Some things to read while finding your seat.
We're 32 days away from Opening Day and the Brewers remain undefeated this spring...but also winless. The Crew and the Giants played to a 1-1 tie in front of 6619 fans in the Cactus League opener in Maryvale yesterday, with Jonathan Lucroy picking up two of the team's four hits and scoring the lone run and John Axford allowing the Giants to even the score with a single run on three hits in the fifth. Noah has much more in our recap.
The Brewers are back on the field at 8:30 Central time tonight when they take on the Giants in Scottsdale (Chris Narveson vs Matt Cain), and the game will be televised live on MLB Network. Hopefully the Giants will have cleared up their bee problem by then.
Unfortunately yesterday's biggest news wasn't who played, but who didn't play. Corey Hart was a late scratch from the lineup yesterday and will likely open the season on the DL following arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee. Tom Haudricourt says Hart injured himself in camp, not this offseason, but the fact that he bulked up to 252 lbs this winter then spent three weeks doing "cardio like crazy" to take some mass back off almost certainly didn't help. Here's some more on Hart:
- Before Hart's injury, J.P. Breen of Disciples of Uecker had a look at him as an option at first base.
- Now, Jack Moore says the Brewers' recently acquired depth will get a chance to prove their worth.
- Ron Roenicke appears to agree, and says Norichika Aoki will see more time in right field.
Rickie Weeks was also a late scratch yesterday with stiffness in his throwing shoulder. The injury is not believed to be serious.
Randy Wolf and Zack Greinke combined to pitch four scoreless innings in their Cactus League debuts yesterday, but Ron Roenicke appears to have lined up the rotation for Yovani Gallardo to pitch on Opening Day and Greinke says he's ok with it. Greinke also continues to work on a cutter and says he threw four of them yesterday.
Wolf pitched two scoreless innings yesterday, but the bigger news might be that he pitched to Jonathan Lucroy after working nearly exclusively with George Kottaras in 2011. Ron Roenicke told Todd Rosiak (linked via Twitter) that he'd like to be able to use Wolf and Lucroy together more often in 2012.
Elsewhere in starting pitching, Shaun Marcum says his shoulder feels much better, but he still won't pitch until Saturday and is expected to open the season in the back half of the rotation.
Ryan Braun also made his spring debut yesterday, going 0-for-2 with a pair of strikeouts while drawing a level of heckling from the crowd that we probably should have expected. Craig Calcaterra noted the hypocrisy of Giants fans saying anything about Braun. John Sickels of Minor League Ball, by the way, has a look back at Braun's career to date.
The Brewers made a minor transaction over the weekend, renewing closer John Axford's contract at $525,000 for 2012 (FanShot). The move is likely only a paper transaction, as the two sides continue to work on a long term deal and it seems reasonable to expect they'll have one done before Opening Day. Nick Prill of The Brewers Bar has a look at the pros and cons of locking Axford up for the foreseeable future.
With Axford under contract the Brewers have their entire 40 man roster signed to 2012 deals, and only had to renew one player to do so. For comparison purposes, the Rays renewed 12 players over the weekend.
It's probably been an interesting few months for Logan Schafer: First he looked like a good candidate to make the team if Ryan Braun was suspended, then he became an afterthought when Braun won his appeal and now Corey Hart's injury moves him back on the radar. Fox 6 News has a story about him.
Ron Roenicke Stole My Baseball has part two of their extended look at why the Brewers can contend in 2012. Hopefully losing Corey Hart for a few weeks hasn't dampened their enthusiasm.
Now that the team has moved on to spring training games, Brian Anderson has a look back at the first stage of camp as coordinated by third base coach Ed Sedar.
In the minors:
- Taylor Jungmann still hasn't made his official professional debut, but he pitched two perfect innings and struck out three during his appearance in Saturday's intrasquad game.
- The Brewer Nation continued their "Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers" series over the weekend with a profile of Eric Farris.
- Appleton had its biggest snowstorm of the winter over the weekend, and Chris Mehring of Rattler Radio has snow pictures from Fox Cities Stadium.
John Sickels and Matt Garrioch of Minor League Ball predicted the Brewers will select Georgia high school pitcher Clate Schmidt and Texas high school outfielder Courtney Hawkins with the 27th and 28th overall picks in their 2012 mock draft.
Today in predictions, projections, rankings and such: Team Wisconsin is picking the Brewers to reach the World Series, and Zack Greinke to win the NL Cy Young.
If you'd like more Brewer coverage today but you're sick of reading, @Mass_Haas has a collection of links to Doug Melvin, Ron Roenicke and Yovani Gallardo's weekend appearances on MLB Network Radio.
If you weren't around this weekend, you missed a fair amount:
- There's still time to help predict the performance of several relievers as part of our BCB Community Projections project.
- There's also still time to make your predictions for the rest of this week's games as part of the Prognostikeggers Spring Training Challenge.
- Finaly, Jon Baas of The Milwaukee Brewers Replay stopped by to share the results of his re-simulation of the 2011 season through July.
Blue Jays: Pitcher Jesse Litsch will likely open the season on the DL following emergency surgery to clean out an infection in his shoulder.
Orioles: Released pitcher Dennys Reyes, who had not reported to camp.
Padres: Signed outfielder Cameron Maybin to a five year, $25 million contract extension with a club option for 2017.
Pirates: Signed outfielder Andrew McCutchen to a six year, $51.5 million contract extension with a club option for 2018.
It's freak injury season already and Mets first baseman Ike Davis is leading off: Despite the fact that the Mets train in Florida he's somehow contracted valley fever.
Today in former Brewers:
- Jeremy Jeffress is in trouble again. He was arrested in January and charged with domestic assault. That charge has since been dropped but he was found guilty of disorderly conduct.
- True Blue LA has a profile of Chris Capuano, who signed as a free agent with the Dodgers this winter.
- High Heat Stats has a look at what Google tells us about the reputations of several all-time great major leaguers. It doesn't say much at all about Robin Yount.
One of this winter's most bizarre fascinations has been the "home run feature" at the Marlins' new ballpark. The team is apparently installing some of the moving parts, and UmpBump has video of them in action.
Today in baseball economics: Stadium revenue at Citi Field is reportedly down 30% since the Mets opened the facility in 2009.
Today's best infographic comes via Beyond the Box Score, where Jacob Peterson has a look at inning-eating pitchers and the role they play in team success.
This morning's edition of Today In Brewer History celebrates the 82nd birthday of longtime Milwaukee Braves catcher and Brewer manager Del Crandall, who turns 82. Today is also Jeffrey Hammonds' 41st birthday, and Plunk Everyone notes his 30 career HBP are the fifth most ever for a player born on March 5.
Finally, I'd like to send out condolences this morning to the family of former Seattle Pilots first baseman and Huntsville Stars GM Don Mincher, who passed away yesterday. He was 73.