Friday's Frosty Mug: Catcher concentration

Lance Iversen-USA TODAY Sports

We're talking about the first cuts of spring and more in today's roundup of all things Brewers.

Some things to read on your way to the cage.

Today is the 21st day of spring training 2014, and there will be a couple of empty lockers in the big league clubhouse this morning: After yesterday's game the Brewers returned catchers Cameron Garfield and Adam Weisenburger to minor league camp. Each player had appeared in two big league games and made one plate appearance.

Four catchers remain in major league camp (Jonathan Lucroy, Martin Maldonado and non-roster invitees Robinzon Diaz and Matt Pagnozzi), but there's little doubt about which two the team is planning on taking north. Yesterday Jon Heyman had some high praise for Jonathan Lucroy (on Twitter), saying one executive had told him their team ranks him as one of baseball's top two catchers. Jeff Sullivan of FanGraphs has a look at how pitch framing may have factored into that evaluation.

Back on the field, the Rockies committed four errors in the eighth inning and the Brewers took advantage of the opportunity to steal a 5-3 win in Maryvale. We've got the recap, if you missed it.

Yesterday's game also featured a first for the Brewers as Rockies manager Walt Weiss challenged a call with MLB's new replay system, arguing that Logan Schafer should've been out on a stolen base attempt. Replay upheld the call, and Todd Rosiak summed it up in our Tweet of the Day:

Schafer, by the way, had three hits and two stolen bases in his best game of the spring to date.

Other notes from the field:

The Brewers continue their longest homestand of the spring when they host the Padres at 2:05 Central time today. Matt Garza is scheduled to start and @AdamMcCalvy reports he'll be followed to the mound by Johnny Hellweg and Brandon Kintzler.

Rickie Weeks was back in the lineup on Thursday and went 0-for-2 with a walk, reaching base for the ninth time this spring. That probably puts a little more pressure on Scooter Gennett, who's still stuck on one hit, but Ron Roenicke told Gennett not to worry about the stats. That story also includes a note on Scooter's struggles against lefties.

Juan Francisco was out of the lineup yesterday but remains among the Brewers leaders with six hits, two home runs and four RBI this spring. Ken Rosenthal suggests (via MLBTR) that the Tigers could be a fit for the lefty slugger if the Brewers decide not to keep him on the Opening Day roster.

Mitch Haniger remains a long shot at best to make the team, but he leads all Brewers with five RBI this spring. Adam McCalvy talked to him about his first spring in major league camp.

Hunter Morris was also off on Thursday and is still looking for his first base hit of the spring. He's the subject of the latest edition of "Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers" at The Brewer Nation.

It's been a couple of days since we've seen the Brewers run the contact play, which is an encouraging development. TOOTBLAN Tracker looked at a possible correlation between OBP and bad outs on the bases in 2013 and noted that the Brewers were first in the latter despite being 21st in the former.

Through nine games this spring the Brewers have been hit by four pitches, including two plunkings for Mark Reynolds. Ryan P. Morrison of Beyond the Box Score has a look at the uptick in batters getting hit by pitches in recent years and wonders if getting on base that way is a repeatable skill.

In the minors:

The transaction wire was quiet across baseball yesterday, so it's musical interlude time: (h/t @dwalsh76)

There were four ties across baseball yesterday, with three coming in the Cactus League. The fourth was a rain-shortened scoreless tie in Jupiter, where the Marlins were hosting the Red Sox in their only "super-premium" priced game of the spring. The joke was on the fans, though, as the Red Sox didn't send any of their regulars to the contest. The Marlins were none too happy about it and have since received an apology. (h/t BBTF)

Today in former Brewers:

  • Kameron Loe, who is in Giants camp and is quite tall, traded uniforms for the day with Tim Lincecum, who is not very tall. Hilarity ensued.
  • Dan Plesac, who will be in Brewers camp today for MLB Network's "30 Clubs, 30 Days" series, posted a picture on Twitter of himself as a Brewer in 1986.

Today's sabermetric note comes from Mike Bates of SBNation.com, who wonders if the increased availability of MLBAM's new defensive data could take an advantage away from small market teams who have found value in strong defensive players.

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

  • Tyrone Hill, the Brewers' first round pick (#15 overall) in the 1991 draft, who turns 41. We covered his birthday in Today In Brewer History last year.
  • 1978 Brewer Randy Stein, who would have turned 61.
  • Milwaukee native and UW-Madison alum Red Wilson, who turns 85. Wilson played ten seasons in the majors between 1951-60 as a member of the Tigers and two other teams.

Today is also the 35th anniversary of the Brewers signing pitcher Bob Gibson as an amateur free agent in 1979. We covered that event in this space two years ago.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm out of M&Ms.

Drink up.

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