Friday's Frosty Mug

Mar 16, 2012; Surprise, AZ, USA; Milwaukee Brewers right fielder Norichika Aoki (7) against the Kansas City Royals at Surprise Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-US PRESSWIRE

Some things to read while narrowly avoiding having "Mayo" as a middle name.

We're 14 days away from Opening Day and coming off the last off day of the spring, which John Axford spent enjoying his first private shower in months.

The Brewer front office, meanwhile, spent the off day downplaying their interest in moving spring training to Scottsdale next season. Team officials confirmed they've spoken to city officials about constructing a new facility but say they're still considering all options, including remaining in Maryvale. Anything that's going to happen needs to be resolved soon: The Brewers' lease on their current facility expires following this spring.

On the field, the Brewers resume play today in Maryvale with a game against half the Angels. The Angels are sending a split squad to play the Brewers today, with the other half playing the Indians in Goodyear tonight. The Brewer contest is exclusively available via Brewers.com. Zack Greinke will be on the mound for the Crew today, with Randy Wolf scheduled to throw tomorrow.

Most of the Brewer Opening Day roster was set coming into spring training, and for the most part nothing has changed. J.P. Breen of Disciples of Uecker has a projected roster now with just two battles remaining: Logan Schafer and Caleb Gindl for the final outfield spot (assuming Corey Hart opens the season on the DL), and Tim Dillard and Mike McClendon for the last spot in the bullpen. I still think Travis Ishikawa's chances of beating out both Schafer and Gindl are getting underrated.

Despite allowing just one run on two hits over his first 5.1 innings, Kameron Loe has had a pretty quiet spring. Ron Roenicke told Tom Haudricourt (behind the JS paywall) that he needs to do a better job of managing Loe's workload this season. Meanwhile, Loe's bullpen-mate Jose Veras is the only Brewer represented on Mississippi Matt Smith of NotGraphs' "Damn You Auto Correct All Stars."

Loe and Veras are two of the rare Brewer pitchers who haven't said they're working on learning to throw a cutter this spring. Adam McCalvy has a look at the hottest new pitch in baseball and the variety of Brewers working on learning to throw one.

We've mentioned previously that the Brewers may or may not be in the market for a backup middle infielder. If youre interested in considering the possibilities, Crashburn Alley has a list of players that could be available.

Regardless of how that situation plays out, this team still has a chance to be pretty good. Chris Jenkins of The Associated Press says Ryan Braun and the pitching staff can still lead this team to victory without Prince Fielder.

In the minors:

The Brewers' ability to repeat as NL Central champions in 2012 remains to be seen, but their recent success continues to help them at the box office: Don Walker of the JS (behind the paywall) reports that the team has already sold the equivalent of 16,000 season ticket packages (which by themselves would account for nearly 1.3 million tickets sold) and could set another new franchise attendance record this season.

Today in predictions, projections and power rankings:

  • ESPN continued unveiling their list of baseball's top 500 players by revealing #301-350 yesterday, with Alex Gonzalez (#320), Jonathan Lucroy (#330) and Nyjer Morgan (#331) making appearances.
  • Sports Illustrated has the Brewers winning 84 games and finishing third in the Central behind the Reds (89 wins) and Cardinals (87 wins).
  • Batter's Box Interactive has the Brewers finishing fourth behind the Reds, Cardinals and Pirates(!).

If you'd like more Brewer coverage this morning but you're sick of reading, this week's View From Bernie's Chalet podcast is up and includes an interview with me. I'll also be appearing on The Home Stretch with Justin Hull on The Score (AM 1570 in Appleton) at 4 today.

Around baseball:

Dodgers: Designated pitcher Ramon Troncoso for assignment.
Giants
: Second baseman Freddy Sanchez is likely to open the season on the DL as he continues to rehab from offseason shoulder surgery.
Reds: Closer Ryan Madson (sore elbow) still hasn't pitched in a game this spring and seems unlikely to be ready for Opening Day.

It hasn't really drawn that much attention (mainly because the Mariners and A's are involved and neither team projects to be relevant), but the MLB season officially opens on Wednesday when Seattle and Oakland open a two game series in Japan. The two teams flew over there yesterday to prepare.

Elsewhere in travel notes, Flip Flop Fly Ball has the day's best infographic with a look at the phrase "heading north with the big club" and how accurate/inaccurate it is for MLB's 30 teams.

Today in former Brewers:

My favorite spring training story of the day yesterday came from Diamondbacks camp, where rookie outfielder Adam Eaton mistakenly received several royalty checks intended for the former Padre and Phillie pitcher with the same name. The checks had a combined value over six figures and probably represented more than the younger Eaton will earn in the minors all season.

Today's biggest baseball economics news comes via San Diego, where team CEO Jeff Moorad has resigned and dropped his effort to purchase the team. Moorad, a former agent, was having a hard time getting approval from the other owners. The Padres will almost certainly go back on the market.

This morning's edition of Today In Brewer History celebrates longtime Milwaukee Braves shortstop Johnny Logan's 85th birthday. 1972-76 Brewer George Scott also turns 68 today, and Plunk Everyone notes that Scott (53) and Logan (43) are the second and fourth most-plunked batters ever born on March 23, respectively.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to change the lyrics in my head.

Drink up.

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