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Wednesday's Frosty Mug: Reuniting Braun, Biogenesis

We've got the latest on the story that won't end in today's daily roundup of all things Brewers.

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Mike McGinnis

Some things to read while sticking around.

These moments are becoming increasingly rare, so it's a shame that this one was overshadowed: The Brewers beat the A's 4-3 on a Yuniesky Betancourt walkoff double in the tenth inning, and we've got the recap if you missed it.

The Brewers had ten hits last night but none from Scooter Gennett, who went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts before being removed as part of a double switch. Gennett was called up earlier in the week to platoon with Rickie Weeks, but not everyone is impressed with the decision. Tyler Maas of Miller Park Drunk says he thinks "Scooter Gennett is more likely to wind up as a funny 'Oh my God, I forgot about him!!!' reference we pull out to make friends laugh in 2019 than a productive every day player at the big league level."

Last night's game also marked the Brewer debut of Juan Francisco, who made his first career appearance at first base. Adam McCalvy notes that he's the 14th different player to play the position for the Brewers since Prince Fielder's departure, and the fourth player to make his first appearance at first this season.

Francisco and Gennett joined the team shortly after Monday's Mug, when the Brewers acquired the third baseman from the Braves for minor league pitcher Thomas Keeling, called up Gennett, optioned Mike Fiers to AAA and released Alex Gonzalez. Dave Radcliffe of Yahoo has more on the moves.

Other notes from the field:

The Brewers wrap up the three-game set with the A's with an untelevised matinee today. Yovani Gallardo will take on Bartolo Colon at 1:10, and Mark Emery has the preview. The Brewers have already posted today's lineup, which includes Juan Francisco and Scooter Gennett for the second straight day.

Of course, yesterday's big news came off the field when ESPN reported that MLB continues to seek to suspend Ryan Braun and 19 other players for their alleged involvement with Biogenesis. The new revelation appears to be that clinic founder Tony Bosch has now agreed to cooperate with MLB investigators in exchange for some pretty sizable incentives. I reacted here, but here's more from around the web:

  • After the game Braun told reporters he hadn't seen the ESPN report, but "the truth has not changed."
  • The ESPN report suggested that baseball is seeking to suspend Braun for 100 games, but the MLBPA released a statement this morning stating that "The Commissioner’s Office has assured us that no decisions regarding discipline have been made or will be made until those interviews are completed. It would be unfortunate if anyone prejudged those investigations."
  • Mike Bates of Baseball Nation suggests that MLB's case appears to hinge on the testimony of Anthony Bosch, and his lack of credibility is a problem for their argument.
  • Howard Megdal of Sports on Earth takes that point a step further, saying "whether Bosch can provide the league with hard evidence, or just his own word, will go a long way toward determining whether the Major League Baseball Players Association can effectively challenge any suspensions which result from Bosch's cooperation."
  • Craig Calcaterra of Hardball Talk is already noticing efforts to attempt to redefine Bosch's character.
  • In the comments last night JP linked to this New York Daily News post where Bosch was previously quoted corroborating Braun's claim that his only connection to the clinic was as a consultant in his previous appear.
  • Jess Lemont of the Catlantis notes that Braun's performance relative to age isn't really significantly different from any other player.
  • Eugene Freedman of The Hardball Times, deputy general counsel for a national labor union, says "This case, at first blush, appears to be just another in a long line of overreaching by the league and the owners in a multi-decade-long attempt to pretend that it doesn't have to follow its contract or labor law."
  • Matthew Pouliot of Hardball Talk says, "besides the lawyers looking at a grand payday, I can't imagine anyone coming out a winner in this."
  • The Brew Crew Project compared the situation to Chief Wiggum getting his tie stuck in a hot dog display on The Simpsons.
  • Legal issues are right in Cubie Rue's wheelhouse, and they hit it out of the park on this one.

I'm saying this a lot lately, but Howie Magner summed it up clearly in today's Tweet of the Day:

Braun, by the way, is out of the lineup today but it's reportedly "just a day off." Early voting also suggests he's the lone Brewer with a realistic shot at starting the All Star Game.

On any other day this might have been the top story, but today it's more of a footnote: The Brewers announced a roster move this morning, placing Marco Estrada on the DL with a hamstring strain and calling up Tyler Thornburg from Nashville. Thornburg has a 6.75 ERA this season and has actually been worse than that number would indicate lately, but he's on his way to Milwaukee.

One of the players the Brewers passed over to bring up Thornburg is Mike Fiers. Fiers was optioned to the minors earlier this week but could be recalled before ten days have passed in the event of an injury. Meanwhile, Alfredo Figaro is going to take Fiers' place in the rotation.

Meanwhile, Carlos Gomez had a pair of hits last night and scored the game-winning run. Howard Megdal of Sports on Earth has a piece on his career turnaround.

