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Monday's Frosty Mug

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Some things to read while watching out for the big chicken.

So, the likely biggest story of the day is Eric Gagne's release. Gagne faces a decision between rehab and surgery for his shoulder, but would not have been ready to pitch before March 25 either way. At least he provided a few weeks of interesting and now irrelevant debate. (Also noted in FanShot) Also, Adam J Morris of Lone Star Ball wonders if the Rangers might be interested in Gagne once he's healthy.

Bill Hall and David Riske continue to make strides in their rehab, though, as both played a simulated game yesterday. Riske gave up a single and a home run to Hall right away, but settled down to retire the next four batters, including Hall two more times. (Also noted in FanShot)

Other injury notes:

  • Brae Wright, one of the Brewers' brighter high-level pitching prospects not named Jeffress, will have Tommy John surgery and miss all of 2009.
  • Mat Gamel, who was the last Brewer to report to camp and still has not played in the field this spring, showed up late on Friday and had his locker moved outside by Mike Cameron and Jason Kendall.
  • Tony Gwynn returned to camp yesterday following the birth of his daughter. He's hoping to try throwing again in the next couple of days.

While Tony Gwynn is gone, Lorenzo Cain is making the most of his playing time in big league camp, including a big game on Friday and this profile in the JS.

On the field, Yovani Gallardo had his second rough outing in three spring appearances, giving up seven runs and lasting just two thirds of an inning. After the game, Doug Melvin said the Brewers have had preliminary discussions with Gallardo about a long term deal, but have set them aside.

Some visual evidence from yesterday's game:

Meanwhile in the WBC, Mark DiFelice was impressive in Saturday's game for Italy, pitching four shutout innings against a relatively high-powered Venezuelan team. Italy could be eliminated with a loss to Canada today, meaning DiFelice and Vinny Rottino could both be back in camp in the next couple of days.

Does pitching in the WBC have a negative impact on a pitcher's in-season performance? Baseball America cites a study they're calling "inconclusive," but it appears pitchers from the 2006 WBC saw their 2006 ERA go up over 18%, as opposed to a 6% bump leaguewide.

If you didn't stop by over the weekend, you may have missed Jordan's note on Manny Parra and his fastball, and you should go check it out. You may also have missed Friday night's first post in the Brewer WAR Lords series.

Sometimes we miss something when assessing a player's value. For example, I was unsure about Crawfish Boxes rating Lance Berkman ahead of Prince Fielder in their NL Central First Baseman rankings, until I learned Berkman is actually made of chocolate cake. That will increase his value.

Other rankings/projections/previews/etc:

Two former Brewers announced their retirement over the weekend: Matt Wise and Mark Sweeney. No word on why Wise decided to hang it up, but his career has taken a severe downhill turn since midseason 2007.

On an even sadder note, former Brewer Chris Spurling was arrested for domestic battery Thursday night.

Stories from other camps:

Angels: Reporters discovered over the weekend that Vlad Guerrero is one year older than previously thought. He's actually 34. Also, Ervin Santana will begin the season on the DL and Mike Napoli may not be ready for Opening Day either.
A's: Justin Duchscherer is being shut down due to pain in his throwing elbow and is unlikely to be ready to pitch on Opening Day. The team also signed former top prospect Andy Sisco.
Giants: May make room on the roster for an extra position player by going with an 11 man bullpen pitching staff.
Red Sox: Reportedly signed John Lester to a five year extension worth $30 million.
Twins: Signed Scott Baker to a four year deal worth $15.25 million.

Team USA hasn't been too friendly to opposing pitchers in the World Baseball Classic, scoring 21 runs in two games (including Ryan Braun's solo HR last night), but it appears they're not making many friends off the field either. Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star is none too happy with Team USA's antics, which include skipping a press conference and playing crappy country music. The crappy country music only would have gotten worse if Corey Hart was on the team.

With Alcides Escobar banging on the door to the big leagues, this research is increasingly Brewer-relevant: Tom Tango estimates 25 runs as the most a great fielder can contribute to a team.

Of course, not everyone likes statistics or research. MLB Network had a discussion of PECOTA projections last night that you might have seen. If you haven't, Joe Posnanski has the video, and when it's done you can see how he pleonasmed all over it.

Oh, and Ryan Howard is a dangerous man.

Drink up.