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Some things to read while waiting for the elevator.

It was a pretty quiet off day for most of the Brewers (John Axford used it to clean out the backseat of his car), but there were a couple of exceptions. First, Brooks Conrad was claimed off waivers by the Rays (FanShot). Conrad probably won't help the Rays in the majors in the short term, but can still be optioned to AAA this season.

Secondly, the Brewers have recalled Mike McClendon to fill Tyler Thornburg's spot on the roster. This is McClendon's third stint with the Brewers this season, and he's posted a 5.79 ERA over seven appearances for Nashville since being sent down the last time.

We're still expecting one more roster move today, as the Brewers are expected to activate Cesar Izturis off the DL and will need to clear a roster spot for him. This week's BCB Tracking Poll shows that over half of you would prefer the Brewers simply DFA Izturis and keep the present shortstop alignment.

Norichika Aoki has scuffled a bit lately but is still hitting .275/.339/.425 in 61 games this season, which would be more than enough to make him a Rookie of the Year candidate most years. Bryce Harper is likely to run away with the award this year, though, and The Baseball Historian has Aoki as an honorable mention.

Yesterday's off day gave us plenty of time to vote, and Miller Park appears poised to pull off another "upset" in ESPN's Battle of the Ballparks, leading Camden Yards 59-41 with over 85,000 votes cast. Jim Caple has spent most of the week slamming Milwaukee and Miller Park (starting with giving the facility the #24 seed and saying the only good thing about the park is the parking lots), but did say Brewer fans' "passion is mighty impressive."

Elsewhere in voting, Ryan Braun's All Star starting spot is in doubt after he was bumped down to the #4 spot in the balloting earlier this week. Ryan Smith of Cream City Cables has a look at Braun's popularity drop since his tumultuous offseason. Braun and Zack Greinke are the Brewer representatives in Austin's Astros 290 Blog's NL All-WAR team.

Speaking of Braun, he had the slowest of the Brewers' four home run trots on Wednesday:

Player Trot time
Ryan Braun 26.25 seconds
Corey Hart 21.61 seconds
Carlos Gomez 21.33 seconds
Martin Maldonado 20.67 seconds

Down on the farm, all signs point to Marco Estrada being ready to rejoin the team Tuesday as scheduled. He pitched five innings last night for Nashville and allowed a run on six hits, walking one and striking out three. He threw 77 pitches in the game.

Elsewhere in the minors:

If you'd like more Brewer coverage today but you're sick of reading, I'll be making my weekly appearance on The Home Stretch with Justin Hull on AM 1570/95.3 FM The Score in Appleton at 2 pm today. I'll be in-studio for most of an hour taking your calls, tweets and emails.

Congratulations are due out this morning to icecreamman, yesterday's winner in our SB Nation Pick 6 contest. Here's the full leaderboard:

Rank Player Points
1 icecreamman 56.3
2 Foul Tip 52.7
3 Lewthelegend 47.2
4 Beaver9 46.7
5 Noah Jarosh 46.7
6 BrewCrewBrian 46.6
7 coolig 46.2
8 Badger Boy in Vail 45.8
9 5toolz 45.6
10 tcyoung 43.7

Tonight's first game is at 6:05, so there's lots of time to make your picks for today. With a new series opening tonight there's also a new set of Prognostikeggers.

Around baseball:

Blue Jays: Acquired pitcher Sean O'Sullivan from the Royals for cash.
Rays: Reliever Joel Peralta has been suspended eight games for having a foreign substance in his glove, but will appeal.

In former Brewers:

  • Alex Remington of FanGraphs has a look at LaTroy Hawkins' unusual longevity and how it would help if you were developing a pitching staff more focused on shorter starts and longer relief outings.
  • Vinny Rottino (and Brewer farmhand Vinnie Chulk) are on Carson Cistulli of FanGraphs' list of all current or former leaguers named Vin, Vincent, Vince or Vinnie.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to check again.

Drink up.