Some things to read while chasing a raccoon.
Today is day four of spring training and as pitchers and catchers hit the field yesterday there was only one player limited by injury: Tom Gorzelanny continues to rehab from offseason shoulder surgery but could still be ready for Opening Day. Brad Johnson of FanGraphs listed Gorzelanny (and former Brewer Doug Davis) among the 13 candidates to be the pitcher who did the most with the least.
Rickie Weeks isn't in camp yet but he's expected to be at full speed when he reports after having hamstring surgery last season. Weeks likely has a tough road ahead of him as he works to regain the confidence of the coaches and fans.
Yovani Gallardo also has work to do this spring to prove that his career-worst 2013 season was an outlier. His contract could expire if the Brewers choose not to exercise his option following the season, but he told Adam McCalvy that continuing to improve, not getting a new deal, is his priority.
One of the luxuries of being an established player in big league camp is that you can work on improving an area of your game instead of focusing on results to win a job. Jim Henderson is all but assured a spot this spring, and he told @AdamMcCalvy he plans to work on improving his arsenal against left handed hitters. Lefties have hit .256/.353/.417 off Henderson in 186 career plate appearances.
Matt Garza is another veteran assured a spot this spring, but he was almost assured a spot in Angels camp. Yesterday he added some details to the story about having turned down an offer from Anaheim earlier this winter, telling Adam McCalvy the offer came while he was on vacation and was off the table before he returned.
Other notes from camp:
- Tom Haudricourt reports (via Twitter in two parts) that Lyle Overbay, Sean Halton, Hunter Morris, Taylor Green, Mitch Haniger, Logan Schafer, Caleb Gindl, Khris Davis and Jeff Bianchi are among the position players who reported to camp early. They're not required to be there until Friday.
- Haudricourt talked to Overbay about being back in Brewers camp for the first time in almost a decade.
- He also talked to Tyler Thornburg, who is saying all the right things about the Matt Garza signing.
- Todd Rosiak has pictures of Matt Garza and Wei-Chung Wang throwing bullpen sessions.
- The Brewers tumblr account has a Vine video of pitchers and catchers doing their thing while someone goes crazy with an air horn.
- ASU student Lauren Guzman of the JS has a photo essay of shots around Maryvale Baseball Park.
Meanwhile, one of the big stories out of camp is likely to be Jean Segura's contract situation. Yesterday we mentioned a report that the team is expected to offer him a long term deal this spring, but yesterday Doug Melvin told @Haudricourt that no talks had started. Ryan Topp of Disciples of Uecker has a look at what a potential Segura extension could look like, and at Baseball Analytics Alec Dopp has a look at the ground balls that got him into trouble down the stretch last season.
If the Brewers do work out a deal with Segura, it'll likely impact these numbers. Yesterday Derek Harvey made his BCB front page debut with a recap of his winter's work on payroll projections for the short and long term. We're excited to have Derek on board.
Odds are we're going to spend much of the next six weeks speculating about the Opening Day lineup, and David Schoenfield of ESPN got us started with a setup that has Jean Segura and Carlos Gomez batting in front of Ryan Braun. He also suggests that if this doesn't work the Brewers could consider moving Gomez up and batting Jonathan Lucroy second.
In the minors:
- As of this writing Johnny Hellweg leads by just two votes in the balloting to determine the #5 prospect in our community rankings. You have until noon today to cast your vote, and the poll for the #6 spot will open around 1.
- Steve Clark of the Oshkosh Northwestern has a story on Wisconsin native and 2013 draft pick Josh Uhen, who had a hard time finding ways to train outside this winter before heading to Arizona.
If you're getting ready to climb on the Brewers bandwagon at this point, there's a bit more room this morning. Gery Woelfel of the Racine Journal Times is applauding one fan for refusing to go to games since the Brewers refuse to release Ryan Braun. Jaymes Langrehr nails it in our Tweet of the Day:
People who won't go to games because of Braun also wouldn't go to games if the Brewers were in last place while paying him to play elsewhere— Jaymes Langrehr (@JaymesL) February 18, 2014
If you'd like more Brewers coverage today but you're sick of reading, my Monday appearance on The Sports Den with Downtown Ollie Burrows on Sports Fan 100.5 in Wausau has been archived and can be heard here. My spot starts at the 1:31:30 mark.
Athletics: Claimed pitcher Joe Savery off waivers from the Phillies.
Orioles: Signed pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez to a four year, $50 million contract and designated outfielder Jimmy Paredes for assignment.
Royals: Claimed outfielder Jimmy Paredes off waivers from the Orioles and designated pitcher Maikel Cleto for assignment.
@JaymesL wondered aloud if Brewer fans would rather have Matt Garza or Jimenez on the same deal.
Today in former Brewers:
- Dana Eveland signed a minor league deal with the Mets yesterday but will not be invited to MLB spring training. Eveland is 30 and last appeared in the big leagues with the Orioles in 2012.
- Plunk Everyone used the open of spring training as a reason to post a remarkably comprehensive look at Brewers and HBPs.
If you were on Twitter yesterday you might have seen this making the rounds: Jesse Spector of The Sporting News made a Mad Libs spring training story to highlight the fact that we see largely the same reporting from training camps every year. Longtime readers of the site may recall that we did the same thing four years to the day earlier.
Finally, with help from the B-Ref Play Index, we'd like to wish a happy birthday today to:
- 2004-06 Brewer Chad Moeller, who turns 39. We covered his birthday in Today In Brewer History two years ago.
- 1989 Brewer LaVel Freeman, who turns 51.
- 1972 Brewer Syd O'Brien, who turns 70.
Today is also the 13th anniversary of longtime Milwaukee Brave Eddie Mathews' death in 2001. We covered that event in Today In Brewer History last year.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to move the panda again.