“Escalator Temporarily Stairs. Sorry For The Convenience”

MILLER PARK OPERATIONS NEAR NORMAL FOR TONIGHT’S BREWERS VERSUS REDS GAME

After an overnight fire in the kitchen area of Friday’s restaurant at Miller Park, most of the operations and fan accommodations will be back to normal for tonight’s 7:10 pm game against the Cincinnati Reds.

A few areas sustained water damage and will not be operational until further notice. These include Fridays Restaurant, the escalators and elevators in the left field area, the left field Loge concession stand, and the Miller Park Conference Center Meeting Rooms on the Club and Terrace Levels.

The team also has said that fans who have tickets in the Friday’s seating area will be contacted by the Brewers for alternate seating options.

Lucroy To Sign For Free on Friday, Details Within

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Milwaukee Brewers All-Star catcher Jonathan Lucroy will appear at the Miller Park Brewers Team Store by Majestic for an autograph signing on Friday, July 25 from 12:30 – 1:30 pm.

Autographs will be free, and the first 250 people in line will receive a wristband guaranteeing a signature. If time allows, additional fans will be accommodated until 1:30 pm.

Fans will be allowed to enter through the Miller Park Hot Corner entrance at 9 am, and autographs will be first come, first served. There is a limit of one autograph per person and no photos will be permitted in order to accommodate as many fans as possible.

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Roster Shuffle 2: Electric Boogaloo

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In the sequel to the pre-All-Star break roster shuffle, the Milwaukee Brewers today announced that they have made a move in an attempt to bolster the big league bullpen.

The move required both a 25-man roster spot as well as a 40-man roster spot. To facilitate those moves, RHP Rob Wooten was optioned to Triple-A Nashville (25-man) and rehabbing right-hander Jim Henderson was placed on the 60-day disabled list (40-man).

All this was done so that the Brewers could select the contract of RHP Jeremy Jeffress.

Jeffress was made headlines more than once in Milwaukee. He was a part of the package of prospects sent to the Kansas City Royals in exchange for Zack Greinke. Earlier this season, he chose to re-sign with the Brewers organization after being designated for assignment by the Toronto Blue Jays and electing free agency after clearing waivers. He also was almost out of baseball completely during his first turn in Milwaukee’s system as he was suspended more than once for marijuana use. By multiple accounts, he’s clear of that recreational drug use though, but is now back on a 40-man roster anyway.

Much more importantly than his off-the-field history is his on-the-field production so far in 2014. In other words, there’s a much better reason that he was added to the 40-man roster this time around.

While pitching for Nashville this season, the former first-round draft pick of the Brewers (16th overall in 2006) has posted the following line:

30 G, 1.51 ERA, 41.2 IP, 0 HR, 45 K, 18 BB, 1.224 WHIP

That’s good for a 9.7 K/9 and a 2.50 K/BB, but it’s also worth noting that he’s been even better recently. Jeffress hasn’t given up a run since June 23rd, a span of nine appearances. He’s only given up two runs in his last 15 games and just three total in his last 24 trips to the mound.

Jeffress has always brought the gas on his fastball, but it will be his ability to command his breaking ball that will translate to big league success. He’s shown the other sought-after ability to miss bats at multiple levels as well, something which would serve him and his new team very well moving forward for the balance of 2014.

As for the others involved, Wooten hasn’t been bad and will likely be back up in September if not sooner. In fact, by effectiveness, Brandon Kintzler may have been a better candidate to go down, but Wooten’s option year is already burned and that likely played a part in the decision.

For Jim Henderson, this must be seen as a referendum on where he’s at physically. Recent reports show him lagging behind the needed 97 MPH on his fastball. I haven’t seen any recent accounts of his slider command nor how his “work-in-progress” change up have fared since he got back on the mound, but without the heat I’m not sure the other pitches matter a lot. The timing doesn’t make much difference on his being moved to the 60-day DL though (he’s already spent more than 60 days on the DL having been placed on it on May 2nd), so maybe everything is progressing fine, but you normally wouldn’t make the move with a guy set to return any time soon.

Time will tell, I suppose.

