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Friday's Early Mug

Some things to read while looking for Michael Hunt.

You may break out your Bermuda shorts today and bask in the near-60 degree weather, but don't let this summer tease fool you. Snow is in the forecast, and Opening Day 1982 against the Indians in Milwaukee may be in jeopardy.

Mike Caldwell has the Brewers worried. His latest debacle was two days ago when he pitched five innings and gave up five runs on 10 hits. Normally, this may be chalked up to working out the kinks in spring training. But those same kinks followed Caldwell in the second half of the 1981 season when he was bombed for a 5.79 ERA in 11 starts. Those numbers are actually charitable since his ERA over his final seven appearances in September and October was 7.01.

"I'm starting to get concerned," said Manager Buck Rodgers on Caldwell. Consensus is that Caldwell is having issues with his mechanics. According to The Milwaukee Sentinel, there are no immediate plans to remove Caldwell from the rotation.

According to Tom Flaherty of The Milwaukee Journal, the Brewers are getting restless.

  • Gorman Thomas: "I can't wait until we get home."
  • Jim Gantner: "I think four weeks would be plenty for everyday players. The pitchers need more."
  • Cecil Cooper: "I'm bored with this more than anything else. It gets long about a week ago. I know what I have to do. No one's pressing me for a job."

Young pitcher Doug Jones, who needs every day he can get to make the team, is creating a stir. Jones is battling pitchers Jerry Augustine, Dwight Bernard and Frank DiPino for the final two spots in the bullpen. Although he has pitched well enough to make the team, seniority doesn't work in Jones' favor and he's unlikely to survive the final cuts.

That doesn't mean the Brewers don't love Doug Jones. "Whatever happens to Doug Jones," said Buck Rodgers, "whether he makes the team or not, he should know that he's made a lot of friends here. Whether he stays or goes, it's just a matter of time for him." Some Brewers officials project Jones to be the eventual successor to closer Rollie Fingers.

Other teams have taken notice, too. An Orioles scout approached Brewers owner Bud Selig to tell him the team loves Jones. "Everybody loves him."

Rollie Fingers feels good after a two-week layoff recovering from a left shoulder injury that occurred while wrestling with fellow pitchers. His only issue after his last appearance was finding his pants that were hidden by teammates.

Youngster Mike Madden, sent down recently, is considered the top available minor league starter. He has been told that when a starting pitcher is needed, he will be the first to get called.

Other notes for the Brewers off the field:

  • Recent moves by the Brewers trimmed the roster to 27. Two more pitchers need to go by Opening Day on April 6.
  • Pitcher Willie Mueller's contract was optioned to the Montreal Expos' Triple-A club in Wichita, Kansas. Mueller, 25 of West Bend, isn't happy. Mueller: "Optioned! Maybe I'll just go home and drive a truck."
  • Chuck Porter was sent to Triple-A Vancouver. He allowed only two singles and a double in 7 1/3 innings of A games. Porter: "I guess I got caught up in the numbers game and the politics."
  • The Brewers now have 12 pitchers on the roster and Buck Rodgers says they will go into the season with 10. Jerry Augustine, Dwight Bernard, Frank DiPino and Doug Jones are fighting for the final two spots. Bernard and Augustine have been awful, but Bernard pitched well down the stretch last season and Augustine has three years guaranteed left on his contract.
  • DiPino didn't do himself any favors his last time out when he allowed three hits and three walks in two innings. Rodgers on DiPino: "His velocity was outstanding. But his command was not there at all."
  • Outfielder Bob Skube was sent to Vancouver.
  • Kevin Bass made the team, meaning that Marshall Edwards is the odd man out. Bass: "Excited? That's an understatement."
  • Lawrence Rush, who had been battling Bass and Edwards for the final outfield spot, was also cut.
  • Other clubs have expressed interest in Rush, and he may be dealt. The Brewers are in the market for a utility infielder in addition to Ed Romero and are dangling Roy Howell, Don Money, Charlie Moore and Rush.
  • The Brewers asked waivers on pitcher Mike Parrott a couple of days ago for purpose of giving him his unconditional release. Parrott was acquired recently for outfielder Thad Bosley. Rodgers on Parrott: "He threw one fastball that was even close to what we thought he could throw." Parrott had been acquired when it appeared the team needed bullpen depth. The emergence of several young pitchers made the move possible.

