Thursday's Frosty Mug

Tyler Thornburg hasn't pitched in relief in two years, but that's his new role with the Brewers.

Some things to read while writing your Joke Pal.

Before I get started today I wanted to take a moment to thank Nicole for filling in yesterday while I took the day off. If you missed yesterday's post, go back and catch up.

We're into the typically-boring extra off day following the All Star Game, but the Brewers spiced things up a bit by making an unexpected roster move yesterday. When the team resumes play tomorrow night they'll do it with Tyler Thornburg on the roster and pitching out of the bullpen (FanShot). He hasn't worked in relief at any level since rookie ball in 2010, but many believe it will be his long-term role.

The Brewers made room for Thornburg on the roster by outrighting Tim Dillard to Nashville. He has the option to refuse the assignment if he thinks he'd be better off elsewhere. Dillard has a 4.38 ERA over 37 relief innings this season with 3.4 walks and 7.1 strikeouts per nine innings, and his numbers have been driven up a bit by the fact that lefties are hitting .340/.397/.547 against him.

When you combine this with the Jeff Bianchi move we discussed yesterday, I feel like you can make a strong case that the Brewers are "going for it" over the next week to ten days. The best internal candidates to shore up this team's weaknesses are now present and ready, so all we can do is wait and see if they're enough. Hopefully Ron Roenicke will give these guys a shot and not just leave them on the bench.

Bianchi, by the way, will wear #14. His last name is also pronounced "Be Yankee," not "Be Yonkey" as nearly everyone said this spring.

Even with a couple of reinforcements headed to Milwaukee, Miller Park Drunk acknowledges that the 2012 Brewers are still up in the air. Jack Moore of Disciples of Uecker (as part of ESPN's Sweetspot's second-half previews) says a strong start could be the key to a second half push.

Of course, if the Brewers don't get off to a fast start tomorrow then the trade speculation will only get hotter. Here are today's Zack Greinke notes:

It's the last day before baseball's second half, so it's time for some first half recaps: Adam McCalvy has one for The Official Site, while J.P. Breen of Disciples of Uecker hands out some awards. 95% of BCB Tracking Poll voters called the first half a disappointment.

In the minors:

  • The affiliates went 2-2 last night with Helena beating Idaho Falls 8-7 on 2012 second round pick Tyrone Taylor's ninth inning RBI single. You can read about that and more in today's Minor League Notes.
  • Wisconsin picked up a big come-from-behind win last night and they're back in action early today, playing Lake County at 10 am.
  • Wisconsin appears to be playing a man down this week as reliever Tommy Toledo has been promoted to Brevard County. In a related note, Manatees reliever Brian Garman has been promoted to Huntsville.
  • Andrew Pentis of MiLB.com talked to Huntsville pitcher Jimmy Nelson about his arsenal.
  • NashvilleCityPaper.com has a story on Sounds reliever and 2012 AAA All Star Jim Henderson, who has spent ten years trying to reach the majors for the first time.
  • Baseball America has a post on Tyler Thornburg and Hiram Burgos, but it's subscriber-only.

If you'd like more Brewer coverage today but you're sick of reading, I'll be appearing on The Home Stretch with Justin Hull on 95.3 FM/AM 1570 The Score in Appleton at 2 pm today. I'll be live in studio taking your questions, so call or tweet in and get your voice heard.

Around baseball:

Athletics: Released pitcher Brian Fuentes.
Cubs: Released pitcher Mike MacDougal.

Here's today's weird statistical quirk: The Reds are 47-38 and in second in the Central despite having just two left-handed regulars (Joey Votto and Jay Bruce) on their roster. They're on pace to become the first team since 1902 to go through a full season without more than two lefties getting 50 plate appearances. The Brewers have already had five players cross that threshold this year.

Today in former Brewers:

If you watched Tuesday's All Star Game then you might have noticed that country star Luke Bryan sang a remarkably slow version of the national anthem while looking down on a couple of occasions to lyrics he'd written on his hand. He's since apologized for the performance.

This morning's edition of Today In Brewer History marks the 25th anniversary of Cecil Cooper's final game. Chris Jaffe of The Hardball Times notes that it's also the anniversary of all of these events:

  • Eddie Mathews' first career grand slam in 1953.
  • The only walkoff grand slam of Hank Aaron's career in 1962.
  • Aaron's 2000th career hit in 1964.
  • The Francisco Rodriguez trade in 2011.

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

Drink up.

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