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Milwaukee Brewers Spring Training Recap: February 19th

The gang’s all here now, and Ryan Braun’s going to need more than a new mitt to play first base

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Milwaukee Brewers v Pittsburgh Pirates Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images

A roundup of the latest news and notes reported from Brewers camp in Maryvale:

  • One of the big storylines this spring will be how Ryan Braun takes to first base. Braun reported to camp today and says he spent the last few weeks taking grounders at first base with Mike Moustakas and Trevor Plouffe (who Adam McCalvy says the Brewers had some interest in this winter before he signed a minor-league deal with the Texas Rangers). Braun also joked he’ll have to wear a cup for the first time in 10 years to protect himself as he goes back to taking grounders, but he thinks it’s unlikely he actually plays first unless more moves are made.
  • Other than Braun, Orlando Arcia was the only other position player not at camp before today’s report date. He’s here now too and says he spent the winter relaxing.
  • Adam McCalvy talked to Arcia about his breakout 2017 season, and includes a note that players will begin live batting practice on Tuesday. The pitchers throwing those BP sessions — Brent Suter, Junior Guerra and Aaron Wilkerson — will also pitch in the Brewers’ first Cactus League games on Friday.
  • Arcia was one of a bunch of pre-arb players to sign 2018 contracts today. Josh Hader, Manny Pina, Jesus Aguilar, Brandon Woodruff, Taylor Williams and Jorge Lopez also signed, meaning 30 of the 40 guys on the roster are signed.
  • Catching prospect Jacob Nottingham continues to improve behind the plate. Craig Counsell told Adam McCalvy that Nottingham has made “huge strides” as a receiver.
  • Todd Rosiak takes a look at the Brewers’ second base situation, where it still looks to be Jonathan Villar and Eric Sogard getting the most playing time, with Hernan Perez being sprinkled in. Of the three options, it looks like the Brewers are hoping it’s Villar who breaks out and gets close to his 2016 level of production. Villar says he spent the winter watching video of Joey Votto’s approach with two strikes, trying to cut down on the number of whiffs.
  • MLB announced new measures to try to speed up games. We won’t be seeing a pitch clock this year, but we will see shorter breaks between innings and a limit of six non-pitching change mound visits per game (and a more strict definition on what is a “mound visit.”
  • Details oddly hadn’t been announced until today, but here’s how you can listen or watch every game the Brewers play this spring in their pursuit of the elusive Cactus Cup.
  • Elsewhere in the league, J.D. Martinez signed a 5-year, $110 million deal with the Boston Red Sox with two opt-outs, the first of which comes after two years. Martinez’s former team, the Arizona Diamondbacks, quickly signed Jarrod Dyson to a 2-year, $7.5 million deal to help fill that whole in the outfield, but they apparently aren’t done looking for outfielders. Hmm...