Notes on the field:

  • The Brewers were shut down by the Padres 5-1 in Cactus League play yesterday.
  • Lefty Tim Lollar held the Brewers to four hits in seven innings pitched. Rodgers on Lollar: "That's the best pitching we've seen all spring, on either side of the coin."
  • Oft injured Paul Molitor attempted to steal home in the first inning and was banged up after slamming into catcher Doug Gwosdz and was out easily. Molitor was limping noticeably after the game, but the bruise should only hold him out a day. Said Rodgers on Molitor: "I could have killed him... He has good baseball sense, for the most part."
  • After the loss, the Brewers fell to 8-11 on the spring.

Around baseball:

Giants: Traded Vida Blue to the Royals and Doyle Alexander to the Yankees.
Red Sox: Bruce Hurst, 24 and a former top prospect, and Mark Fidrych, the former rookie sensation with the Tigers, are both attempting comebacks with Boston.
Cardinals: Third baseman Ken Oberkfell will miss the first two weeks of the season with a broken thumb. Dane Iorg or Mike Ramsey will replace him.
Rangers: Dealt All-Star first baseman Al Oliver to the Expos for third baseman Larry Parrish and first baseman Dave Hostetler. Oliver, 35, has hit over .300 for five straight seasons.
Astros: Gave pitcher JR Richard, who is continuing his comeback from a 1980 stroke, the option of starting the season on the DL or in the minors.
Dodgers: Fernando Valenzuela, who held out for 22 days while waiting for a better contract, made his first start against the Red Sox and allowed one unearned run in two innings.
White Sox: Thieves broke into the White Sox spring training clubhouse in Sarasota, Fla. and stole $2,000 worth of jerseys and gloves belonging to Greg Luzinski, Carlton Fisk, Tom Paciorek, Steve Kemp and Ron LeFlore.

The trades of Blue and Alexander are especially interesting. They were the Giants' top two starters and the team had already traded starters Tom Griffin, Allen Ripley and Ed Witson. The five pitchers had started 100 of the team's 111 games last season.

Vida Blue didn't have the nicest things to say about the Giants: "Nobody knows what's going on," he told the AP. "This organization appears not to have any direction. Am I bitter? Hell, no."

New York Yankees outfielder Lou Piniella on pitcher Doyle Alexander, who was acquired by the Yankees after not appearing in spring training and then signed to a $2.2 million contract: "If he wins 20 games, nobody will come to spring training next year."

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

  • Former Milwaukee Braves pitcher Red Murff, who turns 61.
  • Former Brewers pitcher Tom Hausmann, who turned 29 yesterday.

Radio Today

  • 12:30 pm (WMAQ 670) - White Sox vs. Pirates at Sarasota, Fla.
  • 1:55 pm (WISN 1130) - Brewers vs. Indians at Sun City, Ari.
  • 1:55 pm (WGN 720) - Cubs vs. A's at Mesa, Ari.
  • 6:00 pm (WISN 1130) - Sheridan's Sportscall with guest Buck Rodgers
  • 6:30 pm (WTMJ 620) - Jack Baker's Sports Talk Open Line

Have a happy April first, ya fool!

Drink up.

J. Scott Loomer is a dude with a cool name and uncool hairstyle who is helplessly stuck in the past. He is the crazy person behind @TweetsFrom1982 on Twitter, which was started midway through 2010 to chronicle the events of the 1982 Brewers' season as they would have happened at the same time on that day. He had so much fun with it that was created. You can now follow both the 1982 and 1987 Brewers in the words of Loomer and Rob Peterson on Twitter (@TweetsFrom1982 and @TweetsFrom1987), Facebook (Brewers Updates From 1982 and Brewers Updates From 1987) and the growing PastKast network (, and If you prefer leaving the past in the past, hitch your wagon to @BrewCrewLive.