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Friday's Frosty Mug

Some things to read while Simon saves the princess.

It could be a very busy day on the transaction front for the Brewers. First, Gregg Zaun is expected to be placed on the DL with a sore shoulder, and Jonathan Lucroy will be called up to take his place (FanShot). Zaun aggravated the injury swinging the bat last night, and had to be removed from the game. Lucroy isn't on the 40-man roster, so someone will have to be removed to make room for him.

A 25-man roster spot will also have to be opened up for Carlos Gomez, who has finished his rehab assignment in Appleton and is expected to be activated today. If you were on the 6:15 flight from Appleton to Minneapolis this morning, odds are you were on a plane with him. In that post, Adam McCalvy also notes that Zach Braddock could also be called up today, creating the need for the Brewers to free up another spot on both the 25 and 40 man rosters.

This is just my guess, but I expect Adam Stern to be designated for assignment today, freeing up a 25-man spot for Gomez and a 40-man spot for Lucroy. On the other side, I'm not sure what will happen with Braddock, although I wouldn't be surprised to see Claudio Vargas DFA'd as well.

Meanwhile, the Brewers tried something new with the batting order last night, batting Prince Fielder third and Ryan Braun fourth for the first time since early 2008. The Brewers won but I'm not sure you can call the change a success: Rickie Weeks, Alcides Escobar, Fielder and Braun batted 1-4 and combined to go 1-for-16 in the game.

With that said, the Brewers got a "just good enough to win" start from Chris Narveson and an outstanding performance from the bullpen, with John Axford and Carlos Villanueva combining to pitch three hitless innings, allowing just a walk and an HBP. Disciples of Uecker noted that Axford got four swinging strikes in fourteen attempts with his fastball. Also, Trenni and Howie Magner both love his mustache.

Other notes from the field:

  • Carlos Villanueva's save was his first since May 5 of last season.
  • Chris Narveson threw 112 pitches last night, after throwing 130 on Saturday.
  • Axford, George Kottaras and Villanueva are leading FanGraphs' Star of the Game vote.
  • CoolStandings has the Brewer playoff chances at 6%.
  • With Jody Gerut away for the birth of his child, the Brewers used Yovani Gallardo as a pinch hitter last night. Even if Gerut, who is lefthanded, hadn't left the team, Gallardo would have been the best righthanded option.
  • Umpire John Hirschbeck left last night's game in the first inning with concussionlike symptoms after taking one of Chris Narveson's warmup pitches off his mask.

Off the field, Doug Melvin gave a vote of confidence to Ken Macha in a radio interview yesterday morning. Melvin is getting pretty close to being the only one on Macha's side: Disciples of Uecker and Wisconsin Sports Tap both joined the crowd calling for Macha's firing yesterday.

Really, though, I don't think we should be surprised by the vote of confidence. Even if Melvin is starting to consider managerial change, it's not like he could go on the radio and say this:

Yeah, we'll probably fire Ken on Monday, but he doesn't know yet so don't tell him, ok?

Their combined advocacy for keeping Doug Melvin created something I never would've expected to see: Here's a Miller Park Drunk/Al's Ramblings crossover.

With the roster somewhat uncertain, roughly 27 Brewers made the trip to Minnesota last night. Among the Brewers uncertain about their role is Trevor Hoffman, who told Adam McCalvy he hasn't heard what, if anything, he'll be doing this weekend. I guess there's a small chance that he could be the one to go to make room for Braddock, but I wouldn't bet anything significant on it.

If you're following the Brewers to Target Field for the first time this weekend, morineko has a visitor's guide.

In the minors:

  • David Riske continues to inch closer to a big league return, and has been promoted to Nashville to continue his rehab work.Riske made three appearances for Brevard County, throwing two clean innings and having one rough two inning outing.
  • Josh Butler struggled in a rehab start for Brevard County last night, allowing seven runs on nine hits in just 2.1 innings, Mat Gamel also had a rough night, going 0-for-3 and grounding into a double play in his first game of 2010. We've got much more (including a 15 inning game for Wisconsin) in today's Minor League Notes.
  • With 100 games served, Jeremy Jeffress is eligible to return from his suspension today. With that said, he's battling some forearm tightness and might not be ready to pitch for a little while. (h/t Battlekow)
  • Earlier this week I noted 2009 6th round pick Hiram Burgos' demotion to Helena after 20 relief innings for Wisconsin. Chris Mehring has a deeper look at Burgos' performance and an explanation of the organization's decision to take it slow with him.

In power rankings and whatnot:

  • Yahoo has dropped the Brewers all the way to 28th, ahead of only the Astros and Orioles.
  • The Sporting News has unveiled their annual ranking of baseball's top 50 players, and has Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun back-to-back at 21 and 22. (h/t Hardball Talk)

Finally, we have evidence to use in a debate that's been raging in my head for months now: Could an eight year old replace Telly Hughes?

Actually, this is the quote that probably should have been given to an eight year old: Ryan Braun says Andy LaRoche got him out with "some sort of Matrix thing" in the ninth inning Wednesday.

Around baseball:

Diamondbacks: Signed right hander Luis Ayala to a minor league deal.
Padres: Placed outfielder Kyle Blanks on the DL with an elbow strain.
Pirates: Placed lefty Jack Taschner on the DL with a hamstring strain.
Yankees: Placed Jorge Posada on the DL with a broken foot and signed catcher Rene Rivera to a minor league deal.

In former Brewer notes:

The Brewers could have two players (Lucroy and Braddock) making their major league debut tonight, and leaguewide we'll probably see several more in the coming weeks: Jeff Fletcher notes that we're starting to hit the point in the season where players can be brought up without running the risk of becoming Super 2's down the road.

Interleague play opens tonight, followed shortly thereafter by complaints about its irrelevance and unfairness. If you're boycotting interleague games, then you might want to check out this weekend's Pirates-Braves series, the only intraleague games on the schedule.

As if professional baseball in Canada didn't have enough issues, now there's this: The MLBPA sent out a memo yesterday informing players that some players with criminal records have been detained at the Canadian border.

We had years to ponder and consider Ned Yost as manager of the Brewers, and I'm not sure any of us ever summed it up as well as Rany Jazayerli did after one week:

Six days into the Ned Yost era, and I’m convinced that he is the managerial equivalent of a Rorschach Blot. What you see in him says less about him than it does about you.

On this day one year ago, the Brewers traded Tony Gwynn Jr. to the Padres for Jody Gerut.

Happy birthday today to 1996-97 Brewer Bryce Florie, who turns 40.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going shopping.

Drink up.