Tuesday's Frosty Mug

Ryan Braun, who looks like he may have been about to sneeze during pregame preparations yesterday, is back in the lineup today.

Some things to read while taking a day off.

We're 17 days away from Opening Day and the Brewers got back on track yesterday, beating the Rangers 5-3 behind three hits from Norichika Aoki and four scoreless innings of relief from the bullpen. I've got the recap, if you missed it.

Aoki and Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish were the primary focus of the media in attendance yesterday. Adam McCalvy and Doug Miller of MLB.com have a look at the adjustments the two have made to life and baseball in America. Ryan Braun complimented Darvish's velocity and stuff, while Randy Wolf noticed the attention he paid to his radar readings.

Other notes from the field:

  • Zach Braddock was scheduled to pitch but did not appear in the game for the second straight day yesterday. Ron Roenicke says Braddock was dealing with a quad strain.
  • With the runner coming home from third in the sixth inning, Cesar Izturis had no choice but to attempt to bunt a pitch up by his eyes and, as you can see here, did so successfully in one of the more impressive suicide squeeze attempts you'll ever see. (h/t @Mass_Haas)
  • @Mass_Haas also has a link to video of Kentrail Davis' long home run, which caused several members of the Surprise(!) press box to take notice.
  • Jonathan Lucroy went 0-for-2 with an HBP yesterday, snapping his Cactus League hit streak at nine games. Tyler Lockman of FS Arizona has a profile of Lucroy.

The Brewers are back in action today, taking on the Dodgers at 3:05 on FS Wisconsin. Chris Narveson is scheduled to face Chad Billingsley, and Mike Vassallo has the lineup.

As expected, the Brewers returned Tyler Thornburg to minor league camp yesterday (FanShot). He probably would've gone along with the nine others that were sent down Sunday if he hadn't been needed to pitch in that day's game. Thornburg finished the spring with five (official) runs allowed in five innings, but none of them were earned and his performance in Sunday's rainout doesn't count.

I've already mentioned Cesar Izturis' impressive suicide squeeze bunt yesterday, but he went 0-for-2 with a pair of strikeouts in his other at bats. If the Brewers are interested in pursuing other possibilities, Twinkie Town has a look at some of the other middle infield options that may become available as spring training draws to a close. Dan Hayes of the North County Times reports the Padres have also been getting calls about shortstop Everth Cabrera.

Elsewhere in roster moves, Reviewing the Brew wonders if the front office made a mistake by waiving Frankie De La Cruz. FDLC has interesting stuff and can probably pitch in someone's bullpen, but I can't think of any current member of the Brewer staff I would've gotten rid of to make room for him.

Assuming the Brewers don't make any more moves, Ryan Topp of Disciples of Uecker attempted to handicap the races for the Brewers' final roster spots. I think he's undervaluing Travis Ishikawa's shot at making the team if Corey Hart isn't ready, but that's just my opinion.

Of course, all of that will be moot if Hart is ready for Opening Day. He could start playing in minor league games as soon as Friday, but won't appear in major league games so his DL trip could be backdated if necessary.

John Axford pitched a scoreless inning yesterday, striking out two while retiring the side in order. He also told Adam McCalvy he's in no hurry to sign a long term contract extension, and won't be bothered if negotiations continue into the season.

It's time for our once-daily reminder that Shaun Marcum still hasn't pitched in a game this spring. He's the subject of today's installment of "Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers" at The Brewer Nation.

Brandon Kintzler also remains on the shelf, but Tom Haudricourt reports that he's trying out a new stretching regimen and hoping it'll help his sore elbow.

In the minors:

Today in predictions, projections and whatnot: Craig Calcaterra of Hardball Talk has a video preview of the NL Central where he says some nice things about the Brewers, but picks the Cardinals to win the division.

If you're reading this before 3 pm today, then there's still time to make your Prognostikeggers predictions for today's game. And if you're a BCB'er on Twitter, you should also add yourself to Hyatt's 2012 BCB list.

Around baseball:

Cardinals: Second baseman Skip Schumaker will likely open the season on the DL with a torn oblique.
Mariners: Released pitcher Hong-Chih Kuo.
Phillies: Released pitcher Joel Pineiro.
Royals: Closer Joakim Soria is likely to require Tommy John surgery and miss the 2012 season.

My favorite spring training story from yesterday was this one from Lookout Landing, where Mariners reliever (and former Brewer prospect) Tom Wilhelmsen discusses what he learned from a piece of non-advice given to him by teammate Felix Hernandez. (h/t Baseball Musings)

The Brewers may have faced Yu Darvish yesterday, but they'll be the last team to see him for a while: He's pitching a simulated game this weekend and the Rangers will skip his spot in the rotation instead of having him face the division-rival Angels.

We didn't make it there this year, but last year my wife and I visited Goodyear Ballpark in Arizona as part of our spring training trip. True Blue LA has dozens of great pictures of the facility, which looks about as nice and empty as what I remember.

Today in former Brewers: J.P. Breen of Disciples of Uecker remembers Joe Inglett's brief time as a knuckleballer.

Today's biggest baseball economics news comes via New York, where the Mets have reportedly agreed to settle their lawsuit with a Bernie Madoff trustee for $162 million and paid off their loans from Major League Baseball and Bank of America. Maury Brown of The Biz of Baseball says it's now unlikely the Wilpons will sell the team in the near future.

This morning's edition of Today In Brewer History remembers the tenth anniversary of a trade that sent Henry Blanco to the Braves. Today is also 1988 Brewer Mike Young's 52nd birthday, and Plunk Everyone notes that his 20 career HBP are tied for third most ever for a position player born in March 20.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going back to observing.

Drink up.

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