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Thursday's Frosty Mug

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Things to read while waiting in line for "Straps."

So, if you listened to yesterday's Cactus League opener, you might have heard "Hell's Bells" play as Trevor Hoffman entered to pitch the seventh inning. If you did I hope you enjoyed it, because you won't hear it again until the regular season.

And if you're heading to Arizona this spring and hoping to see Hoffman, pick a home game. The Brewers are allowing Hoffman to set his own routine and schedule this spring, and said schedule doesn't include many trips out of Maryvale. A quote from that story is a little troubling:
The Brewers allowed similar leeway to Eric Gagne last season after he signed for $10 million.
This spring, if the Brewers tell Gagne he's pitching in the dumpster behind the minor league fields, my guess is he'll be ok with it.

Gagne, however, still isn't pitching much at all as he battles a strained calf. He'll throw BP on Friday before deciding if he's ready for game action. He's in a tough spot, though: By tomorrow he'll only have about four weeks to prove he deserves a spot in the bullpen before his March 25 deadline, so my guess is he'll go even if he's not 100%.

As noted in this FanShot, Tony Gwynn's shoulder is still not healed and could take as much as a month to fully heal.

I have a theory. It's not based on anything I know for sure, and it's somewhat conspiratorial, but here it is: I think the Brewers are going to take things very slowly with Gwynn, to the point where he opens the season on the DL and stays in extended spring training. Then, they'll have a few weeks where they can activate him if an injury or need pops up. If one doesn't, they'll send him to AAA on a rehab assignment, and if need be, they'll DFA him on May 1 instead of in April and hope no one wants to burn a waiver claim and a roster spot on a guy who's hardly played a game all season.

Also noted in the link above: Mat Gamel and Todd Coffey are both leaving the team to attend the births of their children. Coffey is expected to leave later today, and Gamel early tomorrow, meaning he could still be available to pinch hit in a game today.

Here are a few pictures from yesterday's tie: Once Bill Hall is healthy, it sounds like he'll be given every opportunity to prove himself. Yesterday Ken Macha said he wants to give Hall a shot to prove he can play everyday and live up to the promise he showed in his 35 HR season in 2006. He needs to get healthy first, though.

On the other hand, Tyler Maas of Right Field Bleachers wants Casey McGehee to hurry up and not make the team. McGehee went 0-for-2 yesterday, but on the list of players I irrationally want off the roster based on yesterday's performance he's significantly behind Jorge Julio.

Brewer fans came out in droves last season to watch winning baseball, but are they loyal? Jim Lane has a new study, published at River Ave. Blues, ranking the Brewers 20th in fan loyalty, but ahead of both Cincinnati and Pittsburgh in the Central.

If it can't be Yovani Gallardo, Dave Bush seems to be the fan favorite to start on Opening Day, but The Junkball Blues cautions Brewer fans against getting too excited, as Bush's BABIP suggests he got some lucky breaks in 2008. He was incredibly unlucky in 2007, so it evens out.

In news from other camps:

Astros: Were forced to delay their spring training opener for 15 minutes because Florida Governor Charlie Crist, scheduled to throw out the first pitch, was late.
Dodgers: Have reportedly offered a one year deal with a player option for a second to Manny Ramirez.
Giants: Noah Lowry still has tightness in his elbow and may not be ready by Opening Day.
Indians: Andy Marte cleared waivers and was sent to AAA.
Mets: May consider releasing reliever Duaner Sanchez before Opening Day.
Twins: Exploratory surgery on Boof Bonser revealed a torn rotator cuff. He'll miss the entire 2009 season.

Another day, another update on the Washington Nationals saga: While the Nationals have reportedly targeted Blue Jays assistant GM Tony LaCava as their GM in waiting if Jim Bowden is fired, their hiring process would not be that simple as MLB rules would still require them to interview a minority candidate. Meanwhile the team has pulled out of the Dominican Republic.

Oh, and since I found this recipe for homemade gummies I've been looking for new and creative molds, but I'm not sure I'm nerdy enough for gummy Pis.

Drink up.