Official Release: Details on Brewers’ Annual Negro Leagues Tribute

Ted Toles Jr. and Nathan “Sonny” Weston to be Honored

The Milwaukee Brewers will host the franchise’s ninth annual Negro Leagues Tribute at Miller Park on Saturday, July 26. Former Negro League players Ted Toles Jr. and Nathan “Sonny” Weston will be honored during a tailgate reception at Helfaer Field, beginning at 3 p.m., along with a special pre-game ceremony at Miller Park. An autograph session with both honorees will take place during the first 45 minutes of the game on the Field Level Concourse near home plate.

Toles Jr., 88, began his playing career in the Negro Leagues as a pitcher/outfielder with the Pittsburgh Crawfords in 1946, going 18-7 as a pitcher while batting .350. Later that season, he earned an invitation to tour with the Jackie Robinson All-Stars, where he played on the west coast portion of the tour. He also played for the Newark Eagles and was a member of the Cleveland Buckeyes’ Winter League traveling team in 1947. Toles Jr. was signed by the Cleveland Indians in 1950 and played in their minor-league system, along with the Philadelphia Athletics’ farm system. Additionally, he excelled as a boxer and track star.

Weston, 83, was an outfielder and first baseman with the Chicago American Giants in 1951. Following a season in the Negro Leagues, Weston was invited to spring training with the Chicago White Sox, but was the team’s final cut in the spring of 1952. He tried out for the Brooklyn Dodgers, but once again, was the final cut on a team that featured Hall of Famers Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella, and Duke Snider, among other baseball greats. A native of East Chicago, Weston graduated from Bloom Township High School and worked at the Ford Motor Company Stamping Plant in Chicago Heights, Illinois for 42 years.

On Sunday, July 27, Toles Jr. and Weston will be inducted into the Yesterday’s Negro League Hall of Fame at the Mother Kathryn Daniels Center located at 3500 W. Mother Daniels Way on the grounds of Milwaukee’s Holy Redeemer Church (COGIC), beginning at 1:45 p.m. The Brewers are once again partnering with the MKDC and the church as a sponsor of the annual induction ceremonies and other initiatives. This event is open to the public.

In previous years, the Brewers honored outfielders George Altman and Lonnie Harris (2013); pitcher/utility player Mamie “Peanut” Johnson and outfielder Porter Reed (2012); pitchers Charlie “Whip” Davis and Johnny Washington (2011); pitcher Ollie Brantley and first baseman/outfielder Clinton “Butch” McCord (2010); infielder Harold “Buster” Hair Jr. and catcher James “Jim P” Tillman Sr. (2009); pitcher Eugene ‘Dick’ Scruggs and first baseman James ‘Red’ Moore (2008); and outfielder W. James ‘Jim’ Cobbin and catcher Arthur Hamilton (2007) as they were inducted into the Yesterday’s Negro League Hall of Fame.  During the Brewers’ first Negro Leagues Tribute in 2006, Buck O’Neil, James Sanders and Dennis Biddle were each honored.

The Milwaukee Bears, the city’s 1923 representative in the Negro National League, played only one season before disbanding but featured some of the game’s most influential men, including Hall-of-Fame player/manager John Preston “Pete” Hill.

Roster News: Brewers Play Recall, Reassign, DL Shuffle

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GUESS WHO’S BACK — BACK AGAIN?

While I was eating supper with my parents who are in from out of town, the Milwaukee Brewers made official was has been danced around and toward for some time now.

Jimmy Nelson has been recalled from the minor leagues.

He’ll start on Saturday against St. Louis at Miller Park, his first home start of 2014. With the gap in the National League’s Central Division at 2.0 games (as of publishing on Thursday, July 10) the Brewers brass must have felt that rolling the dice with Marco Estrada against a Cardinal team he’s historically struggled against wasn’t what is best for the business of winning baseball games.

Nelson comes with plenty of acclaim and hope, and hopefully plenty of aplomb as he’ll be thrown right into the thick of a divisional race that is as tight as it’s been in roughly three months.

