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Some things to read while getting the first step out of the way.

Before I get started, thanks to Dan Walsh, Rubie and BrewHaHeather for keeping things running while I've been out the last couple of days. Today Rubie and Walsh start a new project, as SBNation is proud to introduce Anonymous Eagle, our new Marquette blog. They'll be diving in headfirst as Marquette plays Villanova in the Big East Conference tournament this afternoon, and I hope you'll stop by and check out their work.

Meanwhile, it'll be a busy day for the Brewers as well, with split squad action in Maryvale and Goodyear. Randy Wolf will make his second start of the spring against the A's, while Chris Narveson will start for the traveling squad against the Reds. The home half will be on the radio via WTMJ. Unfortunately, there doesn't appear to be any coverage of the away half.

Expect to see Carlos Gomez in action somewhere today, and expect to see him trying to hit the ball on the ground. After a series of infield flies and weak liners to start the spring, coaches are working with Gomez to help him develop an approach that will allow him to better utilize his speed.

Don't expect to see Trevor Hoffman, though. Hoffman is taking it slow this spring, and doesn't expect to appear in a Cactus League game until sometime next week.

With all the conversation about wide and varied expectations for Carlos Gomez and Alcides Escobar, I think we occasionally forget that Casey McGehee could also fall anywhere within a wide range of 2010 possibilities. Minor League Ball looks back at McGehee's path to the big leagues, and projects him for a .260/.320/.420 line with improvement defensively.

It still feels early to me, but we're already roughly halfway through spring training. Wisconsin Sports Tap has a look at the roster battles, as they stand today.

Elsewhere in camp minutiae, from yesterday's camp report and other sources:

  • John Axford's early spring ERA is 18.00, but don't let the numbers fool you: His name apparently came up in a meeting to discuss pitchers who could make the team.
  • Trent Oeltjen could be cleared to play today, although it seems like we've been saying that every day for a while now. Mat Gamel and Josh Butler are still out.
  • Adam McCalvy has a great post on the Brewers' shifting plans regarding development of players in the Dominican Republic, and a look at some of the events that brought the team to this point.
  • With Mark DiFelice off rehabbing from shoulder surgery, Martin Maldonado is the new barber of choice in the Brewer clubhouse.
  • Steffan Wilson has a degree in Government from Harvard, but no idea what he'll do with it.

Speaking of Gamel, Baseball Musings recently covered him as part of their Players A to Z series. David Pinto says Gamel could be "a very nice player to move to a team looking for a third baseman."

Meanwhile, Prince Fielder's long term future remains a hot topic of conversation: Jorge Says No! doesn't think the Brewers can afford to keep him around, and View From Bernie's Chalet thinks an extension is possible.

From a debate on Fielder's long term contract status to one on his short term spot in the order: Baseball Musings projects the Brewers to score 4.88 runs per game this season, but says they could increase that number to 5.05 runs per game by using the following lineup:

1. Rickie Weeks, 2B
2. Prince Fielder, 1B
3. Alcides Escobar, SS
4. Ryan Braun, LF
5. Casey McGehee, 3B
6. Corey Hart, RF
7. Carlos Gomez, CF
8. Pitcher
9. Gregg Zaun, C

We're down to the final step in our Brew Crew Ball Community Projections, so stop by and voice your opinion on the relievers. Thanks again to Jordan for taking the reins on this one - I can't wait to see the final results.

Elsewhere in rankings/predictions/projections and stuff I didn't know what to do with:

  • In possibly the most optimistic Brewer projection I've seen, Blog Like a Champion thinks Ryan Braun will win the batting title and NL MVP while powering the Brewers to 93 wins and the NL Wild Card.
  • Phillies Nation is penciling the Brewers in for 85 wins and 2nd place in the Central.
  • The Biz of Baseball ranked the Brewers' Italian Sausage Bobblehead giveaway (August 8th) as one of 2010's top MLB promotions.

Around baseball:

Nationals: Released Eddie Guardado and Shawn Estes.
Rangers: Acquired pitcher Edwar Ramirez from the Yankees for cash.
Rays: Signed Hank Blalock to a minor league deal that will pay him $925,000 if he makes the team, and allows him to opt out if he doesn't.
Twins: Joe Nathan has a torn UCL in his pitching elbow and will likely undergo Tommy John surgery and miss the 2010 season.

One former Brewer might be landing on his feet south of the border: Mop Up Duty reports that Tomo Ohka has been invited to try out for the Quintana Roo Tigers of the Mexican League. Ohka played for the Brewers in 2005 and 2006 and went 1-5 with a 5.96 ERA for the Indians last season.

Here's something interesting to think about today: Baseball Musings crunched the numbers from 1996-2008 and produced this list of players who attempted more or less bases than one would expect, given their opportunities. Former Brewer Scott Podsednik ranked third in baseball over that time with roughly 220% more steal attempts than expected. On the other end of the spectrum, Damian Miller was fourth from the bottom, having attempted just 5.87% of expected steals.

Happy birthday today to:

  • Salomon Torres, who set a career high by converting 28 saves as a Brewer in 2008, and turns 38.
  • 2009 Huntsville Star Shane Justis, who turns 27.
  • 2009 Wisconsin Timber Rattler Sean McCraw, who turns 24.

Finally, SBNation celebrated a milestone while I was gone this week, as the 30 millionth comment was posted on one of our 240+ sites. I'm proud to say that nearly 250,000 of those comments have come from this site, and if you're one of the many that have helped us reach that milestone, thank you.

Drink up.