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Wednesday's Frosty Mug


Some things to read while getting a new watch.

We're 30 days away from Opening Day, and hopefully the Brewers got their dud game out of the way yesterday as they committed four errors and managed just two hits in a 6-0 loss to Oakland. Aramis Ramirez went 0-for-2 yesterday to drop to 0-for-4 this spring, and prompted Kevin Kaduk to wonder if any good player across the game looks like they're having less fun.

Rickie Weeks was the DH for the second time yesterday, and reported feeling tightness in his shoulder again while playing catch before the game. Ron Roenicke says he's planning on using Weeks as the DH again today. Weeks, by the way, was picked off first and tagged out by his brother Jemile yesterday.

Ryan Braun was back in the lineup yesterday and went 0-for-2 with a strikeout. He still hasn't put a ball in play this spring, but seems to feel like he will eventually.

Braun isn't the only one struggling: through three games the Brewers are hitting ,just .158/.238/.284 as a team in exhibition play, and their .522 team OPS is the worst in the Cactus League by over 100 points. Ron Roenicke says he's ok with what guys are doing at the plate at this point. It's almost certainly too early to be worried, anyway.

Other notes from the field:

The Brewers are back in action today, taking on the White Sox in Glendale at 2:00 with Marco Estrada on the mound. There's no TV or radio coverage to speak of today, but Joe Block and Bill Schroeder will have the call for Estrada has a tough act to follow: The Brewers' four starting pitchers have yet to allow a run this spring.

For the first time this spring the weather could be an issue in Arizona today: Joe Block reports the forecast calls for temperatures in the low 60's with high winds. Starting Friday, though, the forecasted high is between 79 and 82 for eight straight days.

We did get good news yesterday regarding Corey Hart: His surgery was successful, he's expected to start rehabbing today and his timetable to return is still 3-4 weeks. If he can bounce back in three weeks, Hart could be back in the lineup around March 28 and still have a week of spring training games to potentially get ready for Opening Day. That's the best case scenario, though. With Hart out for a while, Adam McCalvy says Travis Ishikawa is a player to watch.

Shaun Marcum's spring status is still up in the air, and he told reporters yesterday he's not going to answer any more questions about his sore shoulder. I think we're all ready to stop talking about it, but he has to get healthy first.

Alex Gonzalez is one of several Brewers still looking for his first Cactus League hit: He was off yesterday after going 0-for-5 in the first two games this spring. MLB Trade Rumors has a reminder that Gonzalez has a vesting option in his contract that will guarantee him $4 million in 2013 if he makes 525 plate appearances this season.

Elsewhere in shortstops, Jeff Bianchi is one of the handful of Brewers that have scored a run this spring, but turned it into an adventure by falling down twice between third and home Monday night. He's apparently being a good sport about it. There's video from the incident at that link.

A big year from Chris Narveson would go a long way towards making the Brewers a playoff contender again this season. Reviewing The Brew has a preview of his 2012 season.

We've spent a lot of time this spring discussing the possibility of various contract extensions as John Axford, Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum could all potentially be working on new deals. Nick Prill of The Brewers Bar has a look at the franchise's history when extending its own players.

In the minors:

If you've been to a game in Mayvale or at Miller Park in recent years, you've probably heard this man's voice: ASU Student Kristin Couturier of the Journal Sentinel (linked via Twitter) has a profile of the beer vendor known as "The Iceman."

While the Brewers are in Glendale this afternoon, Mark Attanasio's attention will likely be elsewhere. The Business Journal reports that an investment firm he runs is planning its initial public offering today.

Today in predictions, projections and power rankings: FanGraphs continued their positional power rankings yesterday with Chris Cwik saying the Brewers have baseball's seventh best second basemen, Matt Klaassen saying they have the game's 17th best first basemen, and Bradley Woodrum ranking their shortstops dead last.

If you'd like more Brewer content this morning but you're sick of reading, @Mass_Haas has a link to archived audio from Manny Parra's appearance on WSSP following his spring debut yesterday.

It's a quiet day around baseball:

Mariners: Infielder Carlos Guillen has decided to retire.

My favorite spring training story today is still the Cubs' bunting tournament. They're down to the final eight and have finally eliminated Dale Sveum from contention. Apparently bunt tournaments are serious business, or at least they are to Jeff Samardzija.

Today in former Brewers:

There's been a lot of fun had over the last few months at the expense of the Marlins' new ballpark, with its near-fluorescent walls and its giant home run feature. I must admit, though, the prospect of watching baseball through an aquarium is a novel concept. And the new home run feature provides a nice BP target, apparently.

And with that, I'm off. In a few short hours I'll be on an airplane to Arizona, and with the exception of a few pre-scheduled posts I probably won't be around all that much for the next week. Guest mugs, game threads and recaps are in place, though, and if we've proven anything lately it's that there are a lot of talented people here to make sure the site doesn't miss a beat (or even improves a bit) when I'm gone. So have a good week, and I'll talk to you soon.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a car to retrieve.

Drink up.