Some things to read while making your opinion clear.
Today is the Brewers' only Cactus League off day, and while previous reports had said Manny Parra would work in a minor league game today to stay on schedule, those plans have been scrapped and Parra will pitch in relief of Jeff Suppan tomorrow. Because Suppan and Parra will probably take up most of the innings in tomorrow's game, the Brewers will also play a simulated game to get some work for LaTroy Hawkins, Todd Coffey and Mitch Stetter.
We're at the point in spring training where managers start working to line up their rotation for the start of the regular season. Because of that, the decision to pitch Parra and Suppan on the same day tomorrow is somewhat curious, and could mean that only one of them will end up in the rotation. Or, it could simply be the result of a gap in the schedule.
Either way, Scott Schoeneweis won't be claiming one of the final spots in the pitching staff. Schoeneweis was informed yesterday that he wasn't going to make the team, and decided to leave camp rather than take an assignment to AAA (FanShot). Schoeneweis told Adam McCalvy he wasted a month of his time in Brewer camp and seems to think the Brewers released him because his wife died last season.
Certainly, the way Schoeneweis left camp yesterday and his decision to blame his wife's death instead of his relatively poor performance for the setback paints him in a somewhat negative light. With that said, I'm inclined to cut the guy some slack because he's been through an awful lot: On top of losing his wife last season, Adam McCalvy noted that Schoeneweis is also a testicular cancer survivor and has had Tommy John surgery.
Also before yesterday's game, the Brewers returned Tim Dillard to minor league camp. Dillard has generated a fair amount of positive attention this spring with his willingness to attempt a change in his delivery and the relative ease with which he's done so. After being removed from the 40 man roster before camp opened, Dillard has had a nice bounce-back spring and could be relatively high on the list of pitchers to call up this season.
John Axford allowed a run in the seventh inning yesterday, and it turned out to be his final appearance as a member of big league camp. Axford was optioned to the minors after the game. He seems to have impressed Ken Macha, who compared his stuff to that of longtime Angels closer Troy Percival. Axford will probably also be under consideration for an opportunity if a spot should open up during the season.
The Axford demotion was actually a bit of a letdown: Before the game, Anthony Witrado said the team was expected to make another roster move after the game, and "it could be the kind that upsets a player." That led to a fair amount of speculation in the comments of the Schoeneweis FanShot linked above, but turned out to be a false lead. At least it provided some content for a banner day for @notkenmacha.
Elsewhere in camp minutiae:
- Tom Haudricourt and View From Bernie's Chalet both have new 25 man roster projections. Haudricourt has the Brewers optioning Carlos Villanueva to keep all four remaining starting candidates, while VFBC has the Brewers releasing Jeff Suppan.
- Cory Provus likes the fact that the battle for the final spots in the rotation has become a tough decision.
- The LA Daily News has a look at the Brewers' connections to the San Fernando Valley, with Ryan Braun, Randy Wolf, Gregg Zaun and Jeff Suppan all hailing from the area.
- Tyler Maas of Bugs & Cranks has some things you might not know about George Kottaras.
Speaking of Kottaras, his hot spring made him the big mover in our second Brew Crew Ball Tracking Poll. 77% of voters thought Kottaras should be Gregg Zaun's backup this season, up from 27% in our last poll.
At The Hardball Times, Derek Ambrosino has a look at seven players that might have been underrated this spring, including Rickie Weeks and Corey Hart. He concludes that "it also seems increasingly likely that he (Weeks) is just not durable enough to be trusted to play anything approaching a full season," and compares Hart to Nate McLouth.
I don't have any minor notes today, but here's a draft note: Andy Seiler has a new mock draft, and has the Brewers selecting LSU righty Anthony Ranaudo with the 14th pick. Injury questions have dropped Ranaudo's stock a bit: He was projected to go #4 in the last draft.
In previews/projections etc:
Batter's Box Interactive has a look at the NL Central, but no predictions.
When the Brewers signed Matt Treanor to a minor league deal, they included a clause that allowed him to opt out if he wasn't on the major league roster after this week. That clause went with him when he was traded to the Rangers, but Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas says he's not expected to exercise it. (h/t MLBTR) By the way, The Grand National Championships has some analysis on the trade.
Today's slices of life from spring training:
- Jim Street has a look at "Survivor Island," a row of lockers at the Mariners' spring training complex with an interesting history.
- On the superstition front, Craig Calcaterra has a look at mylar bracelets that several Phillies are wearing this spring.
- What do you get when two bored, trash-talking beat reporters, armed with some athletic ability and Twitter, decide to settle a dispute with a race? MLB.com's Anthony Dicomo and Jordan Bastian will square off today in The Dotcom Dash.
The season hasn't even started yet and the Brewers already have one victory over the Cubs: FanGraphs ranked the Cubs #18 in their annual organizational rankings. The Brewers and Cardinals are still on the board.
I know we've got at least a few physics nerds here: Jeff Sullivan of Lookout Landing is looking for your help with a new series on the science of baseball.
Here's an interesting story working its way around the web today: In the 116 year history of Goshen College, a Mennonite institution in Indiana, the Star Spangled Banner had never been played. But yesterday, in front of a small crowd of onlookers, it was played for the first time before a baseball game.
Happy birthday today to:
- Corey Hart, who turns 28.
- Norris Hopper, who turns 31.
- 2002 Brewer Jim Rushford, who turns 36.
- 2002 Brewer Jose Cabrera, who turns 38.
Oh, and here's what it might have looked like if Jerry Manuel had managed Michelangelo.
Also, today is also a Woot-off day.