Monday's Frosty Mug

March 25, 2012; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Shaun Marcum (18) throws against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the first inning at Maryvale Baseball Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-US PRESSWIRE

Some things to read while protecting your identity.

We're eleven days away from Opening Day and the Brewers might have had their best day of the spring yesterday as they swept a split squad doubleheader. Noah has the recap, if you missed it.

First, Shaun Marcum pitched three scoreless innings in his first game of the spring as the Brewers beat the Dodgers 7-1 in Maryvale. Marcum remains on track to open the season on the roster, but the Brewers have apparently decided not to negotiate with him on a possible contract extension. Josh Wussow thinks this is the right decision. Meanwhile, Nathan Petrashek of Cream City Cables takes the opposing view and makes the case the Brewers should be looking to buy low.

Norichika Aoki hit his first Cactus League home run in that game, and also legged out an infield single to raise his spring line to .313/.340/.458. He now has hits in each of his last six starts.

Meanwhile, the Brewers managed 13 hits in a 7-3 win over the Royals in Surprise(!) and four of them belonged to Scooter Gennett, who hit for the cycle. Taylor Green also had a single, double and triple in the game.

Nearly all Brewer hands were on deck for yesterday's action, but there were a couple of exceptions: Alex Gonzalez sat out for the day and is out of the lineup again today with a bruised heel, and Carlos Gomez was also out of the lineup yesterday and today with an illness.

Other notes from the field:

  • The Brewers had been 0-6 in split-squad action this spring before winning both games yesterday.
  • 6300 fans paid to see the Brewers and Dodgers in Maryvale, while 4131 attended the game in Surprise(!).

The Brewers are back in action today when they travel to Goodyear to take on the Indians. Tom Haudricourt has the lineup, which features Ryan Braun and Rickie Weeks but also Edwin Maysonet and Logan Schafer. Chris Narveson is today's starting pitcher.

The team made one minor transaction yesterday, returning Mike Rivera to minor league camp. Rivera had appeared in just five games this spring and is likely to serve as Martin Maldonado's backup and play some first base for Nashville.

Zack Greinke continued his impressive spring over the weekend, striking out nine in his latest start. He's currently leading all major league pitchers in Carson Cistulli's SCOUT stat and he's Joe Tarring of Umpbump's pick to win the National League Cy Young.

Aramis Ramirez also had a good weekend, including hitting his first home run of the spring. Jack Moore of Disciples of Uecker says Ramirez was a solid pick for third base.

Mat Gamel went 0-for-3 yesterday in the game in Surprise(!), but walked and scored a run. The Baseball Index listed Gamel as the Brewers' key player for 2012.

You may have realized this, but Nick Prill of The Brewers Bar has a reminder: Despite losing Prince Fielder, this Brewer team has improved enough in other places to potentially still be very good in 2012.

Elsewhere in things you likely knew: Brandon Kintzler, who is working through elbow issues and hasn't pitched in a game yet this spring, and Juan Perez, who hasn't pitched since being hospitalized with a collapsed lung, won't make the Opening Day roster.

Chris Jaffe of The Hardball Times shared this interesting managerial note: If the Brewers finish better than 87-75 this season Ron Roenicke will be 43 games over .500 for his career, a game better than franchise record-holder Harvey Kuenn.

Looking back, the Fielding Bible ranked Ryan Braun ninth in all of baseball with 148 "total runs" in 2011. It was the second-best NL total, behind Matt Kemp. It was also the second greatest statistical season in franchise history according to Brewers Rumors.

Over the weekend The Brewer Nation continued their "Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers" series with profiles of Brooks Conrad, Zack Greinke and Martin Maldonado. Reviewing the Brew also has a profile of Manny Parra.

In the minors:

  • First baseman Nick Ramirez and outfielder Max Walla, both of whom were likely headed to Wisconsin to start the season, will open 2012 on the DL instead. Ramirez has a broken hamate bone in his hand and Walla has a broken index finger.
  • Chris Mehring of Rattler Radio is coming home from Arizona today, but before leaving he shared minor league camp notes from Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
  • Without Twitter, we never may have known the full story of the tragic end of Cameron Garfield's hat.
  • Speaking of Twitter, 2011 Helena Brewer Mark Williams is on it. (h/t @Mass_Haas)

The Brewers' recent run of success continues to pay dividends off the field: Don Walker of the JS (behind the paywall) notes that Forbes now estimates the franchise's value at $448 million, which is more than twice what Mark Attanasio paid for it.

Today in predictions, projections, previews and power rankings:

  • Rebecca of You Can't Predict Baseball is picking the Brewers to win the Central.
  • The Outside Corner says the Brewers are "going to contend for the NL Central crown this season, and if they can get good performances from their stars, they could easily win it."
  • Ken Rosenthal says "This is going to be a good team, maybe a very good team, buit it's hard to imagine them being what they were with Prince and with Braun having no issues around him last year."
  • As of this writing 6% of voters at Joe Posnanski's site are picking the Brewers to win the pennant.

If you didn't stop by this weekend, you might have missed my belated note on Brew Crew Ball's seventh anniversary. Again, I'd like to thank all of you for making this a great place for me and you to discuss this team.

Around baseball:

Astros: Pitcher Sergio Escalona needs Tommy John surgery and will miss the 2012 season.
Braves: Third baseman Chipper Jones may not be ready for Opening Day following surgery to repair a torn meniscus.
Cardinals: Released catcher Koyie Hill and infielder Alex Cora.
Cubs: Pitcher Andy Sonnanstine has rejected an outright assignment to the minors and is now a free agent.
Phillies: Second baseman Michael Martinez will open the season on the DL with a broken foot.
Reds: Closer Ryan Madson needs Tommy John surgery and will miss the 2012 season.
Tigers: Claimed pitcher Kelvin De La Cruz off waivers from the Indians.
White Sox: Acquired outfielder Greg Golson from the Royals for cash.
Yankees: Pitcher Joba Chamberlain is out for 2012 after dislocating his ankle.

In former Brewers:

There are a lot of stories linked in today's Mug, but this might be the most interesting one: The Padres have donated 10,000 jerseys to local little leaguers, which has local sporting goods retailers up in arms over the loss of business.

The Baseball Nation Arizona spring training tour continued over the weekend with a look at Salt River Fields, home of the Diamondbacks and Rockies. I haven't seen this park yet, but everyone who has seems impressed by it.

This morning's edition of Today In Brewer History notes the 20th anniversary of the trade that sent Gary Sheffield to San Diego for Ricky Bones, Matt Mieske and Jose Valentin. Today is also 1990's Brewer Kevin Seitzer and 2011 Brewer Josh Wilson's birthdays, and Plunk Everyone notes that they're first and fourth all time in HBP by batters born on March 26, respectively.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got a ruck of things to do today.

Drink up.

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