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Thursday's Frosty Mug

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Some things to read while chasing the ball around.

Coming off their first off day of the spring, the Brewers are preparing for a big exhibition today with the Australian WBC team. The Brewers will send Seth McClung to the mound in place of Braden Looper. I haven't seen a starter named for the Australian team, but it won't be Brewer farmhand David Welch, who pitched two innings in Australia's 11-9 win over Seattle yesterday. I was hoping it'd be Grant Balfour until those hopes were dashed when Jordan told me he's not on the team. I guess that shows how much attention I've been paying to the WBC.

Elsewhere around the WBC:

  • MLB Playoff Odds gives the Brewers a 28.1% chance of having a Brewer on the winning team, with 27.3% for Team USA, .8% for Canada and no chance for Australia and Italy.
  • The Hot Stove League is predicting Venezuela will beat Japan in the championship game.
  • The first game in Pool A was played overnight, with Japan shutting out China to open play. If you missed it, Results Disoriented has a full rundown of stupid things the commentators said.

I think I just said more about the WBC in one set of bullet points than I'd said all spring.

Tony Gwynn: panicking or not panicking? Anthony Witrado covered his bases by saying he both is and isn't before the end of the second paragraph in this profile. (Also noted in this FanPost) Lorenzo Cain has been invited to big league camp to help fill in the gap. Gwynn was one of several topics covered in Doug Melvin's most recent radio appearance, chronicled over at Al's Ramblings.

Ryan Braun and Rickie Weeks the two most recent projections at The Junkball Blues. They've got Braun hitting .276/.331/.513 and Weeks hitting .235/.353/.403. While you're there, check out this note on Manny Parra and why he should throw his fastball more.

Speaking of Braun, The Official Site takes a look at his rise to stardom, and how he's handling it. I'd be ok with it if I never read about his clothing line again, but as long as he keeps hitting it's not a problem.

If you had to pick a single Brewer player most critical to the team's success in 2009, how many players would you name before you got to Trevor Hoffman? The Philly Sports Post has their 2009 Brewer preview up, and they list Hoffman in that spot. They also have brief season previews from Michael Hunt of the JS, Jim Breen of Bernie's Crew and some guy who gathers links for a site you may have read.

Elsewhere around rankings and predictions: And A Player To Be Named Later predicts the Brewers will finish fourth in the Central, behind the Cubs, Cardinals and Reds. Crawfish Boxes thinks the Brewers have the division's third best bullpen.

And in news from other camps:

A's: Justin Duchsherer is having elbow issues. An MRI yesterday showed no structural damage, but he may not be ready for Opening Day.
Cubs: An unnamed source suggests they might be interested in newly displaced A's SS Bobby Crosby.
Dodgers: Manny Ramirez signed a two year deal and is expected in camp today.
Nationals: Have given assistant GM Mike Rizzo control of day-to-day operations of the team.
Rockies: Pitchers and hitters have been following a script with an easily discernible pattern in their early spring training games, which might explain why they still haven't won.

I don't recall reading all that much about his defense while he was a Brewer prospect, but Lou Palmisano drew some praise for his defense in Astros camp yesterday. It looks like he has an above average shot at making the team as a backup catcher. The Brewers could take him back if he doesn't.

Pedro Martinez continues to use the WBC as an open audition for a job, and if he keeps pitching like this it probably won't take long: Martinez hit 91 on the gun yesterday. As injuries pile up this spring, it wouldn't surprise me if a secondary market for guys like Pedro and Odalis Perez develops.

Everyone loves a good Bob Uecker story, right? Artie Lang told a good one on Letterman recently, although the language may be a little NSFW (Thanks to TimQMills for the tip). While you've got Youtube open, check out the trailer for the movie Sugar, which looks like it could be pretty good.

I know I just mentioned several things you could do with spare cash yesterday, but here's another one: If you ever wanted to try Baseball Mogul, last season's version is available for $2. This season's version is due out soon.

Oh, and while Jamie's Spring Training post mentioned the Dodgers' goal for Camelback Ranch "to be the most fan friendly in the Cactus League," their decision to charge extra for condiments on hot dogs doesn't seem to line up with that notion. (h/t True Blue LA)

Drink up.