Around making one spot start — for Yovani Gallardo who sprained his ankle — Nelson has spent his season with the Class-AAA Nashville Sounds. In a nutshell, Nelson was the top vote-getter for the Triple-A All-Star Game and was going to start the same for his Pacific Coast League squad. To go a little deeper, here’s Nelson’s season line at Nashville:

10-2, 1.46 ERA, 111.0 IP, 70 H, 23 R (18 ER),  3 HR, 114:32 K:BB, 0.919 WHIP, .179/.247/.245 slash line against

Some ratios: 0.2 HR/9, 9.2 K/9, 3.56 K/BB

And some more advanced stats: 2.47 FIP, 2.84 SIERA, 57.3% GB%

In summary, Nelson has been a dominant force in Triple-A this season and is clearly ready to try the next level. But let’s be fair to him. He should not be seen as a savior or the next coming. He’s got the goods to compete, and will likely struggle from time to time as he adjusts to the best hitters in the world, but as he showed in that spot start against the Marlins, he has the chance to compete. That’s something that the team hasn’t always gotten out of Marco Estrada, whose spot in the rotation Nelson will be taking.

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ESTRADA LEASES A SPOT IN THE BULLPEN

Speaking of Estrada, of the 4.96 ERA, 5.71 FIP, and MLB-worst 27 home runs allowed, he will be contributing to the team from the bullpen for the foreseeable future.

Estrada should be somewhat useful if he’s able to embrace the role and get all the way back to his strike-throwing, command-heavy ways. Working against him are his splits in the first inning of his appearances so far this season. In his first inning of work in 2014, Estrada sports a 6.00 ERA, having allowed 12 ER in 18.0 IP. Seven of his 27 home runs allowed have come within the first three outs of his appearances and opponents are slugging .653 in the same. And for the sake of full disclosure, Estrada hasn’t walked a batter yet this year in his first innings of work.

But those numbers are why I’ve been a little confused when so many people have touted Estrada for a bullpen job. It doesn’t seem nearly as cut and dried as many say that Estrada will be “so much better” as a reliever.

Time will tell.

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WANG INJURED, TRULY AND HONESTLY

The other thing time will tell is just how long Wei-Chung Wang will be on the disabled list. That’s right, conspiracy theorists: The Brewers placed Wang on the 15-day Disabled List with left shoulder tightness.

In all seriousness, I don’t believe that the team has made up this injury. Rule V Draft choices are closely monitored so that teams cannot simply stash them on the DL with false injuries.

But that’s beside the point of this article. The point of this article requires me to tell you that they opened up the spot on the 25-man roster to recall Nelson by placing Wang on the DL.

So, there you have it, Brewer Nation.

  • Nelson up and into the rotation
  • Estrada moved into the bullpen
  • Wang placed on the disabled list

Thoughts? Let’s hear ‘em.

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Brewers Announce “My All-Star” Ticket Promotion

BREWERS CELEBRATE MIDSUMMER CLASSIC SELECTIONS WITH “MY ALL-STAR” TICKET PROMOTION

Four Plans to Each Contain Unique T-Shirts Available Only with Package Purchase

Milwaukee Brewers fans once again showed the power of their vote this season as both Carlos Gomez and Aramis Ramirez were elected to start in this year’s All-Star Game, while Francisco Rodriguez and Jonathan Lucroy joined the All-Stars on the player vote. With a franchise-record-tying four players on the National League team, the Brewers will mark the occasion by offering a ticket and merchandise package featuring each of the Club’s four All-Star representatives.

The four “My All-Star” ticket packages each include tickets to any four midweek games of the fan’s choice (beginning July 21) plus a limited-edition t-shirt featuring their favorite All-Star player – not available for sale anywhere else. Each package is priced according to the uniform number of the designated All-Star player, meaning that fans will not only be able to show their support for their favorite Brewers All-Star, they’ll be able to select from packages starting at just $16 per game.

Fans will receive one t-shirt for each ticket package purchased. Shirt sizes are Adult Medium and Extra Large.

