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Some things to read while securing the proper equipment.

We're almost there, folks: One week from today, we'll be celebrating Opening Day. This last week of spring training is going to be Prediction Week here at BCB. Check back later today for Jordan's recap of our Community Projections, and keep checking back as the week goes along for various predictions and the 2010 Over/Under contest.

Corey Hart finally picked up a hit yesterday, but it was his first good news in days and, even then, the news wasn't that good. Hart went 1-for-3 with two strikeouts yesterday (and was caught stealing), after going 0-for-4 Saturday. Anthony Witrado says he watched Hart's at bats Saturday but didn't learn anything about why he's struggling. He did pass along one tidbit of information, though: Hart has been wearing contacts at the plate. He had previously said contacts weren't an option, so it looks like it's possible he's ditched the goggles.

The Brewers made their final trip to Tucson yesterday, but Alcides Escobar and Rickie Weeks weren't on the bus: instead, they stayed behind in Maryvale to get some extra work holding runners on second base. It was an issue in a Saturday's game, and Ken Macha wanted to make sure it won't be an issue during the season.

While Weeks and Escobar work on holding runners on, Ken Macha has told Carlos Gomez to focus on getting on base and improving his sub-.300 career OBP. Gomez is 10-for-10 stealing bases this spring, so he could run wild if he can consistently get on.

It was also a day to forget for Doug Davis, who allowed six earned runs on 13 baserunners (nine hits and four walks) in five innings. With that said, he did strike out three, and ten of his twelve other outs came via ground ball. The Brewers didn't do much on offense either, leading Ken Macha to say "We didn't show much."

Among those who didn't show much: Carlos Villanueva, who allowed two runs on three hits (including the game's only home run) in two innings yesterday. It's still possible, if not likely, that he'll be optioned to AAA to open up a spot for a seventh starting pitcher, but he told Tom Haudricourt he's trying not to think about it.

It's been widely considered a given for a while now, but an official announcement on Joe Inglett's status as the final member of the Brewer bench has yet to be made. Tom Haudricourt and Anthony Witrado have a look at Inglett's versatility: On top of his infield positions, Inglett can play the outfield and has even offered to catch in an emergency.

I'll admit, I've been a little concerned about Trevor Hoffman's late and somewhat slow start in Brewer camp, so here's some reassuring news: Padres infielder Matt Antonelli had this to say after facing Hoffman on Friday:

In my first at-bat I got to face Trevor Hoffman. It was my first time facing him in my career which was pretty cool, even though he struck me out on his change-up. That pitch is no joke. It really looks like it comes out of his hand like a fastball but stops halfway to the plate.

Elsewhere in camp minutiae:

It's probably nothing, but it's possible the Brewers could look to alleviate their roster issues via trade. Manny Parra was one of several names mentioned in this MLBTR post about the Mariners, who are reportedly looking to add a lefty starter (FanShot). It's hard to tell what the Brewers would want for Parra, but Dave Cameron of USS Mariner has already approved a transaction.

Elsewhere in potentially unsubstantiated rumors: Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe (rarely a reliable source) is listing Joe Mauer and Mark Teixeira's deals (pictured here) as the type of contract it would take to get a long-term deal done with Prince Fielder. I would be very surprised to see the Brewers make an offer on that scale, and to be honest I'd be disappointed, too. Fielder is a rare talent as a hitter and a marketable draw in Milwaukee, but he's not worth that level of risk.

Admittedly, we're pretty high on Yovani Gallardo around here, but where would you rank him against some of the game's other young talents? If you had to offer one pitcher a six-year deal, Minor League Ball wants to know if you'd take Gallardo, Matt Garza, Johnny Cueto or Jair Jurrjens.

I'm on the record as being completely uninterested in fantasy baseball, but this is a nice honor anyway: James Bailey of Hardball Cooperative lists Braun as baseball's most valuable fantasy outfielder.

In the minors:

  • I haven't seen it mentioned elsewhere, but is reporting the Brewers have signed catcher Ben Johnson to a minor league deal. Johnson is 28 years old and split 2009 between AA and AAA in the Angels organization, where he played in 76 games and hit .214/.295/.363. With Carlos Corporan moving on this offseason, Johnson is the likely candidate to fill his spot as Angel Salome's backup in Nashville. Martin Maldonado will likely back up Jonathan Lucroy in Huntsville.
  • Bernie's Crew has some minor league predictions for this season. They're picking Brett Lawrie as organizational player of the year, and Adam Heether as a candidate for biggest disappointment.
  • Baseball Intellect has the second half of their Brewer prospect rankings, covering positions 6-15.

