Some things to read while your softball team gets better.
We're 31 days away from Opening Day and the Brewers picked up their first spring training victory last night, beating the Giants 7-3 in Scottsdale. Chris Narveson's first outing of the spring could not have gone much better: He threw two perfect innings in his Cactus League debut. He's one of the Brewer pitchers working on a cutter this spring, and reports he "threw 3-4 and felt pretty good."
The Brewers are back in action and back on TV this afternoon, playing the A's is Maryvale at 2:05 on FS Wisconsin. Yovani Gallardo is scheduled to make his spring debut, and Tyler Thornburg says he's also scheduled to make an appearance.
While the Brewers are in Maryvale this afternoon, Corey Hart will be in Glendale having arthroscopic surgery on his right knee performed by team doctor William Raasch and Dr. Evan Lederman. He told Todd Rosiak (linked via Twitter) he still feels like there's a chance he could be ready for Opening Day. He also said this, with my added emphasis:
"It's just trying to get into baseball shape," he said. "I can go over (to the minor-league complex) and get nine at-bats a game if I want to. It'll be good, because I won't have to worry about first base, and I can play every other day."
That raised an important point for me: The Brewers were planning on getting Hart some time at first this spring so he could serve as a backup and fallback option to Mat Gamel, but that doesn't appear likely to happen anymore (and Hart doesn't seem too broken up about it). That creates another question the Brewers will have to answer before heading north.
With Hart out of the lineup many of us had mentally penciled in Norichika Aoki to see most of the action in right field, but that may not actually be the case. Nyjer Morgan has started in right in both exhibition games so far and Adam McCalvy says he may be the top internal candidate to fill Hart's shoes. Ryan Smith of Cream City Cables took a shot at predicting Morgan's 2012 performance.
Meanwhile, the news still isn't good for Shaun Marcum, who has been scratched from his scheduled spring debut on Saturday and almost certainly won't reach full strength by Opening Day (FanShot). Tom Haudricourt speculated that Marcum might have had a cortisone shot on his sore shoulder, and while that's unconfirmed it would also make sense. The team is now hoping they can get Marcum stretched out to about 75 pitches before Opening Day, which would allow him to open the season on the active roster.
In past years the Brewers have been able to juggle the rotation and use off days to skip a starter's spot in April if needed, but that won't be the case this year. They open the season with ten games in as many days, meaning if Marcum is going to be in the rotation the team will need him to pitch on April 10th at the latest and again on the 15th.
Looking ahead, Adam McCalvy reports that Marco Estrada will make his first start of the spring on Wednesday, with Zack Greinke following him on Thursday. Randy Wolf and Greinke pitched in tandem on Sunday, so Wolf will likely either pitch in relief of Greinke Thursday or make the start on Friday.
Speaking of Greinke, Jim Bowden of ESPN (which I noticed via Disciples of Uecker) reports that he's decided to hire an agent, which could mean talks regarding an extension are getting ready to heat up. It's something to keep an eye on.
Rickie Weeks went 1-for-3 as a DH last night, making his first appearance since being a late scratch from Sunday's lineup. Nate Petrashek of Cream City Cables has a look at what we may see from the 2011 All Star this season.
In the minors:
- Wily Peralta made his spring training debut last night, allowing two runs on a hit and a walk over two innings. Before the game, Adam McCalvy talked to him about the single disastrous outing that may have kept him off the Opening Day roster last spring, and how he's bounced back from it.
- New Nashville broadcaster Jeff Hem has a slideshow of pictures from Greer Stadium in Nashville.
- Baseball America has a story on Taylor Jungmann and Jed Bradley, but it's subscriber-only.
Today in predictions, projections, power rankings and such: Eric Seidman of FanGraphs says the Brewers have baseball's 19th best catchers.
If you haven't yet, please take a moment to vote in this week's BCB Tracking Poll. It'll remain open through the day today and results will be posted tomorrow.
I don't have any transactions today, but the Timber Rattlers' Opening Day bobbleheads have a song they'd really like you to hear:
Today in former Brewers:
- Aaron Gleeman of Hardball Talk has a picture of Francisco Cordero that would suggest he's let himself go a bit.
- Chris St. John of The Platoon Advantage says Prince Fielder hit baseball's second and fourth most damaging home runs in 2011.
- Mark Sweeney has left his job as a special assistant with the Dodgers to take one as a broadcaster with the Padres.
- Carlos Lee is on Twitter. (h/t @brianmctaggart)
The Brewers' lease at their spring training facility in Maryvale runs out this season, but it doesn't look like many alternatives are going to present themselves in the short term. The Mariners and Padres signed 20 year extensions on the lease of their shared facility in Peoria yesterday, so that park won't be an option anytime soon.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have an anniversary to celebrate.