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Thursday's Frosty Mug

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Some things to read while finding a better place to propose.

Today, the Brewers have a different kind of proposal for Manny Parra: something like, "Would you please try not to make us wish we'd left you in AAA?" Parra makes his return in a few hours, and the Brewers are hoping he'll be more like the pitcher they saw in AAA (sub-3 ERA) than the one they sent down (13.50 ERA, allowed opponents to hit .408/.478/.694 in his last five starts). To make room on the roster for him, the team designated Chris Narveson for assignment. Narveson will almost certainly clear waivers and accept an assignment to AAA, but the Brewers wouldn't be much worse off if he didn't. (Also noted in FanShot.)

The Brewers will also have bench coach Willie Randolph back for today's game. Randolph was suspended for a game for coming onto the field to argue his ejection in Tuesday's game. Coaches are not allowed to do that, even if Bill Hohn's mustache is blocking their view. (Also noted in FanShot.)

They're also one day closer to having Dave Bush back. Bush is scheduled to throw 3-4 innings in a rehab start Friday for the Timber Rattlers. If all goes well, he's still scheduled to return to the big leagues on July 20.

Is Prince Fielder MLB's fastest big man? The Brewers would have squandered three bases loaded opportunities last night if Fielder hadn't legged out an infield single in the eighth. For his part, Fielder called the performance "panic speed."

As the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline approaches, we'll stop for a moment each day to take a look at the rumors and notes:

  • Ken Rosenthal is reporting that, along with Roy Halladay, the Blue Jays are also considering trading outfielder Alex Rios, who has over $60 million remaining on a contract that runs through 2014. Assuming the Brewers can afford him, he'd be a nice long term replacement for Mike Cameron.
  • Mark Bowman of thinks the Braves' demands for Javier Vazquez will be similar to the Indians' asking price for CC Sabathia last season. He argues that Vazquez is pitching better than Sabathia was at the time of the deal, and is under contract for an extra year.
  • Mark Mulder's agent says he'll be ready to audition for scouts in a week to ten days, and thinks he can quickly return to big league form.

And in the minors:

  • Over at The Hardball Times, Jeff takes a look at the defensive stats for some college shortstops who were drafted to the big leagues over the last two seasons. 2009 Brewer draftee Josh Prince ranked right around average, but 2008 draftee Michael Marseco, all 130 lbs of him, was 17 runs above average defensively in college.
  • Minor league attendance is holding steady across the country, but the Midwest League is up 2.5% through June, likely due to a couple of new parks and increased interest in the Timber Rattlers. The Pioneer League was also up 18% in June, but that only covers about a week's worth of games.

Continuing Bullet Pointpalooza with a look at Power Rankings:

  • Beyond the Box Score dropped the Brewers three spots to 17th, but they're still the highest ranked team in the Central.
  • MLB FanHouse dropped the Brewers from #7 to #11.

Normally I present the Power Rankings without comment, but the Brewer note in the FanHouse ranking caught my eye:

If the Brewers don't find someone to back Yovani Gallardo soon, they might find themselves behind both the Cardinals and the suddenly surging Cubbies in the standings.

The "suddenly surging" Cubbies, huh? Yes, the Cubs did just take three of four from the Brewers at home. If you remove that series, though, they're 4-9 since June 22 and 10-15 since June 9. That doesn't sound like "surging" to me.

Around baseball:

Blue Jays: Released B.J. Ryan, but will still have to pay him over $10 million over this season and next.
Mariners: Are expected to sign Alex Cintron to a minor league deal.
Red Sox: Designated injured outfielder Jonathan Van Every for assignment.
White Sox: Designated reliever Jimmy Gobble for assignment.

Ballot box stuffing has been an accepted practice for years, but do the teams themselves cheat to give their players an edge in the Final Vote? Hall of Fame writer Hal McCoy of the Dayton Daily News seems to have caught the Phillies in the act:

WHAT I WOULD like to do right now is walk into the media dining room and kick out the plugs on three computers. Fans are voting for the final roster spot for the All-Star game and the Phillies are in an all-out campaign to get Shane Victorino on the team.

The Phillies have three young men in the dining room sitting at laptops punching in Victorino’s name every few seconds. And they are doing it non-stop, nearly around the clock. So when Victorino wins you’ll know it wasn’t a fan vote at all.

The Man v. Machine argument continues today as well. Over at Beyond the Box Score, tbsmkdn makes the case for human umpires, arguing that manager arguments with umpires are one of the best parts of the game. I don't think we're watching the same game.

Meanwhile, ESPN's coverage of the Home Run Derby will feature Ball Track, a system designed to tell you immediately if a ball will be a home run, if waiting a few seconds to see where it lands takes up too much of your time.

Oh, and I can't decide on today's bigger anniversary: the non-conclusion of a meaningless exhibition game in 2002 or Tyler Houston's three home run game in 2000. So I'll give you both.

Drink up.