While Gomez has a breakout season, Yovani Gallardo is facing in the opposite direction. Bill Chuck of Baseball Analytics notes that Gallardo's 7.45 strikeouts per nine innings this season are right in line with the NL average. It might have been unthinkable six months ago, but MLB Trade Rumors has a look at Gallardo as a candidate to be dealt before the end of July.

Gallardo's struggles are one of several reasons why this Brewer team's playoff chase may already be over. Doug Melvin was uncharacteristically blunt this week in his assessment that the Brewers are unlikely to be buyers at the trade deadline.

Elsewhere in starting pitching, Chris Narveson had a rough outing last night in his second rehab start for AAA Nashville. He pitched two innings and allowed six earned runs on eight hits. He's still on pace to make two more starts before rejoining the big league club.

Elsewhere in injury news: Jim Henderson is feeling better after a couple of weeks away and is scheduled to rejoin the team on Sunday. Before making that leap, though, he'll make a rehab appearance with Wisconsin on Friday. Henderson was a Timber Rattler in 2009.

If the Brewers do elect to punt 2013, then it's tough to tell what that will mean for Ron Roenicke's future with the organization. Yesterday Bovada listed him as the third most likely manager to be MLB's first 2013 firing.

In the minors:

  • Last night Huntsville reliever Greg Holle sent a tweet to roommate Jimmy Nelson congratulating him and leading many of us to speculate Nelson was headed to the big leagues, but it turns out he's going to AAA.
  • Congratulations are also due out to Brevard County pitchers Brooks Hall, David Goforth and Seth Harvey, catcher Cameron Garfield and first baseman Nick Ramirez for being selected to the Florida State League All Star Game.
  • On the field the affiliates went 2-1, and Taylor Jungmann allowed a single unearned run on two hits over seven innings in Huntsville's 5-1 win over Birmingham. You can read about that and more in today's Minor League Notes.
  • Nashville broadcaster Jeff Hem has interviews with Sounds manager Mike Guerrero and pitcher Tim Dillard.

Back in Milwaukee, if you're planning on attending today's series finale with the A's or one of the four contests against the Phillies this weekend Big League Stew has a local's guide to enjoying Miller Park.

If you're heading to the park tomorrow, you might also get to see this: Longtime Milwaukee Braves shortstop Johnny Logan will be honored before the game as the latest addition to the Walk of Fame outside Miller Park.

Around baseball:

Blue Jays: Placed pitcher Ramon Ortiz on the DL with an elbow strain.
Dodgers: Placed outfielder Carl Crawford (hamstring) and pitcher Chris Capuano (shoulder strain) on the DL.
Indians: Placed shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera on the DL with a quad strain.
Nationals: Placed second baseman Danny Espinosa on the DL with a wrist injury and designated pitchers Henry Rodriguez and Zach Duke for assignment.
Orioles: Designated catcher Chris Snyder for assignment.
Pirates: Placed pitcher Jeanmar Gomez on the DL with forearm tightness.
Royals: Claimed outfielder Quintin Berry off waivers from the Tigers.
Twins: Designated pitcher Tyler Robertson for assignment.
Yankees: Released pitcher Clay Rapada and outfielder Ben Francisco.

Let's go around the NL Central:

  • The Brewers were just one of three Central teams to go into extra innings last night. In St. Louis, they needed 14 innings for the Diamondbacks to beat the Cardinals 7-6. Paul Goldschmidt's single drove home the game winning run.
  • Elsewhere in extra inning losses, the Braves beat the Pirates 5-4 in ten innings in Atlanta. Andrelton Simmons hit a walkoff double to drive home Dan Uggla.
  • The Reds were unable to capitalize on an opportunity to gain ground, losing 5-4 to the Rockies. Troy Tulowitzki's eighth inning homer was the difference in the game.
  • The Cubs also lost yesterday, falling 4-3 to the Angels in Anaheim. Chicago carried a 3-1 lead into the seventh but allowed three unanswered runs to squander the opportunity.
  • The Brewers were the division's only winner, beating the A's 4-3 in the tenth.

Here are today's standings and probables:

Team W L GB Today Time Matchup
Cardinals 38 20 -- v ARI 7:15p Joe Kelly v Wade Miley
Reds 36 23 2.5 v COL 6:10p Johnny Cueto v Jon Garland
Pirates 35 24 3.5 @ ATL 11:10a Wandy Rodriguez v Julio Teheran
Cubs 23 33 14 @ LAA 6:05p Matt Garza v Jason Vargas
Brewers 22 35 15.5 v OAK 1:10p Yovani Gallardo v Bartolo Colon

This morning's edition of Today in Brewer History marks the 31st anniversary of Robin Yount, Cecil Cooper and Ben Oglivie hitting back-to-back-to-back home runs in an 11-3 Milwaukee win over the A's in 1982. Today also would have been 1901 Brewer Billy Maloney's 135th birthday, and Plunk Everyone notes that his 40 career HBP are the most ever for a player born on June 5.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have complaining to do.

Drink up.