If I'm a little blue this morning, it's because I spent far too long yesterday holding my breath. Casey McGehee had to be carted off the field in the first inning of yesterday's game after taking a pitch off his right kneecap. Thankfully, X-rays came back negative and the diagnosis is simply a contusion.
Meanwhile, Ron Roenicke confirmed what we had previously suspected regarding the fifth starter vacancy: The Brewers are still considering external options, but if those don't pan out then Marco Estrada will almost certainly get the spot (FanShot).
Roenicke's media briefing yesterday had a fair number of interesting notes. Andrew Gruman has all the details, but I'll summarize them here:
- Neither Jonathan Lucroy or Corey Hart are likely to be ready in time for Opening Day.
- Shaun Marcum's next start has been pushed back to Monday, and he'll throw 75-85 pitches.
- Manny Parra will pitch a bullpen session on Sunday.
In a relatively minor roster note, the Brewers have returned Rule 5 pick Pat Egan to the Orioles, who also returned reliever Adrian Rosario to the Brewers (FanShot). Egan was very effective in camp, pitching 6.1 scoreless innings over six relief appearances with no walks, but apparently there wasn't room in the bullpen for him. I'm a little surprised the Brewers didn't find a way to keep him around, but perhaps there wasn't a deal to be made.
Rosario made just two appearances for the Orioles, allowing two runs on three hits and three walks over two innings. He'll be assigned to Brevard County.
Other notes from camp:
- Tim Dillard was returned to minor league camp yesterday. He posted a 7.45 ERA over six outings (two starts), walking three and striking out four in 9.2 innings.
- Randy Wolf allowed four runs on six hits over 5.1 innings yesterday. Tyler Emerick of the JS has video of Wolf discussing his outing and Marco Estrada.
- The illness that's been spreading through camp has reached Yuniesky Betancourt and Brandon Kintzler, although both were able to play yesterday. Betancourt left the game after two at bats, and Kintzler was hit around a bit in his inning of work.
- LaTroy Hawkins pitched an inning in a minor league game yesterday, allowing one hit and striking out two.
- Corie Stark of the JS has a photo tour of Tempe Diablo Stadium, and a profile of Brewer laundry assistant Alex Sanchez (not that Alex Sanchez).
The race for the backup catcher job is still a bit complicated by the fact that the Brewers haven't officially announced their plans regarding Jonathan Lucroy. Either way, One-Man Sausage Fest has a look at the contenders and says he's rooting for George Kottaras. So is my wife.
The latest roster projection at View From Bernie's Chalet has Kottaras opening the season as the starting catcher, and Wil Nieves, Brandon Boggs, Mark Kotsay and Erick Almonte making the roster, with Luis Cruz being left off.
Speaking of Cruz, Baseball America has a story on his time in Brewer camp that includes this relatively interesting note: Cruz is a career .312/.341/.501 hitter against lefties in the minors. Unfortunately, he hits .242/.277/.344 against righties.
Zack Greinke is still expected to open the season on the DL, but that didn't keep David Schoenfield of ESPN from putting him on his NL Central All Star Team. Rickie Weeks and Ryan Braun also made the squad.
On the other end of the spectrum, here's a note on durability: Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports notes that Prince Fielder is one of just three players since 2009 to play in all 162 games in a season.
Unless something changes, Chris Narveson will likely move back into the #5 spot in the rotation once Zack Greinke is healthy. Satchel Price of Beyond the Box Score says Narveson is the NL's 10th best fifth starter.
In the minors:
- The Brewers announced the rosters yesterday for the Rising Stars Game at Miller Park on April 2. Kentrail Davis, Eric Farris, Kyle Heckathorn, Amaury Rivas, Zelous Wheeler, Caleb Gindl, Erik Komatsu, Wily Peralta and Tyler Thornburg are some of the more notable prospects who will be there.
- Zelous Wheeler is unlikely to open the season with the Brewers, but that didn't keep him from making Carson Cistulli of FanGraphs' All Joy Squad.
- Alex Periard opened last season on the 40 man roster, but missed spring training due to injury and was limited to just 67.1 minor league innings last season. We had previously believed he was out with an arm injury, but Mass Haas of Brewerfan.net reports that the issue was actually vertigo. (h/t Battlekow)
- Chris Mehring of Rattler Radio is in Arizona for some time in minor league camp. Yesterday's notes don't include a lot in the way of baseball but they do have a gripping account of the time he almost hit Wisconsin pitching coach Chris Hook with a car.
- Prospect Madness continues at Bernie's Crew. Here's a matchup featuring Jimmy Nelson and Scooter Gennett.
The Brewers project to be a hit at the box office this season: The Milwaukee Business Journal reports season ticket sales are up 5%, group sales are up 8% and individual game sales are up 7% for the 2011 season.
This news could also help concession sales: The Brewers announced a program yesterday that will allow you to order concessions from your seat via your smart phone. Colin Fly reports that the team is still working on some of the details, including which areas of Miller Park will be covered by the service. Howie Magner has an additional feature suggestion.
Today in season previews and whatnot:
- At The Hardball Times, Battlekow has five questions for the Brewers.
- Tyler Maas of The AV Club also has a season preview.
It's projection season once again, and Tom Tango of The Book Blog needs your help with his Community Playing Time estimates. Please follow the link and cast your ballot when you have a moment.
Finally, here's a little more shameless self-promotion: All spring I've been telling you about the Maple Street Press Brewer Annual. Even Dan Walsh liked it. Hopefully you've already bought your copy, but if you haven't you might be interested in knowing that the remaining copies are on sale for $9.99, and ship for free to anywhere in the US. Follow that link to order yours.
Astros: Signed pitcher Fernando Nieve to a minor league deal.
Giants: Outfielder Cody Ross will likely open the season on the DL with a calf strain.
Nationals: Reliever Henry Rodriguez will open the season on the DL with neck spasms.
Phillies: Closer Brad Lidge (shoulder soreness) and second baseman Chase Utley (patellar tendonitis) will open the season on the DL
Yankees: Signed pitcher Kevin Millwood to a minor league deal.
Today in former Brewers:
- Doug Davis threw for eight teams yesterday, and Jack Moore notes that he's taking innings-eating to a new level.
- Jennifer Langosch of MLB.com has a story on Lyle Overbay, who is hitting .419/.480/.744 in his first spring training with the Pirates.
- Subjective Baseball listed Tommy Harper's 1970 season as one of their top ten one hit wonders.
It feels like the Brewers are playing an 11-8 game every day this spring. It's good to know they're not the only ones in perpetual slugfests, though: The Reds lost 15-13 to the Rangers yesterday. Here are the results from their last seven games:
So they're averaging 9.14 runs and allowing 10.29 per game over the last week.
Elsewhere in fun facts: Jayson Stark notes that there have been 90 space shuttle missions since the Pirates' last winning season.
How he got in there, no one knows, but apparently The Adventures of Joe West led to a brief cameo in Punch Out!
Speaking of umpires, FanGraphs has 2011 projections for you to ponder.
Here's my favorite minor league promotion of the day: The Delmarva Shorebirds are banning their mascot from their games until they get 500 pounds of food donations for local charities.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go put my boots on.