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Jed Bradley stares off into minor league camp.
Jed Bradley stares off into minor league camp.

Some things to read while talking your way out of it.

We're 21 days away from Opening Day and the Brewers made their first cuts of the spring yesterday (FanShot). Here's a quick look at the five players headed out:

  • Jed Bradley has been returned to minor league camp. He had overcome some minor injury concerns early to pitch in two games, including a scoreless inning Wednesday.
  • Anderson De La Rosa was returned to minor league camp. He was an extra catcher and had appeared in four games but received just two at bats.
  • Taylor Jungmann was returned to minor league camp. He last pitched on Sunday, when tough luck derailed him a bit. His best moment of the spring might have been in the intrasquad game, when he pitched two scoreless innings.
  • Brock Kjeldgaard has been optioned to Huntsville after going 0-for-15 with nine strikeouts this spring. @Mass_Haas reminds us that he still has options remaining for 2013 and 2014, if needed.
  • Cody Scarpetta has also been optioned to Huntsville after making just one appearance and pitching a scoreless inning. This is his final option, meaning he'll either have to make the team in 2013 or be exposed to waivers.

Back on the field, a five-run sixth inning gave the Brewers just enough offense to overcome four unearned runs in a 6-4 win over the Padres. I've got the recap, if you missed it.

Taylor Green might have improved his chances of making the Opening Day roster yesterday, as his two-run home run in the sixth put the Brewers ahead for good. Fox 6 News has video from a story on Green, Brooks Conrad and Zelous Wheeler as they work to make a case for a spot on the team this spring. (h/t @Mass_Haas)

Meanwhile, three of the Brewers' six runs came from an unlikely source yesterday, as pitcher Wily Peralta hit a bases-loaded double to blow the game open. Joey Nowak of has a story on Brewer pitchers helping their own cause this spring.

Other notes from the field:

  • Francisco Rodriguez pitched a scoreless fifth inning yesterday but turned it into an adventure with a walk, wild pitch and HBP.
  • 5636 fans paid to see the game in Maryvale.

The Brewers return to action today with a split squad doubleheader, taking on the Royals in Surprise(!) and the Mariners in Tucson at 3. The latter game is part of a fundraiser for the Christina-Taylor Green foundation, named after a nine-year-old girl killed in a shooting in Tucson in January of 2011. John Axford had previously said he'd be pitching today, but that's no longer the case. Marco Estrada will start the Tucson game, but Tom Haudricourt reports that the Brewers will be sending a lineup of "mostly backup types" on the road with him.

Via Mike Vassallo (in two parts), here are the pitchers making the trip today:

Surprise(!) Tucson
Jose Veras Mike McClendon
Kameron Loe Amaury Rivas
Manny Parra Josh Butler
Zach Braddock

Logan Schafer had another hit yesterday and is still batting .550/.571/.900 this spring. He's the latest subject of The Brewer Nation's "Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers" series.

On the other end of the spectrum, Norichika Aoki went 0-for-2 yesterday and is now down to just .167/.194/.233 this spring after eleven games. Ron Roenicke told Tom Haudricourt (linked via Twitter) that he knows Aoki will need some time to adjust to major league pitching.

Jose Veras has allowed just two baserunners in four innings this spring, and Ron Roenicke told Joey Nowak of that he's likely earned an opportunity to be the Brewers' primary seventh inning reliever this season. Veras posted a 3.80 ERA in 79 appearances for the Pirates last season, and has drawn attention this spring for being a very large human being.

Shaun Marcum has slipped off the radar a bit over the last week or so, as he still hasn't pitched in a game following a bout with shoulder soreness this spring. He threw a second bullpen yesterday, though, and Ron Roenicke is still hopeful he'll be ready to be a part of the Opening Day rotation.

This is disappointing and I hope it turns out to be a simple misunderstanding: The Outside Corner noticed that Baseball Reference has a blank space in place of Ryan Braun's name where the 2011 NL MVP should be listed.

In the minors:

If you've been watching the NCAA basketball tournament this week you've likely heard the voice of Brian Anderson, who is calling games for CBS. The USA Today has a story on Anderson, and notes he's the only broadcaster who covered playoff baseball in 2011 and is covering the tournament in 2012.

Around baseball:

Indians: Re-acquired pitcher Kelvin De La Cruz from the Rangers for cash.
Red Sox: Acquired a minor league pitcher from the Cubs as compensation for general manager Theo Epstein.
Royals: Signed shortstop Alcides Escobar to a four year, $10.5 million contract extension with club options for 2016 and 2017.

The Cubs are now done sending players to Boston to complete the deal, but the Red Sox still owe a PTBNL back.

In former Brewers:

  • View From The Bleachers has a profile of Chris Bosio as he prepares for his first season as the Cubs' pitching coach.
  • Dayn Perry of NotGraphs spotted a picture of a young Dale Sveum, and added some details that probably aren't true. It's impossible to be sure, though.

"Valley Fever" is something of an obscure disease, but it's come up often enough lately that Wendy Thurm of FanGraphs has a post wondering if MLB should be worried about it. Ike Davis of the Mets is the only player I've seen diagnosed with it this spring.

Today's most interesting statistical analysis comes via Beyond The Box Score, where Bryan Grosnick uses the stats to make the case that some of baseball's biggest third basemen are also the position's best defenders.

Here are today's spring training slices of life:

I've been to Scottsdale Stadium as part of my spring training trip each of the last two years and I think this Baseball Nation post is a pretty fair assessment of the facility, although I'd make one notable addition: The park has a near-complete lack of shade, so come with lots of sunscreen and prepared to drink about $20 worth of bottled water.

This morning's edition of Today In Brewer History celebrates Wisconsin native, Madison alum and eleven-year big leaguer Rick Reichardt's 70th birthday. Plunk Everyone notes that his 66 career HBP are also the second most ever for a player born on March 16. Chris Jaffe of The Hardball Times notes that it's also been 9000 days since Paul Molitor stole second, third and home in the first inning of a game against the A's.

Yesterday I mentioned 1984-85 Brewer Jim Kern's birthday, but David Schoenfield points out a detail I missed: His "black, wide-brimmed Amish hat."

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to find another bandwagon.

Drink up.