Some things to read while hopping away.
Today is the 33rd day of spring training and the Brewers ended another spring slide emphatically yesterday, getting six shutout innings from Marco Estrada and a pair of home runs in a 9-3 win over the Rangers. We've got the recap, if you missed it.
The most interesting development of the last couple of days might have been Carlos Gomez getting back-to-back starts in the leadoff role. He gave the Brewers a commanding lead with a three-run homer in the fifth inning yesterday, one of his two hits in the game. Adam McCalvy talked to Ron Roenicke about batting Gomez in the top spot, and Alex Poterack of Disciples of Uecker previewed his 2014 performance.
Before yesterday's game the Brewers made another roster move, announcing they've outrighted Sean Halton off the 40-man roster. Halton had already been optioned out of major league camp last week, but now he's also cleared waivers. He appeared in 14 games for the Brewers this spring and hit .261/.433/.304 with seven walks.
@Mass_Haas credits the Brewers with "successful roster management," noting that the Brewers have snuck Halton, Donovan Hand, Jose De La Torre, Josh Prince, Santo Manzanillo and Taylor Green through waivers over the last two years and kept them all in the organization. It's worth noting, though, that one man's "successful roster management" is another man's "having pieces no one else sees as valuable."
Other notes from the field:
- Mark Reynolds hit a fly ball to center yesterday that bounced just above the yellow line for a grand slam, but it had to clear a replay review first.
- All told Reynolds had five RBI in the game and now leads the team with ten this spring. (h/t @Haudricourt)
- Rickie Weeks went 0-for-1 yesterday but drew a pair of walks and scored twice. He has a .515 OBP this spring. (h/t @MikeVassallo13)
- Jeff Bianchi entered yesterday's game as a pinch runner stole a base and later picked up a hit in his only plate appearance. @MikeVassallo13 notes that he's hitting .355 and leads the team with five stolen bases this season. He's never stolen more than six bases in any professional season.
- David Schoenfield of ESPN was in attendance for yesterday's game and shared thoughts on Marco Estrada and more.
- Yesterday the Brewers announced that they'll play UW-Milwaukee in an exhibition game next spring. It'll be their first game against a college team since 1983.
The Brewers head out on the road today to take on the Mariners at 3:05 Central time. Wily Peralta is scheduled to pitch against Blake Beavan in Peoria, but old friend Corey Hart isn't expected to be in the lineup. (h/t @AdamMcCalvy) Hart played right field and went 1-for-3 with a pair of strikeouts in Seattle's 5-5 tie with the Padres last night.
Looking further ahead, Yovani Gallardo is likely to pitch again on Friday in his second-to-last Cactus League start before getting the ball on Opening Day. Gallardo was a somewhat unlikely choice to get the ball in the season-opener, and Paul Noonan of Pocket Doppler asks if he's the Brewers' worst starting pitcher. Meanwhile, Perfect Game has a story on Gallardo getting this assignment for the fifth consecutive season.
Ryan Braun and Aramis Ramirez both played in yesterday's game but were relative non-factors offensively, going a combined 1-for-5 with a walk. Tracy Ringolsby of MLB.com says they bring order to the Brewers' lineup, and notes that they only played together 27 times last season.
Penciling Braun and Ramirez's names into the lineup has to be one of the easier parts of Ron Roenicke's job. Ben Tannenbaum of The Brewers Bar evaluated Roenicke yesterday and says "it is difficult to say that Roenicke has a tangible or quantifiable impact on Milwaukee's on-field performance."
Bullpen management is a much tougher part of Roenicke's job. Tom Haudricourt has a story on his efforts to get Jim Henderson ready for Opening Day, and potential new relief enigma Will Smith is the latest pitcher profiled in The Brewer Nation's "Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers" series.
We're almost done with our series looking at projections for the 2014 Brewers, and yesterday Jordan gathered expectations for the organization's second and third basemen and shortstops. Check back tomorrow for another installment.
In the minors:
- Yesterday the Brewers announced that Miller Park will host a game between the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers and Beloit Snappers on May 24. Chris Mehring of the Timber Rattlers ranked the six previous Wisconsin games on the big league field.
- Brad Krause of Miller Park Prospects talked to pitcher and Baseball America #27 prospect Anthony Banda as part of his tour of camp on Tuesday, and also posted a gallery of his photos from the day.
- Grading on the Curve has a look at six Brewers minor leaguers they've pegged as potential future closers, led by Johnny Hellweg.
- Chris Mehring of Rattler Radio has a look at all the home runs 2011 fourth round pick Nick Ramirez hit as a member of the Timber Rattlers in 2012. Ramirez hit 19 more long balls with Brevard County in 2013.
Back in Milwaukee, if you've been driving by Miller Park at night recently you might have noticed a glow coming out from under the roof. John Steinmiller and Caitlin Moyer have the scoop on the grounds crew using grow lights to help get the grass in shape for Opening Day.
Today in predictions, projections and whatnot:
- FanGraphs' projected 2014 standings have the Brewers at 79-83 and in fourth place in the NL Central.
- World Series Dreaming, a Cubs blog, predicts the Brewers will win 78 games and says they're "delusional" for thinking they can compete this year.
Elsewhere in predictions, there's still time to submit your bracket in the Brew Crew Ball bracket challenge for the NCAA men's basketball tournament. I'd assume you have until the first game tomorrow morning to make your selections.
Phillies: Returned Rule 5 pick Kevin Munson to the Diamondbacks.
Today in former Brewers:
- Craig Goldstein of SBNation.com says Ned Yost is one of three managers opening 2014 on the hot seat.
- Yesterday Gerry Fraley of DallasNews.com talked to Ryan Braun about hitting in front of Prince Fielder.
Today in baseball economics: The Dodgers have already wrapped up their spring schedule and attendance was up over 20% this season. True Blue LA attributes it to better crowds on weekends.
If you're just getting started on Twitter or you're looking to expand your follows a bit for the 2014 baseball season, this is certainly one place to start: Fake Teams has compiled a list of active beat writers for all 30 teams. Then go follow @BrewCrewBall too.
Today is also the 35th anniversary of the Phillies releasing longtime Brewers outfielder Dave May, effectively ending his MLB career. We covered that event in Today In Brewer History two years ago.
Now, if you'll excuse me, the car is still running.