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Thursday's Frosty Mug

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Some things to read while writing a book review.

Today's Cactus League finale has had the ever-dreaded "Weather Pemitting" tag attached to it, with Adam McCalvy noting that the grounds crew had the tarp on the field last night, as heavy rain was expected to fall in Phoenix overnight. Looking at the radar this morning, though, it appears the system has passed and today's game should be played without a problem.

Corey Hart continues to struggle, opening the door for Jim Edmonds to potentially start in right field on Opening Day. Bob Nightengale of USA Today cites Hart, who is 1-for his last 27 (and was caught stealing after the single), as proof that spring training stats do matter. At least Hart is saying the right things about his struggles, giving this quote to Tom Haudricourt:

Asked if he feared his spring woes might cost him playing time, including an opening day start, Hart said, "I wouldn’t feel good about it but at the same time I did this to myself. Obviously, I haven’t had the spring they want me to have.

"If that happens, I’ll have to work to get back in their good graces. It’s not from a lack of work. I’ve just got to keep battling. If I go out and do well when I get my chance, everything will be OK."

On the other end of the spectrum, Carlos Gomez has 13 hits in his last 37 at bats (batting .351), and has stolen five bases over that time to expand his spring training-leading total to eleven. Adam McCalvy reports that Ken Macha has enlisted Dale Sveum, Prince Fielder and Rickie Weeks to work with Gomez on stressing the importance of getting on base. He's still only drawn two walks this spring, but if he can use his speed to hit .300, he'll be ok.

Todd Coffey had a rough outing yesterday, allowing three runs in an inning of work, but apparently he had a pretty good excuse: He was pitching with a ruptured eardrum. He's expected to see a doctor today.

Speaking of pitching through injuries, Tom Haudricourt has some details and thoughts from Jeff Suppan regarding the neck issue that will keep him on the shelf for Opening Day.

Here's a telling sign of the difference between this year and last year's Brewer pitching staff: Mike Burns made eight starts for the 2009 Brewers, but yesterday the team released him (FanShot), with Gord Ash saying he wasn't one of the top five candidates to start in AAA. Burns never appeared in a Cactus League game this spring.

Elsewhere in camp minutiae:

If the Brewers can't find a way to win this season, it won't be for lack of effort from the front office. Adam McCalvy notes that only three teams spent more than the Brewers on free agents this offseason: the Red Sox, Cardinals and Mets (FanShot).

Minor league camp is winding down, and for some notable minor leaguers that means the end of their run in the Brewer organization. Via and Baseball America, we know the Brewers have cut ties with all of the following players:

  • Australian starting pitcher David Welch, who had a 3.96 ERA over 266 AA innings in 2008 and 2009.
  • 2008 6th round pick Jose Duran, who hit .221/.295/.299 for the Timber Rattlers last season.
  • 2007 16th round pick Joel Morales, who pitched briefly in Arizona and for Helena last season.
  • 2008 25th round pick John Delaney, who hit .207/.327/.291 for the Timber Rattlers last season.
  • 2008 26th round pick C Derrick Alfonso, who played briefly for Helena, Wisconsin and Brevard County in 2009.
  • 2009 27th round pick Ryan Platt, who posted a 5.54 ERA in 26 innings between Helena and Arizona last season.
  • 2008 31st round pick and Brandon Rapoza, who posted a 2.13 ERA in 67.2 innings for Brevard County last season.
  • 2009 Star and Sound Juan Sandoval, who posted a 4.91 ERA in 58.2 IP between AA and AAA in 2009.
  • 2009 Huntsville 2B Shane Justis, who posted a .277/.346/.385 line in AA last season.
  • 2009 Huntsville SS Yohannis Perez, who hit .262/.317/.355 in AA last season.
  • 2009 BC Mantaee Rafael Lluberes, who posted a 3.51 ERA in 51.1 IP.

Baseball America also noted that Chris Ellington, a 2009 32nd round pick who hit .285/.320/.465 in Helena last season, has decided to retire.

Elsewhere in the minors:

  • Minor League Baseball Prospects has sorted their top prospect lists by category. Evan Anundsen, Jake Odorizzi, Maverick Lasker, Eric Arnett, Kyle Heckathorn, Mark Rogers and Wily Peralta all appear on the pitching lists, and Caleb Gindl, Brett Lawrie, Alcides Escobar, Jonathan Lucroy and Taylor Green appear on the hitting lists.
  • Adam Foster of Project Prospect has one of the worst reviews of Brett Lawrie's defense I've seen, saying a scout gave him an F- defensive review and said he "only cares about hitting." The same scout projects Lawrie as a DH-only candidate.

On predictions, projections, rankings and whatnot:

Meanwhile, our Community Predictions have the Brewers winning 86.1 games and finishing second in the Central. Prediction Week continues today and tomorrow, so keep checking back.

I'm guessing it's possible at least one of our readers was in this cardboard box waiting to buy tickets for Opening Day. I haven't decided if the story is sad or awesome, but I'm leaning towards awesome.

If you're looking for another Brewers blog to add to your reading list as the season approaches, you could certainly do worse than Disciples of Uecker, a new Brewer blog by Jack Moore, of FanGraphs and Beyond the Box Score fame.

Around baseball:

Angels: Outfielder Reggie Willits could open the season on the DL with a hamstring strain.
Blue Jays: Pitcher Marc Rzepczynski will open the season on the DL with a broken finger.
Dodgers: Released outfielder Jason Repko.
Mariners: Corey Patterson has opted out of his minor league deal, becoming a free agent.
Mets: Jose Reyes (thyroid) and Daniel Murphy (right knee) will open the season on the DL.
Royals: Will be allowed to keep Rule 5 pick Edgar Osuna, after the Braves declined to take him back.

Meanwhile, Jarrod Washburn continues to wait and watch the market. The Mariners have a spot available and reportedly made him an offer, but he rejected it.

Ever wondered if pitchers or positions players are more likely to get injured? Beyond the Box Score has some pie charts that will finally give you an answer: Both sides are equally likely to get injured, but pitchers spend a little longer on the DL.

Expanding the influence of baseball internationally remains a top priority for Major League Baseball, and they're continuing to find new ways to do it. Apparently there's conversation taking place about spring training games in Italy sometime in the next few years.

I've discussed the financial plight of minor leaguers several times before, as many players are living on next to nothing while they pursue their dream of making the major leagues. Garrett Broshuis has a story at Baseball America that really drives home the depth of the issue.

On this day in 1970, Bud Selig finalized the purchase of the Seattle Pilots and moved the team to Milwaukee. The team played their first home game at Milwaukee County Stadium just six days later.

One year earlier, on this day in 1969, the Pilots traded outfielder Lou Piniella to the Royals for reliever John Gelnar and outfielder Steve Whitaker. Neither incoming player would do much for the Pilots, but Piniella won the AL Rookie of the Year with the Royals.

Happy birthday today to:

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go melt some chocolate.

Drink up.