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Monday's Frosty Mug

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Some things to read while making a parking space.

Ryan Braun could return to action in the major league portion of Brewer camp within the next day or two. Yesterday, he took Brian Fuentes deep in a minor league game with the Angels. Craig Counsell also went 3-for-4 in that game and should rejoin the team soon.

Trevor Hoffman played catch yesterday and is showing signs of improvement, but will still almost certainly start the season on the DL. Carlos Villanueva will be called upon to close until Hoffman is ready. The Brewers will also have an extra arm in the bullpen on Opening Day, as Dave Bush will get his work in as he makes final preparations for his start in the fifth game of the season.

On the field yesterday, Mark DiFelice pitched the first three innings of a 1-0 victory over the Giants and won a spot in the bullpen to start the season.

Mitch Stetter, who also pitched a scoreless inning yesterday, talked with Tom H. about how much he learned working with Brian Shouse, and his preparations for the 2009 season.

Alcides Escobar was also profiled over the weekend. He's likely headed back to the minors, and could be sent down as soon as today or tomorrow.

It could always be worse, though: Adam McCalvy is reporting that Omar Aguilar has joined the crowd at Obliqueapullooza and Alexandre Periard may require shoulder surgery.

On rankings/projections/predictions:

  • Mike Fahmie has the Brewers winning 78 games and finishing fifth in the Central. Crappy Brewer prediction aside, I can't imagine a world where four NL Central teams that aren't the Brewers win more than 78 games this season.
  • The Giants Baseball Blog predicts the Brewers will finish third in the Central.
  • The Toronto Star has the Brewers 14th in their power rankings.
  • The Daily Hick predicts the Brewers will win 72 games and finish fourth.
  • MLB FanHouse has...well, I guess this is a preview...right?
  • Sports Fan Goods expects the Brewers to "struggle mightily and finish towards the bottom of the NL Central."
  • Intellectual Thicket's Baseball Mogul projections have the Brewers winning 78 games and finishing tied for fourth in the Central.

Still looking for a summer job? The Brewers are hiring for a Community Relations Internship and a Stadium Operations Internship.

In other camps:

A's: Added two catchers over the weekend, trading for Blue Jays minor leaguer Curtis Thigpen and signing Eric Munson. Also, Justin Duchsherer will have elbow surgery but no one seems sure what doctors will find while they're in there.
D-Backs: He was healthy enough to pitch yesterday and will pitch once more before Opening Day, but the team is expected to hide Max Scherzer on the DL until they need a fifth starter.
Giants: Acquired C Ronny Paulino from the Phillies for lefty Jack Taschner, then traded him to the Marlins for catcher Hector Correa.
Mariners: Brandon Morrow is expected to be the team's long term closer, so Tyler Walker was released. They also acquired utilityman Chris Burke from the Padres for cash.
Mets: Released Ron Villone.
Phillies: Released Marcus Giles.
Rangers: Claimed Joe Koshansky off waivers from the Rockies.
Red Sox: Brad Wilkerson has left the team.
Tigers: Will place Dontrelle Willis on the DL to start the season with an anxiety disorder.
Twins: Worked out a deal with the Yankees to keep Rule 5 pick Jason Jones.

So yesterday both the Brewers and Giants held back their respective starting pitchers, Yovani Gallardo and Randy Johnson, an act of gamesmanship to prevent either pitcher from showing too much to their first regular season opponent. This move worked out relatively well for the Brewers yesterday but is it worth the effort? I'll go ahead and say no.

Holding back young talent to keep their arbitration clock from starting is always a bad decision, but it's even worse when you're trying to contend. The Braves, potential frontrunners in the NL East, may start center fielder Jordan Schafer in AAA, even though he's winning the competition for the starting job.

How much do April games matter, anyway? Baseball Analysts unveils Championship Leverage Index to answer that question and many others.

How much difference does it make when a pitcher's velocity goes up and down? Tangotiger says a 2.5 mph increase in velocity is good for a drop of about .25 in ERA. That's pretty significant.

A lot of factors have to be considered when designing a new stadium, but apparently the Yankees missed one. YES Network and ESPN are reportedly going to request changes to the ballpark, which is not conducive to TV cameras.

Oh, and sometimes you need to be more careful while pouring out a beer.

Drink up.