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We're talking about Team Mexico, Team USA and....oh yeah, the Brewers in today's daily news roundup.
Some things to read while not showing up.
Day 23 of spring training will feature Brewer pitchers looking for better control. They walked ten opposing batters and threw a pair of wild pitches in yesterday's 7-4 loss to Team Canada and we've got the recap, if you missed it. Adam McCalvy has a story on Jim Henderson and John Axford pitching scoreless innings for their WBC team to close out a win against their teammates.
The offensive highlight of yesterday's game was a long solo home run for Khris Davis, which Adam McCalvy reports reached the flagpoles in left center in Maryvale, nearly leaving the facility. Davis is now 4-for-17 at the plate this spring, but two of his four hits have gone for extra bases.
Unfortunately Davis' heroics were overshadowed by a tough day for new Brewer reliever Michael Gonzalez, who gave up four runs in the eighth as Canada rallied to win. Gonzalez has now allowed six runs in two outings this spring, but Ron Roenicke is withholding judgment on the veteran reliever.
Following yesterday's loss everyone's attention shifted to Scottsdale, where Yovani Gallardo started and pitched a scoreless inning for Team Mexico in their 1-0 win over the Diamondbacks. He struck out the side and worked around two walks in what is likely to be his final tuneup before starting against Team USA on Friday. He still needs to be cleared by team doctors today, though, and likely isn't stretched out enough to throw the full 65 pitches he's allowed.
Meanwhile, in the game that somehow evaded all of our notice, Ryan Braun was the DH and went 3-for-4 with two runs scored in Team USA's 4-4 tie with the White Sox. Jonathan Lucroy did not appear in the contest.
Speaking of Braun, yesterday a rumor started to circulate that he and three members of the Yankees faced pending suspensions for positive PED tests. I'm not even going to bother linking to the initial rumor, because it's already gotten more run than any "anonymous source" nonsense deserves. I will, however, share Jon Heyman's response:
that ped rumor thats been floating out there today is compete BS, and thats capital BS. lets move on.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) March 5, 2013
Jon Morosi says baseball fans should embrace Braun as leader of the US team, despite his recent turbulence.
Elsewhere in Pool D, the Italian team will have to move on without Jeff Bianchi, who was back in Brewer camp yesterday and has removed himself from the Classic with a groin injury. With Bianchi off the board the Brewers now have 12 WBC participants, and have been passed by the Twins for first place in that regard.
Other notes from camp:
- Bobby Crosby made his spring debut yesterday at third base and went 0-for-1 with a walk.
- Kelvim Escobar saw a doctor yesterday and was diagnosed with a nerve impingement in his hand. It sounds like he's day-to-day.
- ASU student Jason Galvin of the JS has a story on Brewer bullpen coach Lee Tunnell.
- ASU student Alexia Porto of the JS has a handful of photos from Team Canada's visit to Maryvale.
- ASU student Carrie Adams of the JS talked to Tom Gorzelanny, Tyler Thornburg, Travis Webb and Taylor Jungmann about how they spent Monday's off day. Travis Webb's excitement about the waterpark in his parents' hotel was my favorite part.
The Brewers resume Cactus League play today when they travel to Peoria to take on the Mariners at 2 pm in a game that can be heard on WTMJ. Mike Fiers will take the mound against Blake Beavan.
Meanwhile, we have an update this morning on the Brewers' reported interest in Dodgers surplus starter Aaron Harang. Gene Matzek of WTMJ has quotes from the Brewers basically saying an organizational scout went to see the game because he was in the area and downplaying their interest. Based on Doug Melvin's track record in moments like this, I'll allow you to choose to either take it at face value or pencil Harang into the Opening Day rotation. (h/t @Mass_Haas)
If the Brewers don't acquire another starting pitcher, the pressure will be on guys like Marco Estrada and Mike Fiers to anchor the middle of the rotation. Grant Brisbee of Baseball Nation listed the two of them as the Brewers' "bellwether players" as part of his look at the NL Central.
Even if the Brewers stick with their current pitching staff, it's possible they'll benefit in 2013 from a little regression to the mean: Justin Schultz of Reviewing the Brew notes that opposing hitters batted .313 on balls in play against Brewer pitchers a year ago, the second highest average in baseball.
It's hard to believe that many hits could fall in with Carlos Gomez patrolling center field. The Brewer Nation profiled him in the latest installment in their "Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers" series.
The Brewers went 11-4 against the Pirates a year ago and have gone 69-24 against our friends from Pittsburgh since the start of the 2007 season. The first step towards dominating them again in 2013 is reading Nicholas Zettel of Disciples of Uecker's Pirates preview.
In the minors: Mass Haas of Brewerfan.net scoured the 2013 media guide and has injury updates on several farmhands who missed time with unknown ailments last season.
If you'd like more Brewer coverage today but you're sick of reading, Tuesday's Home Stretch Hangout has been archived and features Justin Hull of 95.3 FM WSCO in Appleton and I discussing the Brewers in the World Baseball Classic. We'll be back again later today to touch on a topic to be determined.
Yankees: Signed pitcher Chris Bootcheck to a minor league deal.
Today in former Brewers:
- Jeff Passan of Yahoo wants Prince Fielder to fill in for the injured Mark Teixeira on the US WBC team, but he says he hasn't been contacted and probably wouldn't be interested.
- Shaun Marcum pitched two scoreless innings in a B game for the Mets yesterday and appears to be back on schedule for Opening Day.
- Todd Zolecki of MLB.com says Yuniesky Betancourt could make the Phillies as a bench player.
My favorite spring training story of the day comes from Craig Calcaterra, who talked to a representative for a bat company stationed outside the clubhouse at the A's facility in Phoenix.
Calcaterra is certainly making the most of his time in Phoenix, as he also wrote a pretty fascinating piece about his visit to the hotel serving as the nerve center for the 2013 WBC.
Today's most notable sabermetric note comes via Glenn DuPaul of The Hardball Times, who used PITCHf/x data to search for evidence of homefield advantage in ball/strike calls.
Finally, this is relevant to nothing but I'm including it anyway: Amazin' Avenue has a look at recently deceased Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez's role in one of the strangest nights in Mets history. (h/t @MrsBrewCrewBall)
Now, if you'll excuse me, I only have a minute.