In predictions/projections/rankings:

Around baseball:

Athletics: Signed Chad Gaudin to a major league deal.
Blue Jays: Released outfielder Joey Gathright. 
Cubs: Re-signed pitcher Mike Parisi, who had been their Rule 5 selection from the Cardinals but rejected an outright assignment and became a free agent.
Dodgers: Doug Mientkiewicz has been told he won't make the team and left camp.
Giants: Signed Matt Cain to a contract extension through 2012, buying out his first year of free agency.
Indians: Russell Branyan will open the season on the DL with a herniated disc in his back.
Orioles: Acquired catcher Steven Lerud from the Royals for a PTBNL or cash.
Red Sox: Signed Scott Schoeneweis to a minor league deal (FanShot), and acquired infielder Kevin Frandsen from the Giants for a PTBNL or cash.

Schoeneweis, who was adamant about being unwilling to play in the minors for the Brewers, may end up having to do so for the Red Sox, unless he'd like to retire. His new deal doesn't allow him to opt out until April 15, when the minor league season will have been underway for more than a week.

Elsewhere in Dodger notes, pitcher Ronald Belisario, who had missed most of camp with visa issues, has finally reported to Arizona but will open the season on the restricted list.

"Analyzing stats" is certainly a favorite pastime of the internet baseball fan, but "complaining about other stats" is a close second. Here's Joe Posnanski with far too many words decrying the injustice of the unearned run.

Something else we talk about every spring: Service time manipulation. With top prospect Jason Heyward opening the season as the everyday right fielder for the Braves, Tom Tango has a look at the practice of holding a player down to delay his arbitration eligibility, and the deception attached to it.

Here's a spring training slice of life: The Blue Jays cut infielder Brad Emaus on his birthday...for the second consecutive season.

The Twins are spending a lot of money lately, so it's a good think they're making it too: They've already sold 2.5 million tickets for Target Field in 2010. They sold 2.4 million at the Metrodome all of last season.

I'm honestly surprised this hasn't been mentioned as a possibility at least once during Brewer camp: The Red Sox might use a six man rotation when Daisuke Matsuzaka is healthy enough to pitch again.

Speaking of making money, here's a chance for you to make some: Vegas Watch is giving away $300 to the fan who wins their MLB Over/Under contest. As an added bonus, here's an easy over: The Brewers are projected for 80.5 wins. (h/t Beyond the Box Score)

I'm not even sure I knew he was in camp, but apparently former Brewer Greg Aquino has a chance to make the Cubs.

A couple of notable Brewer historic notes from over the weekend:

  • On Sunday's date in 1977, the Giants traded Mike Caldwell to the Reds. Caldwell would only pitch 14 games as a Red before being traded to the Brewers, where he would go on to pitch 23 complete games in 1978 and win 102 games over eight seasons.
  • On Saturday's date in 1992, the Brewers traded Gary Sheffield to the Padres for Ricky Bones, Matt Mieske and Jose Valentin. Sheffield, who hit .194/.277/.320 in his final season as a Brewer, won the NL batting title while hitting .330/.385/.580 in his first season as a Padre. He lasted just a season and a half in San Diego before becoming Florida's problem.

There's an interesting peppering of two-time Brewers in today's collection of birthdays:

  • 1974-1980 Brewer and former Brewer bullpen and pitching coach Bill Castro turns 58 today.
  • 1997 and 2002 Brewer Alex Ochoa turns 38 today.
  • 2003-04 and 2006 Brewer Dan Kolb turns 35 today.
  • 2009 Brevard County Manatee Brett Whiteside turns 22 today.
  • 2002 Brewer Ryan Christenson turned 36 yesterday.
  • 1989-94 and 2000 Brewer Jaime Navarro turned 43 on Saturday.
  • 2009 Helena Brewer and BCB #7 Community Prospect Jake Odorizzi turned 20 on Saturday.

If there wasn't enough news for you in this morning's Mug, or you missed something over the weekend, scroll down or click here for Noah's Weekend Mug.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to ponder moving to Arizona.

Drink up.