Friday's Frosty Mug

Cesar Izturis: 2012 Brewer.

Some things to read while getting some coffee.

We're seven days away from Opening Day, and as of this morning The Weather Channel says it should be 58 and sunny when the Brewers and Cardinals open the 2012 season a week from today. That's up a degree and sunnier than yesterday's forecast.

Back in Arizona yesterday was one of the biggest transaction days of the spring in Brewer camp. I've got a more thorough look at the day's moves here, but here's the quick version:

@Mass_Haas notes that Green still has two options remaining, while Braddock and Maldonado both have one. Adam McCalvy has a look at what these moves mean for Brooks Conrad, Manny Parra, Tim Dillard and Mike McClendon.

Back on the field, the Brewers lost 9-3 to the Reds to fall to 11-14-2 in Cactus League play. I've got the recap here, if you missed it.

Nyjer Morgan left yesterday's game early after taking an Aroldis Chapman pitch off his back. Morgan is hitting .231/.298/.404 this spring and J.P. Breen of Disciples of Uecker says he's concerned about his performance at the plate this season.

Other notes from the field:

The Brewers head out on the road today to take on the Dodgers, and Tom Haudricourt (behind the JS paywall) notes that Francisco Rodriguez will get the start against former Brewer Chris Capuano at 3:05. K-Rod is starting in place of Shaun Marcum, who is pitching in a minor league game so his potential DL stint could be backdated if he's not ready for Opening Day. Rodriguez is still only expected to pitch an inning or two. The game will be live on FS Wisconsin and Gameday Audio at Brewers.com.

As I was writing yesterday's recap I realized the Brewers only have one more home game in Maryvale, and it could be their last home game ever at the facility. True Blue LA visited the park this spring and took several pictures.

Corey Hart's Opening Day status changes each day, but we should have a final answer soon: Minor league spring training games wrap up on Sunday, so the Brewers will have to either start playing Hart in Cactus League games or organize simulated games for him after that. If he plays in major league spring training games he'd no longer be eligible for a backdated DL stint. This week's BCB Tracking Poll shows that 95% of voters would rather have Hart open the season on the DL than play at less than 100%.

With Zach Braddock optioned out, Tim Dillard now seems likely to make the Opening Day roster for the first time. Adam McCalvy has a profile of the Brewers' resident sidearmer/impressionist.

It didn't occur to me until this morning, but we really haven't seen the Brewers use many defensive shifts this spring. The Fielding Bible estimates the Brewers saved 56 runs defensively by moving the infield around last season.

One of the first new quirks in baseball's new collective bargaining agreement popped up this week: Players with more than six years of MLB service time now have to be paid a $100,000 "retention bonus" if teams sign them to a minor league deal and don't add them to the major league roster at the end of spring training. The Brewers would have owed Cesar Izturis the bonus if they hadn't added him to the roster, and avoided paying it to Corey Patterson by releasing and re-signing him.

With Prince Fielder, Craig Counsell and Mark Kotsay all gone this season, a fair amount of the pressure to provide veteran leadership in the clubhouse may fall on Rickie Weeks. Sports Radio Interviews has a transcript of his appearance on WSSP yesterday where he said he doesn't sense much change among his teammates.

It remains to be seen if Ryan Braun will also take on a leadership role. He was the subject of yesterday's installment of The Brewer Nation's "Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers."

The Brewers also made some transactions in minor league camp yesterday, releasing these five players (FanShot):

  • Infielder and 2011 Huntsville Star Sergio Miranda.
  • Pitcher, 2007 7th round pick and 2011 Brevard County Manatee Efrain Nieves.
  • Pitcher, 2009 9th round pick and 2011 Brevard County Manatee Jon Pokorny.
  • Infielder, 2009 14th round pick and 2011 Brevard County Manatee Mike Brownstein.
  • Pitcher, 2009 15th round pick and 2011 Wisconsin Timber Rattler Del Howell.

Elsewhere in the minors:

  • Seedlings to Stars has a look at the Pitch F/x data from Jed Bradley's appearances in the Arizona Fall League.
  • Shortstop Josh Prince, a 2009 third round pick who has spent the last two years with Brevard County, has apparently moved to the outfield.
  • 2010 second round pick and 2011 Wisconsin Timber Rattlers pitcher Jimmy Nelson is the guest on this week's Bernie's Crew Podcast.
  • ASU student Kristin Couturier interviewed 2011 draft pick Jalen Harris (linked via Twitter), who is in minor league camp this spring and playing professional ball despite having been born deaf.
  • Time Warner Cable has added six more Wisconsin games to their broadcast schedule for Sports 32, bringing their season total up to 16. The first broadcast will be Opening Day on Thursday.
  • 2011 draft pick Dustin Houle is on Twitter.

Today's spring training game won't be broadcast in WTMJ, but all 162 regular season games will and that arrangement should go on for quite some time: The team and its flagship station have reached agreement on a contract extension. The terms and length of the deal were not disclosed.

Today in predictions, projections and whatnot:

If you're reading this post before 3 pm, there's still time to make your predictions for today's game in Prognostikeggers.

Around baseball:

Blue Jays: Pitcher Dustin McGowan is going to open the season on the DL with a foot injury.
Indians: Acquired pitcher Jairo Asencio from the Braves for cash and designated pitcher Rick VandenHurk for assignment.
Marlins: Released outfielder Aaron Rowand.
Nationals: Released outfielder Jason Michaels and signed pitcher Zach Duke to a minor league deal.
Orioles: Designated pitcher Dana Eveland for assignment.
Pirates: Pitcher Charlie Morton will open the season on the DL as he continues to rehab from hip surgery.
Rangers: Released outfielder Brad Hawpe.

Today in former Brewers:

The 2012 opening series in Japan is behind us, but one of the more fascinating notes I've read today is still about it: Hardball Talk notes that the US broadcast (nationwide via tape delay on MLB Network Wednesday, and live yesterday) was handled by ROOT Sports, who added live commentary over a Japanese feed of the game instead of sending a broadcast crew over.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I think I need to move to Minnesota.

Drink up.

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