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Tuesday's Frosty Mug

Jose Veras was a minor league free agent last winter, so he's in line for a nice raise regardless of today's outcome.
Jose Veras was a minor league free agent last winter, so he's in line for a nice raise regardless of today's outcome.

Some things to read while Vince McMahon ruins your coffee.

We're four days away from pitchers and catchers reporting to Maryvale, and by the end of the day we should have a near-certain picture of the 2012 payroll. Jose Veras, the team's last unsigned arbitration-eligible player, and the Brewers had their hearing yesterday, and the results are expected today (FanShot). Veras requested $2.375 million from the team, who countered with a $2 million offer. That difference doesn't seem like much but, as Mykenk points out, there is another gap to consider.

Yesterday we reported that John Axford was held up on the way into the US due to some border issues regarding his son. Today I'm happy to report those issues have been resolved and the Axfords are likely in Phoenix by now.

It's safe to assume that Axford and nearly every other Brewer regular and veteran won't play in this game: The team announced yesterday that they'll play a game in Tucson against the Mariners on March 16. It's a split squad game (the Brewers also visit the Royals on that day), but technically listed as a Brewer home game. Players who can get away with it usually avoid the long bus ride from Phoenix like the plague.

2012 will be Jonathan Lucroy's second full major league season, and he's already become steady enough that we kind of take him for granted. J.P. Breen of Disciples of Uecker has a look at Lucroy's slide to end the 2011 season and his expectations for 2012.

In the minors:

Many of you will probably recall that last spring the JS was shorthanded with Todd Rosiak still covering Marquette, so the paper turned to several Arizona State journalism students to help fill the gap. The program has apparently expanded this spring, and the Brewers are now one of four teams that will have students.

Around baseball:

Athletics: Signed outfielder Yoenis Cespedes to a four year, $36 million deal.
Blue Jays: Signed reliever Casey Janssen to a two year, $5.9 million deal with a club option for 2014, avoiding arbitration.
Red Sox: Signed DH David Ortiz to a one year, $14.75 million deal to avoid arbitration.

Even with the Cespedes signing, Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports lists the A's as one of five teams that got worse this winter and won't make the playoffs in 2012.

While the Brewers get ready to report to Maryvale, their NL Central rivals are also days away from opening their 2012 seasons. Mark Sheldon of has a list of the site's spring previews from around the division.

In former Brewers: Tim Brown of Yahoo has a great, extended story on baseball in the Dominican Republic that features Dave Valle and a moment during his time in winter ball that appears to have changed the direction of his life.

This morning's edition of Today In Brewer History celebrates Takashi Saito's 42nd birthday. Kelly Stinnett also turns 42 today, and Plunk Everyone notes that he's second among all February 14-born batters with 42 career HBP.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to submit a complaint.

Drink up.