Wednesday's Frosty Mug: Braun is back

Norm Hall

We're talking about Ryan Braun's Cactus League return and more in today's daily roundup of all things Brewers.

Some things to read while freeing yourself.

Day 37 of spring training 2013 starts with notes on a win, as the Brewers beat the Angels 6-1 yesterday in Maryvale. Noah has the recap, if you missed it. The Brewers are now 9-12 on the spring but 1-0 since Ryan Braun's return to the lineup: He went 0-for-3 yesterday in his first appearance as a Brewer since February.

Unfortunately, with Braun's return comes a return of the controversy surrounding him. Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that Braun is "MLB's Public Enemy No. 1" as they continue their investigation into the BioGenesis scandal, while Craig Calcaterra chastises the league for what amounts to carrying a grudge that's getting in the way of efforts to solve the actual issue of PEDs in baseball.

Meanwhile, this morning three more lockers are cleaned out in the major league clubhouse. The Brewers returned pitchers Travis Webb and Rob Wooten and catcher Robinzon Diaz to minor league camp yesterday. There are now 37 players remaining in major league camp, which still includes five catchers.

Other notes from camp:

Cactus League play continues on Wednesday as the Brewers hit the road to take on the Giants in Scottsdale. Chris Narveson will take on Ryan Vogelsong at 3.

Aramis Ramirez had two hits yesterday and his home run was his first of the spring. The Book of Gorman has a look at the Brewer third basemen entering the 2013 season.

Meanwhile, here's a pair of notes on Brewer catchers: Baseball In-Depth listed Jonathan Lucroy as one of five players who could be All Stars for the first time in 2013, and The Brewer Nation profiled Martin Maldonado as part of the latest installment in their "Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers" series.

Four Brewer catchers combined for six of the Brewers' 76 sacrifice hits a year ago. Nicholas Zettel of Disciples of Uecker has a preview of the situational baseball we can expect the Brewers to play in 2013.

In the minors:

  • Hiram Burgos pitched 4.2 innings and allowed just one run last night but it was not enough as Puerto Rico lost 3-0 to the Dominican Republic in the final game of the World Baseball Classic. Burgos is expected to report to minor league camp when he returns after posting a 1.93 ERA in the Classic.
  • The Book of Gorman has a profile of Nashville starter Johnny Hellweg.
  • Baseball America has a look at park factors across the minors and notes that Brevard County is the Florida State League's worst run-scoring environment, while Huntsville is the best place in the Southern League to hit a home run.

Back in Milwaukee, we're just 13 days away from Opening Day at Miller Park and the Brewers led the media on a tour of some of the facility's new features yesterday. Adam McCalvy has the story and The Business Journal has a slideshow.

Today in previews, predictions and power rankings:

Around baseball:

Cardinals: Released infielder Ronny Cedeno.
Cubs: Third baseman Ian Stewart will open the season on the DL with a quad injury.
Dodgers
: Released 1B/3B Dallas McPherson.
Rockies: Signed pitcher Giancarlo Alvarado to a minor league deal.
Twins: Pitcher Scott Diamond is expected to open the season on the DL with an elbow injury.

Today in former Brewers: Hank Aaron is now on Twitter.

Opening Day is now just 13 days away and if you're planning on watching the first pitch, be ready for a fastball: Jeff Sullivan of FanGraphs did some research and discovered that nearly every Opening Day first pitch of the last five seasons has not been an off-speed pitch.

Today in baseball economics: Adam Rubin of ESPN is reporting that MLB is trying to abolish (or at least dramatically overhaul) its current pension plans for non-uniformed employees. The Brewers are one of four teams that currently opt out of the MLB plan but are required to offer a comparable or better plan. For what it's worth, MLB Vice President Rob Manfred denies there's been discussion of eliminating the pensions.

For generations of Brewer fans Bob Uecker has been "Mr. Baseball," the voice of summer and much more. At Baseball Nation Rob Neyer has a look at the "Mr. Baseball" moniker and the variety of people who have held it over the years.

Today In Brewer History didn't get written before I went to bed last night (oops), so it will return tomorrow. In the meantime, today is 1988 Brewer Mike Young's 53rd birthday and Plunk Everyone notes that his 20 career HBP are tied for the third most ever for a player born in March 20.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need new plates.

Drink up.

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