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Wednesday's Frosty Mug: Back from the links

We're getting you ready for the resumption of Cactus League play in today's roundup of all things Brewers.

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Christian Petersen

Some things to read while reading the greens.

It's the 26th day of spring training 2014, and the Brewers will spring back into action today after a Cactus League off day on Tuesday. The biggest news yesterday came from Bob Uecker's Front Row Classic golf tournament, which raised $35,000 for the Make A Wish Foundation.

Other notes from camp:

The Brewers return to action in Tempe today when they'll send Matt Garza to face the Angels at 3:05 Central time. Today is actually Kyle Lohse's turn in the rotation, but he's pitching a minor league intrasquad game this morning to keep everyone as close as possible to normal rest. (h/t @MikeVassallo13)

Ryan Braun will likely be in the lineup in Tempe, and he's sporting new footwear this spring. ESPN reports Braun has signed his first endorsement deal since his 2013 suspension, a contract with cleat manufacturer 3N2. Braun had previously worn Nike cleats until the company dropped him last August.

After a break yesterday positional battles will resume at first and second base today. At Disciples of Uecker Curt Hogg has a preview of the Brewers first basemen, and Jonathan Judge looks at second base.

A fair amount depends on who wins those jobs, but it's probably safe to assume the Brewers won't have defensive standouts playing the right side of the infield on most days in 2014. At The Outside Corner Jaymes Langrehr says infield defense and an inexperienced bullpen are the Brewers' two biggest weaknesses entering this season.

Jim Henderson is the closer for that inexperienced bullpen, although much has been written about the new pitch he's working on this spring. Jason Collette of FanGraphs says "adding a new pitch" is the new "best shape of his life."

Marco Estrada continues to slot into one of the final spots in the rotation, and will likely get the start when the Brewers face the Padres tomorrow. Ben Tannenbaum of The Brewers Bar looks at Estrada's tendency to give up fly balls and how that can get him in trouble in spring training.

The Brewers will be back on TV on Friday, Saturday. Monday and Tuesday, but they'll have to do at least some of those games without Brian Anderson: He's been assigned to call both of Tuesday's "First Four" games in the NCAA men's basketball tournament.

In the minors:

Back in Milwaukee, it looks like the sales tax being used to pay for Miller Park may be around a little longer than previously predicted. TMJ 4 has a report saying the tax is now expected to sunset sometime between 2018-2020, as compared to an earlier 2017 projection.

If you'd like more Brewers coverage today but you're sick of reading, my Tuesday appearance on The Sports Den with Downtown Ollie Burrows on Sports Fan 100.5 in Wausau has been archived. My spot starts at around 1:28:30 in the audio.

Around baseball:

Astros: Released first baseman Brett Wallace.
Braves: Signed pitcher Ervin Santana to a one-year, $14.1 million deal and announced that pitcher Kris Medlen may open the season on the DL with an elbow injury.
Rockies: Pitcher Jhoulys Chacin is likely to open the season on the DL with a shoulder strain.

Today in former Brewers:

  • Mike Olmsted, who was just released by the Brewers on Monday, has returned to the Red Sox on a minor league deal. (h/t @Mass_Haas)
  • Tom D'Angelo of the Palm Beach Post talked to Casey McGehee about how being back in the US with the Marlins has made life easier for his family.
  • Norichika Aoki got hit by a 97 mph fastball yesterday and actually may have been lucky it wasn't faster.
  • CC Sabathia's velocity is down this spring, and Pinstripe Alley asks when it's appropriate to start worrying.
  • Dave Cameron of FanGraphs used some math to predict the price tag for several 2015 free agents, and has J.J. Hardy getting somewhere between four years, $56 million and six years, $93 million.

I've got a pair of favorite statistical notes today: First, Jeff Sullivan of FanGraphs has a look at Mets infielder Daniel Murphy's baserunning and crowns him baseball's speediest player without speed. Second, Jeff Wiser of Beyond the Box Score has numbers to suggest that NL teams prioritize getting offensive production from their catcher more than AL teams do.

Earlier this week I mentioned a creepy Twitter interaction between Mr. Met and Royals mascot Sluggerrr. Apparently the AL Central is the creepy mascot division, because notes similar things have happened with White Sox mascot Southpaw and Indians mascot Slider.

Finally, with help from the B-Ref Play Index, we'd like to wish a happy birthday today to:

Today is also my wife's birthday, and while she stopped reading the Mug years ago this seems like an appropriate space to acknowledge it.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to throw it again.

Drink up.