“We have seen how Brewers fans over-deliver in their All-Star voting efforts, and this ticket plan will give fans another opportunity to show their support for their favorite All-Stars,” said Brewers Chief Operating Officer Rick Schlesinger. “With the team leading the Central Division and games becoming more meaningful every day, we expect these packages to be very popular as we head into the stretch run.”

The ticket plan details are as follows:

The “Aramis is My All-Star” Plan: Terrace Box tickets to any four midweek games plus a limited-edition t-shirt for $64 (based on his uniform number 16 – $16×4=$64)

The “Luuuuc is My All-Star” Plan: Loge Bleachers tickets to any four midweek games plus a limited-edition t-shirt for $80 (based on his uniform number 20 – $20×4=$80)

The “Gomez is My All-Star” Plan: Loge Outfield tickets to any four midweek games plus a limited-edition t-shirt for $108 (based on his uniform number 27 – $27×4=$108)

The “K-Rod is My All-Star” Plan: Field Diamond Box tickets (Sections 110 and 125 only) to any four midweek games plus a limited-edition t-shirt for $228 (based on his uniform number 57 – $57×4=$228)

The ticket packages are currently on sale. Packages may be purchased online at Brewers.com/myallstar, or by calling 414-902-GAME.

Official Release: Brewers Announce Hank Beach Towel Promotion

With the September 13 “BobbleHank” game now limited to single seats and standing room only tickets, fans of Hank, “The Ballpark Pup,” can still get in on the fun as the Brewers today announced another promotion celebrating the team’s famous four-legger.

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On Wednesday, August 6, all fans attending the Brewers versus Giants game at 7:10 pm will receive a full-size Hank Beach Towel, compliments of Meijer.

In addition, Hank (and his Hank House) will be available for a photo opportunity with the first 500 fans in line beginning when gates open that night (90 minutes before first pitch). The photo opportunity will take place on the Field Level concourse near the Right Field Gate entrance.

“Based on the fan response, the BobbleHank giveaway was easily one of our most popular promotions ever, and when the game quickly reached standing room only status, there were a lot of fans who were disappointed,” said Brewers Chief Operating Officer Rick Schlesinger. “We expect that the Beach Towel giveaway will be just as popular, and with Hank appearing at both of these games, it promises to be a fun evening at Miller Park for everyone.”

Tickets for the Hank Beach Towel night and all remaining Brewers games are on sale at the Miller Park Box Office, through brewers.com, or by phone at (414-902-4000).

Brewers Get Four All-Stars on Selection Sunday

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The Milwaukee Brewers today had four players selected to the Major League Baseball All-Star Game. It marks only the fifth time in franchise history that the team has had four All-Stars. Center fielder Carlos Gomez (starter), third baseman Aramis Ramirez (starter), catcher Jonathan Lucroy and pitcher Francisco Rodriguez will represent the Brewers at this year’s Midsummer Classic, which will be played at Target Field in Minnesota on Tuesday, July 15 at 7pm CT.

In addition to the 2014 season, the Brewers had four All-Star selections in 1980 (Cecil Cooper, Paul Molitor, Ben Oglivie and Robin Yount), 1982 (Cooper, Rollie Fingers, Oglivie and Yount), 1983 (Cooper, Oglivie, Ted Simmons and Yount) and 2007 (Francisco Cordero, Prince Fielder, J.J. Hardy and Ben Sheets). The Brewers have multiple All-Star starters for the seventh time (1980, 1982, 1983, 2007, 2010, 2011 and 2014).

 

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Gomez, 28, has been selected to his second All-Star Game and first as a starter. He was a first-time All-Star last season. Gomez finished second among National League outfielders in fan voting (4,068,745), trailing only the Pirates’ Andrew McCutchen (4,519,440) and just ahead of the Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig (4,059,746). He is batting .299 with 13 HR and 45 RBI in 80 games this season.

AramisRamirezAllStarBanner2014 Ramirez, 36, has been selected to his third All-Star Game and second as a starter. He started the 2005 All-Star Game as an injury replacement for Scott Rolen. He was also an All-Star in 2008. Ramirez had 2,318,611 votes in fan balloting, finishing ahead of the Mets’ David Wright (1,979,883). He is batting .287 with 11 HR and 41 RBI in 63 games this season.

