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Thursday's Frosty Mug

Manny Parra had a bad day yesterday, but today we forget about that and hope for a better one tomorrow.
Manny Parra had a bad day yesterday, but today we forget about that and hope for a better one tomorrow.

Some things to read while looking within.

We're now just one day away from the 2012 regular season, and John Steinmiller has photos of the final preparations being made at Miller Park for tomorrow's game between the Brewers and Cardinals. As of this morning The Weather Channel says it should be 51 and sunny, but John Axford says you should still bring "your drinkin' gloves." Matthew Leach has's game preview.

Back in Arizona, the Brewers closed out exhibition play yesterday with a 14-3 loss to the Diamondbacks. etothesecondpower has the recap, if you missed it.

Other notes from the field:

  • The bullpen allowed eleven of Arizona's 14 runs yesterday, starting when Manny Parra failed to record an out while facing six batters. Tom Haudricourt says the pen has "actually been good for most of camp."
  • The center field platoon is already in full effect: Nyjer Morgan was a late scratch from the lineup when the Diamondbacks decided to start lefty Joe Saunders.
  • 13,323 fans paid to see the game at Chase Field.

When the Brewers take the field tomorrow Mark Attanasio's father Joe will sing the National Anthem, and history would suggest there's a good reason for him to do it: The Brewers are 5-2 when he sings the anthem at home openers and 3-0 in playoff games following his performances.

They'll also be sending Yovani Gallardo out to the mound on Opening Day for the third consecutive season. Adam McCalvy talked to Gallardo about the honor.

Alex Gonzalez is 35 years old and a career .247/.291/.399 hitter...but maybe he's just been waiting for the right time to show what he's truly capable of offensively? The Fielding Bible listed Gonzalez (along with Jonathan Lucroy) as a breakout candidate for 2012 based on his spring batting line. Gonzalez also finished sixth in all of baseball in Carson Cistulli of FanGraphs' spring training SCOUT stat.

Jonathan Lucroy will likely be a more popular breakout candidate. This week's BCB Tracking Poll showed that a majority of voters are more optimistic about his potential performance this season following his hot spring.

Zack Greinke remains a hot topic of conversation: Doug Melvin is planning on meeting with his new agent (Casey Close) today. Jack Moore of Disciples of Uecker notes that Greinke's final 16 starts in 2011 were comparable statistically to his Cy Young season in 2009.

Travis Ishikawa is back on an Opening Day roster after being the last player cut by the Giants last season. He talked to Adam McCalvy about the excitement of being back in the big leagues. McCalvy also talked to Norichika Aoki about adapting to life on the bench.

Keeping Ishikawa on the roster creates another question the Brewers will have to address: Todd Rosiak notes that Brooks Conrad was slated to be the emergency catcher, but someone else will have to fill that role now.

Nyjer Morgan was out of the starting lineup yesterday and likely will be again tomorrow when the Brewers face a lefty starting pitcher, but he's still the subject of the latest installment of "Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers" at The Brewer Nation.

The Brewers made a minor transaction yesterday, claiming reliever Josh Stinson off waivers from the Mets. Stinson is 24 and made a few appearances in the majors last September after splitting time between AA and AAA during the minor league season. He'll start 2012 in Huntsville, and don't be surprised if the Brewers try to sneak him off the 40 man roster in a day or two since most teams won't have space available to claim him.

As the Brewers leave Arizona they'll also leave behind the ASU students covering the team for the JS this spring. Kristin Couturier (linked via Twitter) has their final story, a look at various Brewers' relationships with their gloves.

In the minors:

  • Adam McCalvy (via @Mass_Haas) confirmed the whereabouts of a couple of top prospects who hadn't been assigned to full season rosters: Pitcher Nick Bucci is currently dealing with biceps tendonitis, and outfielder D' Vontrey Richardson is dealing with personal issues and never reported to camp this spring.
  • Lucas Luetge, who was selected in the Rule 5 draft by the Mariners, has made the team (FanShot). He'll still need to be kept on the active roster all season or offered back to the Brewers.
  • is listing Scooter Gennett and Brock Kjeldgaard as the Southern League's best second base prospect and one of its top outfield prospects, respectively.
  • The Brewers Bar has previews of Wisconsin, Brevard County, Huntsville and Nashville's Opening Day rosters.
  • Craig Counsell was in Appleton last night for the Timber Rattlers' Lead-Off Experience, and Mike Woods of the Appleton Post Crescent has a story about it.
  • New catcher Jason Jaramillo is on Twitter.

As we sit here roughly 24 hours away from Opening Day at Miller Park, I'm really surprised that we're just now hearing about new ballpark food options for the first time. Apparently there will be a fried food stand (for health-conscious consumers, of course) on the field level serving things like deep fried cheesecake and deep fried bacon.

Today in predictions, power rankings and the like:

If you'd like more Brewer coverage today but you're sick of reading, my weekly appearance on The Home Stretch with Justin Hull has been archived. We've cut it into two bite-sized parts to prevent you from choking.

Around baseball:

Cubs: Claimed infielder Luis Valbuena off waivers from the Blue Jays.
Diamondbacks: Placed pitcher Takashi Saito on the DL with a calf strain.
Mets: Signed pitcher Jonathan Niese to a five year, $25 million contract extension with club options for 2017 and 2018.
Pirates: Placed reliever Chris Leroux on the 60-day DL with a pectoral strain.
Rangers: Placed pitcher Yoshinori Tateyama on the DL with back stiffness, designated pitcher Cody Eppley for assignment and signed pitcher Aaron Heilman to a minor league deal.
Reds: Joey Votto's new contract includes salary increases from $12 million in 2013 to $22 million in 2016, followed by six straight years at $25 million.
Yankees: Acquired catcher Chris Stewart from the Giants for pitcher George Kontos, announced that infielder Bill Hall has opted out of his minor league contract, designated outfielder Justin Maxwell for assignment and signed pitcher Ramon Ortiz to a minor league deal.

The Cubs made room on the roster for Valbuena by outrighting Frankie De La Cruz to AAA. The Cubs claimed FDLC off waivers when the Brewers tried to do the same thing a couple of weeks ago.

Earlier I mentioned that Lucas Luetge has made the Mariners. He's one of eleven Rule 5 picks from last winter that are still with their new teams. There were only 12 players drafted.

Last night all eyes were on Marlins Park in Miami, where the US-based portion of the 2012 MLB season officially opened. I think we'd all heard plenty about the park's home run structure, aquarium and lime green walls, but until this morning I had no idea the facility also hosts a bobblehead museum.

The Cardinals, by the way, picked up a win over the Marlins last night to increase the Brewers' magic number to 163.

Today in baseball economics: The Padres have an Opening Day payroll of $53.9 million, the lowest in all of baseball. The Yankees, meanwhile, are back under $200 million at $197.9.

This morning's edition of Today In Brewer History marks the 38th anniversary of Robin Yount's major league debut in 1974. Chris Jaffe of The Hardball Times notes that it's also the eleventh anniversary of Ben Sheets' first major league start.

Today also would have been 1901 Milwaukee Brewer Wid Conroy's 135th birthday. Plunk Everyone notes that Conroy's 35 career HBP are the most ever for a player born on April 5.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to forget and move on.

Drink up.