Some things to read while enjoying it while it lasts.
Today is the seventh day of spring training 2014, but it'll be hard to top yesterday's news: Ryan Braun reported to camp on Thursday and was available to the media for the first time this spring. He didn't really say anything new, but I'm not sure why anyone would be expecting him to at this point. Tim Brown of Yahoo was in attendance and noted Braun's lack of details, but also said "he's been apologizing now for seven months, which ought to be enough."
The Braun story is probably never going to go away, of course, but it likely will fade into the background a bit if Braun comes out and is productive at the plate in 2014. David Schoenfield of ESPN says he'll be one of the best players in the game again this season.
Meanwhile, despite some fans objections the Brewers continue to feature Braun in their ads and marketing materials for the 2014 season. Two local experts told the Milwaukee Business Journal that it's the right decision.
Today is the deadline for position players to report to Brewers camp and the only notable absence at this point is Aramis Ramirez. He turns 36 in June but projects to play most days at third base for the Crew, and Jason Hunt of Fake Teams listed him as a third baseman to avoid this season.
Other notes from camp:
- Carlos Gomez also reported to camp yesterday and found that Rawlings had replaced two red patches on his glove with gold to commemorate his 2013 Gold Glove win.
- Hank the dog continues to be one of the feel-good stories of spring. Today ASU student Gabrielle Castillo of the JS has a story on him and he's featured in pictures with Yovani Gallardo, Jonathan Lucroy and Adam McCalvy. He also drew the attention of Tyler Kepner of the New York Times.
With the full squad expected in camp today, perhaps we can finally turn the page on the 2013-14 offseason. Dave Cameron of FanGraphs sums the winter up pretty nicely with this pair of lists: The Brewers didn't make his top ten best moves, but they weren't on the list of worst transactions either.
Spring training games start on Thursday, and when they do it's possible we'll get our first glimpse at baseball's new instant replay rules. Yesterday Nate considered some possibilities for how Ron Roenicke will use his new challenges this season.
I'm not sure having extra challenges will prevent the Brewers from making outs on the basepaths, though. TOOTBLAN Tracker has a look back at the team's bad outs from 2013.
In the minors:
- As of this writing five players are within seven votes of first place in the balloting for the #8 spot in our BCB Community Prospect Rankings. Go vote if you haven't already, then check back after 1 to vote for #9.
- Johnny Hellweg, by the way, won the #7 spot on that list. Adam McCalvy reports he put on 37 pounds over the winter to avoid wearing down as the season goes along. He's also the subject of the latest installment in The Brewer Nation's "Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers" series.
- Chris Mehring of Rattler Radio has a look at the Brewers-themed jerseys the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers wore on Brewers Sundays in 2012.
If you'd like more Brewer coverage today but you're sick of reading, I'll be appearing on The Home Stretch with Justin Hull on 95.3 FM WSCO in Appleton today at 4:20. I'll be live in studio for the rest of the hour taking your calls and questions, so listen in and get your voice heard.
Braves: Signed shortstop Andrelton Simmons to a seven-year, $58 million contract extension.
Red Sox: Signed pitcher Chris Capuano to a one-year, $2.25 million contract with incentives.
Craig Calcaterra has more on Capuano in our Tweet of the Day:
In two months Chris Capuano is going to be helping the Red Sox and a bunch of teams who passed on him will be trolling for pitching.— Craig Calcaterra (@craigcalcaterra) February 20, 2014
Spring training is when we usually hear about players coming to camp in the "best shape of their lives," so this was a somewhat jarring change: Mariners catcher Jesus Montero came to camp 40 pounds above his target weight and may have eaten his way out of a job.
Finally, with help from the B-Ref Play Index, we'd like to wish a happy birthday today to:
- 1991 Brewer Jim Olander, who turns 51.
- 1970-71 Brewer Ted Savage, who turns 77. We covered his birthday in Today In Brewer History two years ago.
Plunk Everyone notes that Savage's eleven career HBP are the fifth most ever for a position player born on February 21.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to see what else is back here.