Some things to read from another castle. (h/t PocketDoppler.com)
Today is the 40th day of spring training, and it's the first since the Brewers effectively set their Opening Day roster. Yesterday they optioned reliever Rob Wooten and infielder Elian Herrera to Nashville, leaving 25 healthy players in camp. That means Wei-Chung Wang, Zach Duke, Tyler Thornburg and Jeff Bianchi will make the team, barring a late change.
This will be the first Opening Day roster for Thornburg, who the Brewers have decided to keep as a reliever for now. Ben Tannenbaum of The Brewers Bar has a look at the decision to keep him in that role instead of sending him back to Nashville to work as a starter.
These final cuts leave the Brewers with an interesting situation in the bullpen, where they'll open the season with three lefties and could end up with four once Tom Gorzelanny is healthy. @AdamMcCalvy reports that the team is planning on using Zach Duke as a situational lefty, Will Smith as a set-up man and Wei-Chung Wang in long relief.
Back on the field yesterday, the Brewers entered the ninth with a 4-2 lead behind four solo home runs but couldn't hold onto the advantage in a 5-4 loss to the Giants. We've got the recap, if you missed it.
Other notes from the field:
- Jean Segura was out again yesterday with a sore shoulder, and hasn't played in a week.
- Wily Peralta homered yesterday for the second time this spring, but has never hit one in an MLB regular season game and has just one in 133 professional plate appearances. (h/t @AdamMcCalvy)
- With innings starting to get tight, the Brewers sent two members of the Opening Day roster to minor league camp to pitch in relief yesterday: Francisco Rodriguez pitched a perfect inning and Brandon Kintzler allowed a run on three hits in his. (h/t @BrewersPD)
- Darryl Hamilton made his Brewers Radio Network debut yesterday alongside Joe Block, and told @AdamMcCalvy he plans to call 35 or so games this season while Bob Uecker is away from the team. Hamilton is also on Twitter at @dham18.
The Brewers play their final spring training road game today, heading out to Goodyear to face the Indians at 3:05 Central time. Yovani Gallardo is scheduled to start for the Crew against Justin Masterson.
Today's game will be Gallardo's final tuneup before getting the ball to open the regular season on Monday. The Brewers finalized their April rotation yesterday, announcing that Kyle Lohse and Matt Garza will pitch the other two games in the Braves series before Marco Estrada and Wily Peralta pitch the first two games in Boston.
Wily Peralta had a pretty good day yesterday, and hopefully he can transition it into an improved start to the 2014 season. Jonathan Judge of Disciples of Uecker has a look at the possibility that this could be a breakout year for the young righty.
Meanwhile, this is likely to be the final season in Milwaukee for Rickie Weeks, and if he continues to perform trade rumors will likely continue to swirl around him. Yesterday we heard a report that the Rangers could be interested after announcing Jurickson Profar will open the season on the DL.
It may be hard for the Brewers to deal Weeks if they feel like they can compete this season, but not everyone is optimistic about their chances. Stephen Loftus of Beyond the Box Score projected the 2014 season and has the Brewers with a median outcome of 77 wins, with a .500 season as their "maximum reasonable" outcome. Meanwhile, AZ Snake Pit has a look at nine candidates to win one of the NL's Wild Card spots, and didn't include the Brewers among them.
Jean Segura is still likely to be a member of the Brewers through the end of the 2018 season, but efforts to lock him up with a long-term deal appear to have reached an impasse. Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish is reporting that talks between the two sides have stalled, although they could always be revisited at some point in the future.
The Brewers will break camp in Arizona following tomorrow's game, but they're planning on bringing six minor leaguers along to Milwaukee to help fill innings in this weekend's Miller Park exhibitions: Infielder Irving Falu, outfielder Kevin Mattison, catcher Lucas May, pitchers Brad Mills and Dustin Molleken and outfielder Michael Ratterree. Ratterree might be the most interesting of the bunch, as he was the 2013 Pioneer League MVP.
We may see Jim Henderson in one of the Cactus League's final games and again in one of the Miller Park exhibitions as he continues to work to get ready for Opening Day on Monday. Tim Schaefer of Disciples of Uecker has a preview of the Brewers closer for 2014.
In the minors:
- Brad Krause of Miller Park Prospects was in Arizona for one final day yesterday, talked to 2013 Wisconsin outfielder Michael Reed and shared his daily photo gallery.
- Chris Mehring of Rattler Radio has a look at the home runs BCB Community #3 prospect Victor Roache hit as a member of the Timber Rattlers in 2013.
Back in Milwaukee, work continues in an effort to get Miller Park ready for baseball on Friday. Lane Kimble of CBS 58 has a story on the grow lamps being used to help bring the grass along while there's still frost in the ground outside.
Today in predictions, projections, previews and whatnot: Miller Park Drunk has a casual preview of the 2014 season that touches on topics like "adorableness," "doucheness" and strikeouts.
Cardinals: Are expected to sign reliever David Aardsma to a minor league deal.
Mariners: Released catcher Humberto Quintero and pitcher Randy Wolf.
Marlins: Released infielder Ty Wigginton.
Nationals: Are expected to sign infielder Kevin Frandsen and released infielder Jamey Carroll and pitchers Chris Young and Michael Gonzalez.
Padres: Signed outfielder Jeff Francoeur to a minor league deal.
Phillies: Released infielders Ronny Cedeno and Kevin Frandsen.
Pirates: Acquired pitcher Vance Worley from the Twins for cash.
Rangers: Signed catcher Chris Snyder to a minor league deal.
Rays: Released pitcher Erik Bedard.
Royals: Claimed Rule 5 pick Patrick Schuster off waivers from the Padres and designated outfielder Carlos Peguero for assignment.
Twins: Re-signed reliever Matt Guerrier to a minor league deal.
We're experiencing a bit of a flurry of free agent activity this week as players opt out of minor league deals and are released during the final roster crunch. MLB Daily Dish has a look at the players who have found new homes, and the ones that are still looking.
Today in former Brewers: There's at least one former Brewer on nearly every leaderboard on Plunk Everyone's list of career HBP leaders by position.
Today in baseball economics: Ronald J. Hansen of the Arizona Republic has a story on how Tucson and Chandler, Arizona have handled the transition now that spring training baseball has left their cities. The Brewers were one of the final teams to train in Chandler.
Meanwhile, in statistics:
- Drawing walks is a key part of good plate discipline, but not all free passes are created equal. Chris Moran of Beyond the Box Score has a look at the different ways hitters draw walks.
- Last week we discussed the challenges involved in asking players to bunt against the shift. Today Cardinals first baseman Matt Adams says he could start doing it.
- Not all statistical research is fruitful. Grant Brisbee of SBNation.com has a look at ESPN's effort to quantify clubhouse chemistry.
While the Brewers host the Royals at Miller Park for exhibition games this weekend, baseball will also be returning to Montreal for the first time in decades. The Blue Jays and Mets will play a two-game series at Olympic Stadium on Friday and Saturday.
Finally, with help from Brewerfan.net and the B-Ref Play Index, we'd like to wish a happy birthday today to:
- 2013 Huntsville Star Chadwin Stang, who turns 25.
- 2011 Brewer Josh Wilson, who turns 33.
- 1993-96 Brewer Kevin Seitzer, who turns 52. We covered his birthday in Today In Brewer History last year.
Plunk Everyone notes that Seitzer's 35 career HBP are the most ever for a position player born on March 26.
Today is also the 22nd anniversary of the trade that sent Gary Sheffield from Milwaukee to San Diego in 1992. We covered that event in Today In Brewer History two years ago.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm still being tortured.