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Thursday's Frosty Mug

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Some things to read while heading down to the pond for more.

The Brewers finished off a series victory yesterday by hitting four home runs en route to an 8-3 win over Toronto. We've got the recap here, if you missed it.

The Brewer bullpen was extremely shorthanded yesterday, as John Axford was one of five relievers who were unavailable. Disciples of Uecker has a look at the problem with having a reliever in a slump. Axford, by the way, welcomed his second son (Jameson Aedan) into the world on Tuesday and his mustache is growing back. He also still has the confidence of his manager.

With the Brewers lacking available pitchers yesterday Michael Fiers pitched the ninth inning. He's still expected to be available to start on Sunday.

Martin Maldonado had another big day yesterday, picking up three hits and his fifth home run. Keith Law says he still thinks Maldonado's long term future is as a backup. Maldonado is only the second Brewer ever to hit five home runs before his first double.

Brett Lawrie had a pretty good debut series in Milwaukee, but left yesterday's game early with soreness in his right knee. Apparently he had an abrasion on the left side of his backside that caused him to slide awkwardly on the other side and tweak his knee. You can't make this stuff up.

Other notes from the field:

When I last Mugged on Tuesday we were still contemplating the possibility that Tyler Thornburg would be called up to pitch that night's game. He did get the call, recorded his first major league strikeout and hit, got his first major league standing ovation and has now been optioned back to Nashville for the second half of the minor league season (FanShot). A corresponding move will be announced sometime before tomorrow's game to add a pitcher to the bullpen.

Speaking of tomorrow's game, the Brewers are off today but open a series with the White Sox in Chicago tomorrow night with Zack Greinke on the mound. Mike Still of has the preview. Randy Wolf and Mike Fiers will follow him to the mound on Saturday and Sunday.

The Brewers made room for Thornburg on the roster earlier this week by designating Brooks Conrad for assignment (FanShot). Conrad has crushed minor league pitching this year but hit just .075/.136/.225 in 44 plate appearances as a Brewer.

The Brewers are going to be making a bunch more roster moves in the coming days. Cesar Izturis is expected to join the team in Chicago tomorrow, with Travis Ishikawa following him on Saturday. Marco Estrada is expected to throw a rehab start for Nashville tonight, and if that goes well he'll slot back into the rotation on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, it sounds like Shaun Marcum will be back in the rotation when his spot comes up again. He had tests done on his sore elbow on Monday and they didn't show anything out of the ordinary.

Elsewhere in injury notes, Jonathan Lucroy had the cast and pin removed from his broken hand yesterday and could start catching bullpen sessions any day now. He'll likely have to wait a while longer, however, to resume hitting.

Rickie Weeks went 0-for-4 yesterday but is still hitting .246/.365/.311 in June, a far cry from his April and May struggles. Miller Park Drunk has a look at Weeks' nightmare season.

MLB All Star voting is winding down and as of Monday Ryan Braun had fallen into fourth place among NL outfielders and trailed Melky Cabrera by about 26,000 votes.

Speaking of voting, Miller Park has advanced to the final eight of ESPN's Battle of the Ballparks, and leads PNC Park 54-46 with over 86,000 votes cast.

In the minors:

I took the day off from the Mug yesterday, but I did write about my food experience at Miller Park Tuesday night for my new personal space. The short version: I was pretty unimpressed with the ballpark's healthy options.

Finally, congratulations are due out today to -JP-, yesterday's winner in our SB Nation Pick 6 contest. Here's the full leaderboard:

Rank Player Points
1 -JP- 76.0
2 GoGregGo 65.1
3 Badger Boy in Vail 62.6
4 Some Guy Named Gabbo 55.4
5 BrewCrewBrian 55.2
6 weisomatic. 54.0
7 tfletch2 53.6
8 Berryjs 53.2
9 NatronJ 52.8
10 Mike2k33 52.7

As a BCB contributor JP is ineligible, so GoGregGo wins an entry in the BCB Prize Pool. By the time you read this today's 12:05 deadline will likely have passed, but there's still time to make your picks for tomorrow.

Around baseball:

Angels: Placed pitcher Jerome Williams on the DL with breathing problems.
Blue Jays: Claimed pitcher David Pauley off waivers from the Angels.
Braves: Signed reliever D.J. Carrasco to a minor league deal.
Nationals: Signed catcher Koyie Hill to a minor league deal.
Phillies: Infielder Freddy Galvis has been suspended for 50 games following a positive test for performance enhancing drugs.
Rangers: Signed pitcher Willie Eyre to a minor league deal and released outfielder Brad Hawpe.
Rays: Placed pitcher Jeremy Hellickson on the DL with right shoulder fatigue.

After yesterday's win the Brewers are still five games under .500, but they're back within 6.5 games of the Reds after Cleveland swept Cincinnati this week. You know that and more if you've read this morning's edition of Around the NL Central.

Every now and then you'll see a team try a six-man rotation, but for the most part five man rotations are as much an ingrained part of baseball as batting the pitcher ninth or only using your closer in the ninth inning. The Rockies, however, are trying something new: They're going down to a four-man rotation and limiting their starters to 75 pitches. I don't think it'll last long, but the results should be interesting.

In former Brewers:

My favorite story this week comes from Anthony Castrovince of, who went on an expedition deep into the bowels of Progressive Field to unearth the original "Ohio Cup" given to the winners of the annual Indians/Reds series.

Speaking of the Reds, their game against the Indians on Monday drew a 12.54 rating, their second highest of the season. They're one of the top three teams in baseball in TV viewership, and are up 8% over last year.

Elsewhere in fun stories, Amy K. Nelson of spent a day with Bill Murray, owner of a South Altantic League team, as he was inducted into that league's Hall of Fame. It's well worth your five minutes.

This morning's edition of Today In Brewer History marks the 53rd anniversary of Hank Aaron's three homer game in 1959, the only one of his career. Chris Jaffe of The Hardball Times notes that it's also the 45th anniversary of Bob Uecker's only major league grand slam. Today is also longtime Brewer Charlie Moore's 59th birthday and would have been 1901 Milwaukee Brewer Billy Gilbert's 136th. They represent the top two on Plunk Everyone's list of most plunked batters born on June 21.

Now, if you'll excuse me, my head hurts.

Drink up.