Some things to read while conveniently losing a frisbee.
We're 35 days away from Opening Day, and we're ready to start discussing pitching assignments for this weekend's first game action. Mike Vassallo reports that Taylor Jungmann, Mark Rogers, Tyler Thornburg, Manny Parra and Dan Meadows are expected to pitch in an intrasquad game tomorrow. We've previously mentioned that Randy Wolf and Zack Greinke will pitch on Sunday, but the team also announced that they'll be followed to the mound by Chris Narveson Monday and Yovani Gallardo Tuesday.
Sunday could be the first step in a big season for Zack Greinke: Call To The Pen makes the case that he could contend for the Cy Young Award in 2012. Of course, Greinke isn't the only Brewer pitcher with those aspirations. Mark Simon of ESPN says Yovani Gallardo's curveball "could make him a viable Cy Young candidate in coming seasons."
Meanwhile, another Brewer starting pitcher is taking a step in the wrong direction: Shaun Marcum is slowed again this spring by shoulder soreness, although he says it's not as bad as the soreness that caused him to miss a start last spring and be limited to open the season. Either way, Ron Roenicke says Marcum and Yovani Gallardo will have light springs after setting career highs for innings in 2011.
If you've been around the internet in the last 24 hours you've likely heard that Ryan Braun's lawyers issued a statement in response to sample collector Dino Laurenzi Jr's statement in response to Ryan Braun's statement about...well, you get the point. Just like the last statement, I don't feel like anything in here changes anything so I'm not going to burn any time on it. Here's some other stuff on the topic, though:
- Don Walker of the JS (behind the paywall) notes that a recent Public Policy Poll shows that 59% of Wisconsinites still have a favorable opinion of Braun.
- Braun was the subject of this week's Bomani & Jones #beatemdown.
- The Onion took a pot shot.
Braun's appeal victory leaves the Brewers with a surplus of capable outfielders. Reviewing The Brew looks at the possibility that they could consider trading Nyjer Morgan.
John Axford remains the only Brewer who hasn't signed a contract for 2012, but that will likely change soon. Tom Haudricourt says they'll likely agree to a one year deal in the short team but still have interest in working out a five year contract.
While the Brewers prepare for the 2012 season, we can rest assured they've learned at least one lesson from a 2011 mishap: Chris Narveson isn't using grown-up scissors anymore.
As more athletes show up on Twitter we're faced with the growing likelihood that they'll say something they shouldn't and get themselves in trouble. Fortunately, John Axford and some others have come together to produce and promote a service to prevent that.
The big news around baseball yesterday and today is speculation that the league is about to announce plans to add a second wild card team to both leagues in 2012, and use a single game playoff to
make the championship structure even more of an unfair crap shoot decide which non-division winning team will advance. Chris Narveson and Carlos Gomez appear to be in favor of the move, while Ron Roenicke seems to understand the likely pitfall. Either way, Amy K. Nelson of SB Nation reports that the schedule difficulties caused by this move could force higher seeded teams to open on the road in Divisional Series play this year.
I'm pretty optimistic about the Brewers' chances to repeat as NL Central champions in 2012 and I think many of you are too (Ron Roenicke Stole My Baseball certainly is), but it's worth noting that not everyone shares that opinion: Roughly 27% of voters at MLB Trade Rumors selected the Brewers as the 90-win team most likely to disappoint in 2012.
Spring training standings don't mean anything...except, of course, for when they do. Jim McClennan of AZ Snakepit notes that the Brewers were actually better last spring than they were during the regular season.
This is Craig Counsell's first spring training as a non-player, and ASU student Krustin Couturier of the JS (linked via Twitter) has a story on the adjustment to life in the front office.
We spent a fair amount of time over the winter discussing the possibility of Jimmy Rollins joining the Brewers, but it's worth noting that it was never really going to happen. Rollins told Danny Knobler of CBS Sports that he would've liked to go back to the west coast, but didn't want to come to Milwaukee.
The Brewers made a minor transaction yesterday, signing Gary Roenicke (brother of Ron and resident of Rough and Ready, California) as a pro scout. Now that he's with his brother's team, Gary may have to relocate.
- Santo Manzanillo threw another bullpen session yesterday and, despite having his throwing arm immobilized for 15 days following a car accident this winter, appears to be on track to be ready for Opening Day.
- The Brewer Nation continued their "Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers" series with a profile of Mark Rogers.
- Mike Fiers isn't on the list of Brewers expected to pitch in the coming days, but Ron Roenicke said he's excited to see his work this spring.
- Tim Livingston of The Outside Corner has a tour of the Florida State League.
Today in rankings and whatnot:
- MLB Network listed six Brewers among their top 100 players, led by Ryan Braun at #9.
- Larry Granillo and Stephani Bell of Baseball Prospectus wrote a two part preview of the NL Central. The Brewers are covered in the second half.
- FanGraphs' crowd-sourced rankings say the Brewer TV team (Brian Anderson and Bill Schroeder) is the game's seventh best.
- Jim Caple of ESPN says the Brewers have baseball's 22nd best uniforms.
Our Community Projections project continues this week and today we're discussing left and right fielders. This is the last post on position players, so we're close to seeing the final results.
If you'd like more Brewer content today but you're sick of reading, you can listen online to my appearance last night on Brewers Weekly on WTMJ (I'm around the 40-45 minute mark.). @Mass_Haas also has links to archived audio of Yovani Gallardo and Adam McCalvy's appearances on WSSP.
Mariners: Outfielder Franklin Gutierrez has a torn pectoral muscle and is unlikely to be ready for Opening Day.
Pirates: Pitcher A.J. Burnett is unlikely to be ready for Opening Day following surgery to repair a broken orbital bone.
The transaction wasn't notable enough to make the above list, but this Lookout Landing post on the Mariners signing a 16 year old from France might be the best thing I've read this morning.
Fortunately the injury isn't serious, but it's worth noting that things like this probably don't happen at newer spring training facilities: Twins outfielder Denard Span suffered a cut lip when he ran into a chain link fence on one of the team's minor league fields following a fly ball.
Here are today's spring training slices of life:
- Phillies outfielder Domonic Brown hit teammate Jose Contreras' truck with a home run ball yesterday, and later the same day was hit by a pitch. After seeing a picture of Contreras' truck you'll be forced to acknowledge that it would've been pretty hard to miss.
- The Marlins are changing their name (from Florida to Miami) for 2012 and so is one of their best players: The slugger formerly known as Mike Stanton is now going by Giancarlo.
I was rooting for a current or former Brewer to show up in "The Tight Pants Club," just so I'd have an excuse to link something that made me laugh out loud. I didn't find any, but I'm linking it anyway.
Today's only actual former Brewer note, meanwhile, is this Tom Singer story from MLB.com about Casey McGehee competing for playing time at first base with the Pirates.
This morning's edition of Today In Brewer History remembers a Brewer win over the Cubs in spring training last year that was highlighted by a six run first inning and a dugout altercation between Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Silva. Chris Jaffe of The Hardball Times notes that it's also been 9000 days since Cecil Cooper's final major league appearance.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to find somewhere else to sit.