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Wednesday's Frosty Mug

Mar. 30, 2012; Glendale, AZ, USA; Milwaukee Brewers infielder Travis Ishikawa at bat during the second inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Camelback Ranch. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-US PRESSWIRE
Mar. 30, 2012; Glendale, AZ, USA; Milwaukee Brewers infielder Travis Ishikawa at bat during the second inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Camelback Ranch. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-US PRESSWIRE

Some things to read while searching for an umbrella.

We're two days away from Opening Day and as of this morning it looks like the weather will be largely cooperative: The Weather Channel says it will be 50 degrees and sunny when the Brewers and Cardinals meet for the first time on Friday.

Meanwhile, yesterday's biggest news came significantly after many of us had gone to bed: The Brewers finalized their 25 man roster in unexpected fashion last night by picking Travis Ishikawa over Brooks Conrad for the final bench spot (FanShot). The decision is interesting for a few reasons, most notably the fact that it leaves Cesar Izturis as the only backup on the roster at second and third base in addition to shortstop.

Here's a quick comparison of Ishikawa and Conrad's batting lines this spring:

Travis Ishikawa 26 .259 .403 .463 2
Brooks Conrad 28 .204 .343 .463 4

At any rate, Jaymes Langrehr of Disciples of Uecker has a reminder that we spent a lot of time discussing a similar decision in 2011 only to have it become irrelevant. It's also worth noting, though, that we had a similar conversation when the team chose Casey McGehee over Mike Lamb.

Back on the field, the Brewers dropped both halves of their last doubleheader of the spring, losing 5-3 to the Cubs in Mesa and 5-3 again to the Diamondbacks at Chase Field. We've got recaps here and here, if you missed them.

Corey Hart made his spring training debut last night, going 2-for-3 with a double and scoring a run. He'll likely play again today to get as many plate appearances as he can before Friday.

Other notes from the field:

The Brewers close out the exhibition season today when they face the Diamondbacks at 2:40. Shaun Marcum will be on the mound, and the game will be televised on FS Wisconsin. Shaun Marcum told reporters he's satisfied with his spring, even if it was abbreviated due to injury for the second straight year.

We don't know for sure how Yovani Gallardo and Shaun Marcum will perform in their first starts this week, but we can relatively safely assume neither of them will hit a batter. Plunk Everyone notes that Marcum (864 batters faced) and Gallardo (751) have baseball's third and seventh longest active streaks without a hit batsman.

For whatever reason, everyone seemed to be talking about Zack Greinke yesterday:

Looking ahead, Mike Vassallo has the pitching matchups for the Cubs series that opens on Monday:

Day Brewer Cub
Monday Shaun Marcum Chris Volstad
Tuesday Chris Narveson Paul Maholm
Wednesday Yovani Gallardo Ryan Dempster
Thursday Zack Greinke Matt Garza

I'd say there's a strong chance Cesar Izturis is going to be the Brewer lightning rod in 2012. Being the lone backup at three positions is probably going to net him a fair amount of playing time and his bat is going to get old fast. The Brewer Nation profiled Izturis yesterday as part of their "Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers" series.

While most eyes are looking forward to Friday, Howie Magner of Milwaukee Magazine talked to Mark Attanasio about his experience at Game 5 of the NLDS.

In the minors:

Until the Ishikawa/Conrad news, there was a chance this was going to be today's top story: The Brewers released their 2012 TV ads yesterday, with four spots featuring Aramis Ramirez, Norichika Aoki, Mat Gamel, Shaun Marcum and Aaron Rodgers. The Ramirez one is my favorite, but as you might imagine the one featuring an actual live member of the Green Bay Packers is drawing the most attention.

Today might be the biggest day of the year for predictions, projections, power rankings and whatnot:

If you'd like more Brewer coverage today but you're sick of reading, my appearance on The Watercooler with Jimmie Kaska from last night has been archived. I'll also be spending an hour today on The Home Stretch with Justin Hull on The Score in Appleton. I'll be live in studio at 3 and taking your calls as we resume our weekly schedule.

Around baseball:

Braves: Signed reliever Chad Durbin.
Padres: Placed Mark Kotsay on the DL with a calf injury.
Rays: Closer Kyle Farnsworth will open the season on the DL with elbow soreness.
Red Sox: Closer Andrew Bailey will require thumb surgery and is expected to be out for months.
Reds: Claimed pitcher Alfredo Simon off waivers from the Orioles.
Rockies: Placed pitcher Josh Outman on the DL with an oblique injury and claimed pitcher Adam Ottavino off waivers from the Cardinals.
Tigers: Placed infielder Brandon Inge on the DL with a groin strain.

In former Brewers: Neither Danny Ray Herrera or Vinny Rottino are going to make the Mets.

Here's a reminder that there's really not another pitcher in baseball like Justin Verlander: David Schoenfield notes that Verlander's 3941 pitches thrown during the regular season were the most in the majors since 2005, and he threw 360 more in the playoffs.

Today in baseball economics: The Mariners have come out against a proposed move to build a new arena for an NBA/NHL team in the same neighborhood as Safeco Field, and Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times wonders if it's part of an effort to sell the team.

Finally, here's one last reminder to go participate in Tom Tango's Community Projections, if you haven't already. The voting closes tonight.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to find this place.

Drink up.