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Tuesday's Frosty Mug

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Some things to read while turning a wine bottle into a terrarium.

Before the Brewers/Cubs game yesterday, Braden Looper pitched a simulated game and completed two innings despite being struck in the head by a line drive. (h/t FanShot) Looper is still on pace to be ready for Opening Day and could start a Cactus League game as soon as this weekend.

Mike Rivera is also ready for game action, and will get the start Wednesday when the Brewers travel to Tucson to take on the Rockies.

The sore intercostal muscle that pulled Ryan Braun out of Sunday's WBC game is still not believed to be serious, but Braun will undergo an MRI anyway, just to be sure.

Elsewhere, the Brewers sent a couple more pitchers down to minor league camp yesterday: R.J. Swindle and Chase Wright. It's a bit of a surprise move, as Swindle was expected to compete for the LOOGY spot in the bullpen and Wright had pitched well in camp. It's possible this means Lindsay Gulin is now in the running for that spot.

Some visual evidence of yesterday's game:

  • Bill Hall tells Corey Hart to talk to the hand.
  • Ken Macha congratulates Hart following his home run.
  • Prince Fielder with a headfirst slide into third.
  • Rickie Weeks has an impressive vertical leap...but not the baseball.

Speaking of Rickie Weeks, Miller Park Drunk has come to his defense following Rob Neyer and Bill James' assessment that the Brewers should shuffle their defensive lineup and move him out of the infield.

Cory Provus has a blog over at the Sports Bubbler. Today, in his first post, he discusses Corey Hart, Chris Duffy and Casey McGehee. Tomorrow: Brewers with first names starting with a different letter.

Speaking of McGehee, he's the subject of today's JS Spring Training profile.

On predictions, projections, etc:

  • Walkoff Walk is picking the Brewers to finish fourth in the Central, but predicting a monster season for Manny Parra.
  • Bleed Cubbie Blue predicts the Brewers will finish with a win total somewhere in the mid-80's, but finish second in the Central and miss the playoffs.
  • Baseball Reflections has the Brewers winning 80-85 games and finishing no better than second.

Stories from other camps:

Astros: Signed Ivan Rodriguez to a one year, $1.5 million deal. They also may open the season with Jose Capellan in the rotation.
Marlins: Returned Rule 5 pick Zach Kroenke to the Yankees.
Mets: Will return Rule 5 pick Rocky Cherry to the Orioles. They also signed Junior Spivey to a minor league deal.

So, let's say you're managing the Atlanta Braves. You missed out on trading for Jake Peavy this winter and signed Derek Lowe instead. I understand you'd try to justify it, but do you really want to do it by citing six starts in the postseason and World Baseball Classic? There's roughly 112 issues with that analysis.

Speaking of the WBC, as injuries continue to decimate Team USA, there's an increasing chance manager Davey Johnson will forfeit the WBC. If that happens this may very well be the last World Baseball Classic, which would be a shame because it sounds like Cuban press conferences are hilarious.

Aside from being former Brewers, what do Kevin Barker, Mark Loretta and Russell Branyan all have in common? They're three of just seven players to receive an intentional walk during spring training.

Baseball Musings continues to project team offense for 2009. Today, the Astros check in at 4.46 runs per game, up from 4.42 last season.

Last week I posted a graph from Beyond the Box Score showing run expectancy by pitch location. The Baseball Analysts have taken it a step further and broken down run expectancy by location and pitch type and have also broken down home runs by pitch location.

You won't see any more all black maple bats in major league baseball this season, but you will see a black dot on existing maple bats. Larry Stone of the Seattle Times explains some of baseball's rule changes regarding bats.

Meanwhile, across town, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer is folding, effective immediately.

Oh, and no matter how bad the economy gets, you really shouldn't take a job with Lenny Dykstra.

Drink up.