Monday's Frosty Mug: Pouring one out for Juan

We're talking about the end of the first base competition and more in today's roundup of all things Brewers.

Some things to read while getting upset.

Today is the 38th day of spring training and the clubhouse is starting to clear out in Maryvale. This morning's most notable absence will be a first baseman, as Juan Francisco cleaned out his locker on Saturday and is reportedly on waivers. Francisco hit .345/.500/.731 in 13 games this spring but that wasn't enough to overcome his .221/.300/.433 line from last season. Mark Reynolds and Lyle Overbay have since been informed they're going to make the Opening Day roster.

Overbay responded by having a big day on Sunday, connecting for three hits and a pair of doubles in the Brewers' 9-1 win over the Reds. We've got the recap, if you missed it.

Meanwhile, the day's biggest news may have been Matt Garza's improved performance. He pitched six innings against the Reds and allowed a run on four hits, walking two and striking out six. @AdamMcCalvy reports his fastball was in the 91-95 range and had "firmness," whatever that means.

Other notes from the field:

  • Donovan Hand has been returned to minor league camp, narrowing the choices for the final spots in the bullpen by one candidate. Hand pitched in eight games this spring and posted an 8.38 ERA with 17 hits allowed and eight strikeouts over 8.2 innings.
  • Francisco and Hand weren't this weekend's only moves: The Brewers also exercised the 2015 club option on Ron Roenicke's contract and added an option for 2016. By the end of 2015 Roenicke could be the fourth-longest tenured manager in franchise history.
  • Overbay's three hits on Sunday snapped an 0-for-26 streak (h/t @Haudricourt). Doug Melvin referred to him as a "Mark Kotsay-type player." I'm assuming he meant it as a compliment.
  • Logan Schafer also had a pair of doubles on Sunday and is tied for the team lead with 17 hits this spring.
  • Tyler Thornburg pitched a perfect eighth inning yesterday as part of his bid to make the Opening Day bullpen. (h/t @Haudricourt)
  • Marco Estrada pitched in a minor league game to stay on schedule and worked six innings, allowing a run on three hits with a walk and eight strikeouts. (h/t @BrewersPD)
  • ASU student Brendan Capria of the JS talked to Kyle Lohse about his Native American heritage and growing up on a farm in northern California.

The Brewers are enjoying their last off day of the spring before resuming Cactus League play tomorrow. They have three games left in Arizona before returning home to host a pair of exhibitions against the Royals on Friday and Saturday.

An off day likely means a day of suspense for about half a dozen players who have yet to be informed they've made the team. Adam McCalvy has a breakdown of the last remaining decisions: Elian Herrera or Jeff Bianchi for the final infield spot and Zach Duke, Rob Wooten, Tyler Thornburg or Wei-Chung Wang for the final three spots in the bullpen. The Brewers have to inform Duke what they plan to do with him by 11 am Central time tomorrow, so we may get some clarity them.

The Brewers can use this off day to update their payroll spreadsheets: @Haudricourt reports Mark Reynolds will make $2 million and Lyle Overbay will receive $1.5 million this season, while the team also owes Juan Francisco about $340,000 as the pro-rated share of his arbitration contract.

Francisco, by the way, settled his arbitration case pretty early last winter. Adam McCalvy says the Brewers have quietly switched to a "file and trial" philosophy on arbitration cases, where a deal has to be struck before the two sides file proposals or they'll plan on taking a player to a hearing.

But what can the Brewers expect from their new platoon at first base? Before the Francisco news, Jordan attempted to project the catcher and first base positions on Friday.

Jean Segura will be using the off day to continue to rest and rehab his sore shoulder. He hasn't appeared in a game since Tuesday, but the issue isn't believed to be serious. Mike Petriello of FanGraphs says the Brewers have baseball's tenth best group of shortstops, but that's only if Segura is healthy. Segura was also the subject of one of this weekend's editions of "Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers" at The Brewer Nation.

The Brewers may not be playing baseball today, but I suspect somewhere in Arizona Carlos Gomez is still running. We've got a bunch of notes on him today:

Gomez will bat two spots in front of Ryan Braun, who will return to his customary #3 spot in the lineup but move to right field for 2014. Brad Johnson of FanGraphs says the Brewers have the fourth-best collection of right fielders in all of baseball. Kevin Kimmes has a preview of the position at Cream City Cables, and Braun was also the subject of a recent installment of "Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers" at The Brewer Nation.

