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Some things to read while Seussing the lyrics.

If you weren't already, it's time to start getting excited, folks. The Brewers' final Cactus League game is today and the team flies to Cincinnati tonight to start getting ready for what John Axford called "2011 Brewers Domination Station." If the 2011 season really needs a nickname, I hope we come up with something better than that.

Yesterday's biggest news might be something that didn't happen: Shaun Marcum was able to make his start yesterday and showed no signs of the shoulder stiffness that put him on the shelf for almost two weeks. He threw 68 pitches yesterday, allowing three runs on four hits (including two home runs), walking one and striking out four.

Meanwhile, the Brewers' depth took a hit yesterday as Luis Cruz refused his outright assignment to the minors and is expected to sign with the Rangers (FanShot). Since Craig Counsell likely isn't in a position to play short every day at this point in his career, that leaves Edwin Maysonet as the most likely candidate to fill in if something happened to Yuniesky Betancourt.

Other notes from the field:

  • Erick Almonte will likely be the biggest surprise on the Opening Day roster. In a classy move, he went over to minor league camp to thank AAA manager Don Money and his staff for helping him reach this point.
  • Adam McCalvy talked to Sergio Mitre, who pitched 2.2 innings in his Brewer debut yesterday. He mentioned something I should have known but didn't consider: Mitre pitched for new Brewer pitching coach Rick Kranitz with the Marlins and in the Cubs organization.
  • McCalvy also talked to Corey Hart, who said he's hoping to rejoin the team sometime in mid-April, but doesn't appear to have a rehab assignment lined up yet. Jonathan Lucroy and LaTroy Hawkins will open the season on assignment with Brevard County.
  • Kati Shearer of the JS has a profile of Sarah McGehee, Casey's wife.
  • Zach Braddock is keeping a dead scorpion in his locker.

The new, "aggressive" Brewers are going to be exciting to watch at times, but it's starting to look like they'll raise our frustration level a little too. Jaymes Langrehr of The Brewers Bar sees danger in the decision to combine the NL caught stealing leader in 2009 and 2010 with a manager that wants to run.

Yovani Gallardo might not have been the Brewers' first choice to start on Thursday, but he's still a pretty good option. Satchel Price of Beyond the Box Score sorted this week's Opening Day starters into five tiers and has Gallardo on the second one.

Back at home, the Brewers unveiled their 2011 TV ads yesterday (FanShot). There are seven in total, but this one featuring John Axford is clearly the best of them.

The link above also features some of the first photos of the new scoreboard in action. Doug Russell has another angle.

If you were hoping to drink a beer while watching that scoreboard on Saturday (or any other time this season), bring an extra quarter. The Brewers have raised beer prices for 2011, but left most other concession prices the same.

In the minors:

  • Chris Mehring is getting ready to come back from Arizona, and has recaps up for days four and five of his trip. I found the rundown from day five especially interesting.
  • He also has a recap of yesterday's Wisconsin/Brevard County intrasquad game.
  • Prospect Madness continues at Bernie's Crew: The last matchup I've seen features Mark Rogers and Zelous Wheeler.

Today in predictions, power rankings and the like:

  • The staff of The Hardball Times has the Brewers as their consensus pick to win the NL Central. In addition, they gave Ryan Braun three votes for MVP, Yovani Gallardo and Zack Greinke one vote each for NL Cy Young and one writer picked the Brewers to win the World Series.
  • You Can't Predict Baseball is breaking their own rules and picking the Brewers to win the Central.
  • Four of five writers from the Tacoma News Tribune have the Brewers finishing second, and the remaining writer has them finishing third.
  • The News Tribune also has the Brewers 12th in their power rankings.
  • has the Brewers tenth, down three spots.

If you haven't yet, please take a moment this morning to vote in this week's BCB Tracking Poll. The poll closes at game time today and I'll post results tonight or tomorrow morning.

Around baseball:

Diamondbacks: Placed infielder Geoff Blum on the DL with knee soreness.
Dodgers: Signed pitcher Chad Billingsley to a three year, $35-36 million contract extension. Also, outfielder Jay Gibbons will open the season on the DL with an eye issue.
Indians: Released pitcher Doug Mathis.
Mariners: Released infielder Josh Wilson.
Orioles: Released outfielder Randy Winn.
Padres: Acquired infielder Alberto Gonzalez from the Nationals for a minor leaguer and cash, and released infielder Oscar Salazar. Also, pitcher Mat Latos will open the season on the DL with shoulder soreness.
Rockies: Acquired infielder Josh Fields from the Pirates for a PTBNL or cash.
Royals: Acquired catcher Matt Treanor from the Rangers for cash.
Twins: Traded a minor league pitcher to the Braves in exchange for the rights to Rule 5 pick Scott Diamond.
Yankees: Released infielder Ronnie Belliard.

Today's former Brewer notes:

Here's another friendly reminder that we're not far away from the first Tater Trot of 2011. Larry Granillo of Baseball Prospectus established some context by looking back at 2010's average trots.

Speaking of home runs, it's almost hard to believe we haven't heard more about Jim Thome this spring. He enters the season 11 home runs shy of 600. (h/t Bailey Stephens)

With help from the B-Ref Play Index, happy birthday today to:

  • 2003-04 and 2006 Brewer Dan Kolb, who turns 36.
  • 1999 and 2002 Brewer Alex Ochoa, who turns 38.
  • 1993 Brewer Juan Bell, who turns 42.
  • 1983-84 Brewer Tom Tellman, who turns 57.
  • 1974-80 Brewer and former Brewer pitching and bullpen coach Bill Castro, who turns 58.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I might be in some trouble.

Drink up.