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Monday's Frosty Mug

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Some things to read while getting your clothes out of the dryer.

Easily the biggest Brewer news of the day happened far from Arizona. Ryan Braun, playing for Team USA in the WBC, left yesterday's game with soreness in his side. (h/t FanShot) It doesn't sound like it's expected to be serious.

Meanwhile, Braden Looper is expected to throw a simulated game this morning, his last one before pitching a minor league game and then a Cactus League game sometime around March 24.

While Looper works his way in, Tim Dillard, Nick Green and Omar Aguilar are among six pitchers on their way out, having been optioned back to minor league camp. Dillard, who will apparently work as a starter this season, made the most of his last day in camp, entertaining teammates with his Harry Caray and Ed Sedar impressions.

Also in minor league camp, Chris Capuano continues to work on his recovery from his second Tommy John surgery. Sounds like things are going well, but he won't be stretched out enough to start games until mid-May.

Some visual evidence from this weekend's action:

  • Bill Hall's calf is better. Now, why is he sliding head first in spring training?
  • Lorenzo Cain shows off his home run trot.
  • You may not have heard of Brent Krause, but he left an imprint in the wall for you to remember him by.

J.J. Hardy and Ryan Braun each took first place in Crawfish Boxes' NL Central positional rankings at shortstop and left field, respectively. Largely because of contributions from Hardy and Braun, David Pinto of Baseball Musings thinks the Brewers' probable lineup is good for 4.71 runs per game this season, up from 4.63 last season.

Dale Sveum is hoping to get even more production out of his hitters by cutting down on strikeouts.

Speaking of projections and predictions, Baseball Analysts has their NL Central Preview up. All three participants think the Cubs will win the division by 10 games or more.

Lisa Winston of has been spending some time around Brewer camp, and has ten Brewer prospects to watch, along with an overview of the system that's worth a read.

Notes from other camps:

Cubs: Signed Esteban German to a minor league deal.
Giants: May be interested in derailing their youth movement signing Ivan Rodriguez to compete for a job at third base.
Mariners: Claimed Jesus Delgado off waivers from the Marlins.
Marlins: Released Jay Gibbons.
Mets: Claimed Fernando Nieve off waivers from the Astros.
Nationals: Signed Julian Tavarez to a minor league deal.
Padres: Signed Chris Snelling to a minor league deal, and also Duaner Sanchez.
Red Sox: Julio Lugo will have arthroscopic knee surgery and will likely not be ready for Opening Day.
Rockies: Signed Lew Ford to a minor league deal.

Some day we might look back at the players of today in a similar light, but this seems like an extreme example: Hal McCoy has the story of former Red Buddy Gilbert, who left baseball in 1959 over a contract dispute. He and the Reds were $200 apart.

Baseball Musings also previewed the offense of the 2009 Pirates, and projects them for .3 runs per game less than 2008, or almost 50 fewer runs this season.

The Cardinals organization checked in at #21 in FanGraphs organizational rankings joining the Pirates, Reds and Astros to give the NL Central four of the bottom nine teams.

If you're out in Arizona this spring and want to make sure you're not healthy enough to leave, check out Mariner beat writer Larry Stone's review of The Heart Attack Grill.

Oh, and according to Tim Kurkijian, David Eckstein's wife, Ashley Eckstein, is the voice of Darth Vader.

Drink up.