Tuesday, February 19, 2008

In the News

Another spring training day full of news...

Sheets said his goal is to throw 200 innings. He also said he did not make any major changes to his offseason workout program, which is a little discouraging considering he has never appeared to be in stellar physical shape and has an injury history (though most of the injuries do not seem to be related to conditioning). Sheets is in a contract year and it seems unlikely that he'll be with the team next year. Hopefully he can put together a great season and make it to the postseason for the first time with the Brewers. The team will need him to have a good year if they want to play in October.

- Speaking of Sheets, Hardball Times has a feature where they list most similar pitchers on player pages. Sheets' pitching doppelganger? None other than the Brewers' own Seth McClung. Other Brewer comparisons of note include Manny Parra's match of Roy Oswalt. His number two? Much-publicized Phillip Hughes of the Yankees, followed by John Lackey and Rich Hill. Not bad... Gallardo's number three match is Gary Glover with the other Ryan Braun (of the Royals) and former Brewer Dennis Sarfate also on the list. And Bush's list is littered with closers: Todd Jones, Jonathan Papelbon and Jason Isringhausen.

- Russell Branyan sighting. He'll join the Brewers AAA squad. I'm sure the guys on the BrewerFan.net boards are going to have a field day with this one as Branyan is one of the most controversial figures in the history of that site and a "prophet" of 3TO.

- Braun is starting to get accustomed to the outfield. And it turns out all of the fans that were mad he was being moved because they thought he would be upset by it, need not worry:
Braun did not mention it to reporters last year, but he never really liked third base.

"I'm enjoying it more than third base already," Braun said of the outfield.

"He's happy," Sedar said. "You can just tell."

Also in that column is a blurb about Kendall playing extra time in spring training while he learns the Brewers' pitchers.

- Gallardo's surgery went smoothly.

- Haudricourt previews the catcher position.

- Yost says Gagne has to start the game in his underwear in the clubhouse in order to be effective. Well, not exactly, but he says the fact that he was not closing games in Boston could have thrown off his routine, leading to his late-season meltdown. Melvin has confidence in Gagne, saying he is strong and another year removed from surgery. Turnbow says he aims to prove the Brewers wrong about demoting him from closer and looks to have a strong season. He says the bullpen was worn out at the end of the year and that he likes the revamped group.

- Daniel Rathman at MVN previews the Brewers rotation battle. He thinks the Crew will start the year with Parra in the rotation with Villanueva and Bush splitting time in the fifth spot. I've seen/heard a lot of predictions about Parra getting a spot to start the season, but I think he's all but sent to Nashville already with the surplus of pitchers the Brewers have. He has minor-league options and could use a little time to develop anyway.

- In easily the worst prediction column I've ever read, Eric Neel of ESPN's Page 2 picks the Brewers 29th in his latest power rankings. Page 2 is mostly based in humor, but I guess I just don't get the joke... The Cubs 26th? Red Sox 16th? The Twins 5th? Rangers 9th? Reds 10th? Is it funny to pull teams out of a hat to rank them?

- In other predictions, JJ Stankevich at Bleacher Report says, "It'll take a few surprise performances by Brewers pitchers for Milwaukee to contend in 2008." Another Bleacher Report writer, Bob Kessler, says, "Cubs fans have to believe that the team is in a handful of contenders in the NL. The Mets look to be stacked now that they have Johan Santana. The Brewers, D-Backs and Rockies also continue to have solid young rosters, which will undoubtedly be competitive for years. But you have to say this team (the Cubs) has a chance." And Bob Matthews of the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle says, "The Brewers should be at least co-favorites to win this division."

- BrewersNation does a good job of recapping Minor League Ball's John Sickels Mailbag comments relating to the Brewers.

- And finally, in news from around the NL Central. Hunter Pence runs into outfield walls and THROUGH glass doors. Wow. And the Cardinals' rotation sucks.


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