Continuing to work around the outfield: Justin Schultz of Reviewing the Brew has a brief interview with Khris Davis, and Nathan Petrashek has a preview of the Brewers left fielders at Cream City Cables.

When the Brewers return to action on Tuesday, Wily Peralta is scheduled to be on the mound. Tom Haudricourt says his newfound focus could be a key to the Brewers' success this season. Peralta was also a focus of Nicholas Zettel of Disciples of Uecker's preview of the back of the rotation.

In the minors:

Back in Milwaukee, Hank the dog remains one of this spring's top stories. Kathy Flanigan of Tap Milwaukee has a look at why people can't get enough of this.

Today in predictions, projections, power rankings, previews and whatnot: Drew Silva of Hardball Talk predicts the Brewers will win 78 games this season and finish in fourth place.

If you weren't around the site this weekend, you might have missed JP's weekly look at what we've learned over the previous seven days. Do your best to keep up: Opening Day is just around the corner.

Around baseball:

Angels: Released catcher Yorvit Torrealba, first baseman Carlos Pena and third baseman Chad Tracy.
Astros: Released outfielder J.D. Martinez. Also, reliever Peter Moylan will likely open the season on the DL with an elbow injury.
Athletics: Are expected to place pitcher Ryan Cook (shoulder inflammation) and outfielder Craig Gentry (back strain) on the DL to open the season.
Cubs: Released pitcher Tsuyoshi Wada.
Giants: Released infielder Tony Abreu. Also, reliever Kameron Loe has opted out of his minor league deal and is now a free agent.
Indians: Released outfielder Jeff Francoeur.
Mets: Named Luis Natera their new assistant hitting coach, announced that pitcher Jon Niese will likely open the season on the DL with elbow inflammation, released reliever Kyle Farnsworth and are expected to re-sign him to a minor league deal.
Orioles: Acquired infielder Steve Lombardozzi from the Tigers for infielder Alex Gonzalez, claimed infielder David Adams off waivers from the Indians and designated catcher Johnny Monell and pitcher Kelvin De La Cruz for assignment.
Phillies: Outfielder Darin Ruf (oblique strain) and infielder Freddy Galvis (MRSA) will open the season on the DL.
Rangers: Second baseman Jurickson Profar will open the season on the DL with a slight tear in his shoulder.
Red Sox: Reliever Jose Mijares has opted out of his minor league deal and is now a free agent. Also, DH David Ortiz has signed a one-year, $16 million contract extension for 2015 with a vesting option for 2016 and a club option for 2017.
Reds: Pitchers Aroldis Chapman (fracture above left eye), Jonathan Broxton (forearm strain), Sean Marshall (shoulder strain) and Mat Latos (knee strain) and outfielder Skip Schumaker (dislocated shoulder) could all open the season on the DL.
Royals: Catcher Ramon Hernandez has opted out of his minor league deal and is now a free agent.
Tigers: Acquired shortstop Andrew Romine from the Angels for pitcher Jose Alvarez.
Twins: Released pitcher Matt Guerrier.
White Sox: Released pitcher Mitchell Boggs.

Today in former Brewers:

By now you've likely heard that outfielder Scott Van Slyke hit the first home run of the 2014 regular season as the Dodgers swept a pair of games with the Diamondbacks in Australia on Saturday. That series was also the subject of today's statistical note: Baseball In-Depth notes that strikeouts per nine innings have gone up across baseball every season since 2007 and were at nine per nine this weekend down under.

Last week I posted a time-lapse video of the Sydney Cricket Ground being prepared to host this weekend's games. Closer to home something similar is happening in San Antonio's Alamodome, where the Rangers and Astros will play a pair of exhibitions Friday and Saturday. This preparation video includes an extra wrinkle as the work was detoured a bit to host a football game.

Finally, with help from the B-Ref Play Index, we'd like to wish a happy birthday today to:

Plunk Everyone notes that Hart's 45 career HBP are the third-most ever for a player born on March 24.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to find another pineapple.

Drink up.

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