 48.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to stop that bus.

Drink up.

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