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Weekend Mug 2/21 Pitchers and Catchers Report.

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Hey dudes!

I'm on the clock this weekend, and it is a big weekend, as our pitchers and catchers are reporting to Maryvale to start getting ready for the 2010 season.

Here is the big news so far from camp - Courtesy of brewerscom twitter

Rain today in Maryvale.

Rain sucks, and Mark Rogers wants to be more than a rehabber.

Hopefully we will get more updates today about our team.

TH did manage to interview, our owner Mark Attanasio, and talked all about our payroll approaching $90M. Mark A. seems encouraged by the fans, and it appears that fan enthusiasm is clearly helping our front office make some tough decisions.

Ken Macha was also interviewed, (leftover questions here)

Two questions stood out to me in particular

Q.Could your connection with players have been better last season? And if so, what can you do about it this year?

A. I think sometimes criticism as far as that is concerned is unfair. First, like I said earlier, you're trying to learn everybody's name and second, learn what makes them tick, which was a learning process. Third, when Alexander Graham Bell developed the telephone, you can dial from both ends, OK? My phone is on in my office starting at 1 (p.m.) every day. I can remember one day I had the original lineup with Prince (Fielder) hitting third and he came into my office right away and explained his feelings about hitting third and we got that straightened out. There is communication on both sides of it. The manager has to deal with 25 players, two trainers, a general manager, an assistant general manager, owner, six coaches. A player has one person he needs to go talk to. I feel if there's a need to come talk to me, they should feel free to come and do so.

Communication issues usually are more substantial than "learning everyone's name". I have a hard time believing that a guy who has been around baseball for the last 30+ years is going to let "learning player's names" be an obstacle -- Macha probably should have bought some baseball cards, or a media guide before heading into spring training last year. Furthermore, while your phone can be dialed from both ends, someone still needs to pick up and talk, which seems to have been a problem for Macha last year. I don't like Macha passing the buck here. If he made mistakes last season, that's A-OK, why not own up to them, and give us an indication that changes are going to be made? Here's to hoping Ken picks up the phone this season.

Q.What will you be looking for in a backup catcher, and can Gregg Zaun catch 100-plus games this season?

A. I'm not so much worried about the offensive production of a backup catcher. I want someone who has a good understanding of how to handle a pitcher. I look more at the defensive part of it. That's definitely one of my concerns, also. . . . I talked to Joe Maddon, the Tampa Bay manager, and asked how Gregg performed for him and how he handles the pitchers and all that. But he is a little older. To think he will catch as many as (Jason) Kendall, that's a little unrealistic. But on the flip side, he can hit you seven, eight, nine, 10 home runs.

Zaun is 3 years older than Kendall, but Kendall has caught (~1900 v. ~1000) almost twice as many games in his career. I think Kendall catching 282 games for the Brewers in the last 2 seasons was unrealistic -- but it happened. If you look at what Zaun has done as far as appearances in the last 4 seasons, he is getting into about 80 games a year. Of course, this is roughly 50% of the total games, which means that if Zaun is a starter, his backups will probably see about as much time behind the dish as Gregg does. My guess, is that this translates into one of two possible outcomes... 1.) Zaun is going to get stretched out this year or 2.) We just aren't going to worry about offensive production from the catcher in 2010.

In other news, former Brewer All-Star Ben Sheets reports to camp for Oakland.

Current baseball legend Russell Branyan, has signed a 1 year deal with the Tribe. (2010, $2M+1M in incentives, mutual $5M option for 2011). Branyan will probably start the season at 1b for the Tribe, until LaPorta is healthy and/or decent. Branyan of course started his career in Cleveland, after being drafted in 1994. Since then, Branyan has been acquired by Cleveland 3 times.

  • In 2002 the Indians traded Branyan to the Reds for Ben Broussard.
  • In April 2004, Branyan was traded to the Indians from Atlanta, for some minor leaguer. In July, the Indians sent Russell to Milwaukee.
  • In August 2007, Branyan was signed by the Indians, 2 days later he was sold to the Phillies.

If you like mammoth jackshots, (and you are nuts if you don't), you may enjoy watching some of Branyan's best from the last 2 seasons.

Rick Peterson has an interest in biomechanics. While I am all for integrating more science into the Brewers pitching effort to help prevent injuries, a few things have me concerned.

  • First, Peterson, didn't work in baseball last year, but worked for his company "3Psports" which is a company that offers all sorts of products related to "biomechanics". I sort of get the impression that Peterson is "pumping up his resume" to help promote his business down the road.
  • Second, What was Peterson hired to do for the Brewers? Be a pitching coach, or an injury-prevention specialist? I can certainly understand the need to prevent injury, but injury prevention isn't necessarily a path to success, (see Jeff Suppan). I guess I have more concerns about getting pitchers like Parra and Yo to the next level, than I do about their "bio-mechanics". I do think the Brewers should have a guy who studies our pitchers' collective biomechanics, but it seems to me, that process should be happening more at the A-AA level of the organization, and not so much at the MLB level.
  • Third, Peterson's "peak performance triangle." In another life, when I was in the world of business, I learned quickly how to distract people with geometrical shapes when the "math was not on my side". Triangles are essentially circles with more corners. Therefore I am skeptical on approaches or plans that rely on shapes.
  • Fourth, I really question how much Peterson understands about kinesiology. Peterson does have a degree in Art and Psychology, but no formal training in human kinetics (as far as I can tell). If Peterson sells himself as an expert, I think it is fair then to look at his career and see if he has been successful in what he claims to do. I don't see any evidence that Peterson has been any more or less successful at preventing injuries than any other pitching coaches out there. Are we just taking his word for it? or is Peterson wagging his finger at the problem he is also responsible for causing. If you want to read an opposing opinion on Peterson, from a guy who has a PhD in kinesiology, and a Cy Young award, click here and search for "Rick Peterson" in your browser (its a clunky website but informative).
  • Lastly, I can't decide what 80s band Peterson looks like he performed with 30 years ago. He either looks like a guy from Tears for Fears or a guy from INXS. I fully expect to see the following in an upcoming interview.

Back in 1983 on the Shabooh Shoobah tour, Hutch and I started messing around with American baseball. First we started playing catch, then we organized some games between the road crew and the band. I was able to get a pretty good break on my pitches... The guys always used to kid me, and say I shouldn't quit my day job, which was hunting dingos... I always knew that I could get into baseball once our recording careers were over.

That's all I have for you unless you don't know who Tears for Fears or INXS are.