Thursday's Frosty Mug

Some things to read while being someone else.

We're 43 days away from Opening Day and about to witness one of the more interesting days in Brewer camp, as the team is expected to officially introduce Norichika Aoki for the first time this morning. Aoki is one of several Brewers to arrive in camp recently: Rickie Weeks and Corey Hart both reported for the first time yesterday, while Adam McCalvy noted that Francisco Rodriguez, Aramis Ramirez and Alex Gonzalez still have yet to make an appearance. Meanwhile, Zach Braddock was absent from camp yesterday with a stomach virus.

One of the real upsides of the Brewers' current pitching situation is that the team has at least two good options to start Opening Day. Nathan Petrashek of Cream City Cables isn't taking anything away from Zack Greinke, but says Yovani Gallardo is the franchise's top starter.

Elsewhere in starting pitching, Tom Haudricourt reports that Marco Estrada, Wily Peralta and Michael Fiers will all be stretched out as starters this spring. Estrada is probably the first option to move into the rotation if someone has to open the season on the DL, and Peralta and Fiers will likely be the #1 and 2 starters for Nashville.

Despite the fact that neither player is currently on the 40 man roster, if I had to guess today I'd say both Brooks Conrad and Cesar Izturis seem likely to be on the team on Opening Day. Nick Prill of The Brewers Bar has a look at those two and the other non-roster infielders in camp.

The Brewers apparently tried to get one more veteran shortstop in camp, but Edgar Renteria turned down the club's offer of a minor league deal. He seems likely to retire.

Meanwhile, Mat Gamel has already been in camp for days and seems dedicated to making the most of his opportunity to play first base this season. Adam McCalvy has a story on Gamel and the offseason workout routine that has him claiming to be in the best shape of his life.

Manny Parra might be able to one-up Gamel in that regard: Adam McCalvy has a story on the time he spent at the Brewers' facility in the Dominican Republic this winter getting a head start on his comeback.

Just like last year, several Arizona State students are in camp this spring helping out with Journal Sentinel coverage. The @js_crackerjack Twitter feed has come back to life, if you're interested in following along.

Another day, another set of stories about how there's nothing to report regarding Ryan Braun. Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports was in camp yesterday and talked to Nyjer Morgan about it. It's a good thing Morgan's baseball career is working out, because he'd probably be in trouble if he were relying on his baseball-themed cereal for income.

Brian Anderson is on his way to Arizona, and will be making that trip every spring for quite some time: He announced on his blog yesterday that he's signed a four year contract extension with the Brewers. He's also going to continue to work for Turner Sports and the Big Ten Network, and this March he'll be calling NCAA Tournament games for CBS.

Elsewhere in transactions, the team has signed Zach Braddock and Jonathan Lucroy to 2012 contracts. Three unsigned players remain, but the team still has until March 11 to work out deals with them.

In the minors:

  • The Brewers signed outfielder Jay Gibbons to a minor league deal without an invitation to major league camp yesterday (FanShot). Gibbons is 34 and a career .260/.315/.453 hitter in the majors but has appeared in just 61 games since the end of the 2007 season. He also played in the minors for the Brewers in 2008.
  • New Huntsville Stars broadcaster Alex Cohen is the guest on this week's Bernie's Crew podcast.

If you'd like more Brewer content today but you're sick of reading, you can listen to my appearance on The Home Stretch with Justin Hill from yesterday. Also, the latest edition of the View From Bernie's Chalet podcast is up. This week's topics include the starting rotation, bullpen and catchers and an interview with Jaymes Langrehr of Disciples of Uecker.

Around baseball:

Angels: Signed reliever Jason Isringhausen to a minor league deal.
Indians: Pitcher Jon Garland's minor league contract has been canceled after he failed to take a physical.
Yankees: Signed pitcher David Aardsma to a one year, $500,000 deal.

Over the last few years we've seen spring training reporting schedules shift a bit, with a pretty heavy emphasis on reporting early making the mandatory report dates something of a formality. A perfect example of that is happening in Mets camp, where manager Terry Collins publicly called out infielder Ruben Tejada yesterday for not coming to camp until it was required.

If Tejada was this late coming to Cubs camp, he'd be missing the single elimination, match play bunt tourney they're holding this week. That's my favorite spring training camp story of the day.

Today in baseball economics: The Marlins spent a lot of money on the free agent market this winter, but they're making a tiny percentage of it back by being cheap with their homegrown players. Instead of sticking with the common practice of negotiating contracts with small raises for their pre-arbitration players, they're renewing everyone at the league minimum.

Meanwhile, the Marlins are currently being sued by a guy who claims he bought the team for $10 million at a charity auction. I can almost promise you it's the dumbest suit you'll read about today.

In former Brewers:

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to protect the future.

Drink up.

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