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Lucroy, 28, has been selected to his first All-Star Game. He was selected via the player vote, finishing first among National League catchers with 420 votes. Lucroy is batting .329 with 9 HR and 44 RBI in 82 games this season. He entered today’s game leading the National League in multi-hit games (31) and among the league leaders in batting average (2nd), doubles (2nd), hits (T3rd), on-base percentage (4th), slugging percentage (5th), OPS (5th) and extra-base hits (5th).

FranciscoRodriguezAllStarBanner2014Rodriguez, 32, has been selected to his fifth All-Star Game. He was also an All-Star in 2004, 2007 and 2008 with the Angels and in 2009 with the Mets. Rodriguez was selected via the player vote, finishing second among National League relievers with 138 votes, trailing only the Braves’ Craig Kimbrel (190). He is 3-2 with a 2.34 ERA and 27 saves in 42 appearances this season while holding opponents to a .187 batting average. His 27 saves tied Kimbrel for the Major League lead entering today’s game.

Happy International Prospect Signing Day

Happy 2nd of July!

(You’re a couple of days early — aren’t you?)

How about Happy International Signing Day!

(Happy what now?)

Okay, let me explain.

I know that for many fans of just the Milwaukee Brewers, July 2nd hasn’t carried a whole ton of meaning until recently, and only recently if you’ve followed the organization’s renewed efforts to identify and sign international (read: latin american) talent. That renewed effort coinciding with the opening of their academy in the Dominican Republic, in a partnership with former Brewer closer Salomon Torres.

The Brewers have signed some players but their first real splashes came last July 2nd when they inked a couple of guys to team record Latin American signing bonuses. Those kids, Dominicans Franly Mallen and Nicolas Pierre then each just 16 years old, were ranked 22nd and 29th respectively on MLB.com’s list of top international prospects. They were signed to contracts worth $800,000 apiece, and the Brewers were seen as players again in the region.

Well, a report all the way back in February from Scout.com’s Kiley McDaniel had the Brewers tied to an even bigger target in Dominican shortstop Gilbert Lara, who he has said is arguably the top international prospect this year.

(Here’s a link to the February column from McDaniel: http://sbb.scout.com/2/1373523.html)

He’s ranked 4th on MLB.com’s international prospects list and is said to have a physically mature body, lending itself to safer projectability. Regardless, he was reported at the time to be a lock to blow the $800,000 franchise record out of the water. In fact, it was seen that Lara could quite easily get $3,000,000 and probably would get a bit more.

While that’s great news for the Brewers, the unfortunate side effect is that since a franchise cannot officially have even a verbal agreement in place prior to July 2nd, the leaked information could put the team at risk of at least having another franchise swoop in to offer more, or at worst costing the organization some sanctions.

While it luckily appears that both of the situations have been avoided because multiple outlets (including ESPN’s Enrique Rojas and MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez) reported that Lara has indeed formally agreed to and subsequently signed a contract with the Milwaukee Brewers, something that appears inevitable for now is the Brewers soaring past their “soft cap” for international signings. That number for 2014 is just $2,611800 which would mean Lara alone would already put the Brewers into the realm of financial penalty.

The financial penalties break down thusly (as borrowed from Jesse Sanchez’s MLBlogs.com blog):

  • Teams that exceed the pools by 10 to 15 percent are not allowed to sign a player for more than $300,000 during the next signing period and have to pay a 100-percent tax on the pool overage.
  • In the most severe penalty, teams that exceed the pool by 15 percent or more are not allowed to sign a player for more than $300,000 during the next two signing periods in addition to paying a 100-percent tax on the pool overage.
  • Teams that exceed the pools by 0 to 5 percent have to pay 100 percent tax and teams that exceed the pools by 5 to 10 percent are not allowed to sign a player for more than $500,000 during the next signing period and have to pay a 100-percent tax on the pool overage.

For the record, if Lara got the $3.2 million he was reportedly set to sign for today, that puts the Brewers more than 15% over their pool allotment. The Brewers could possibly alleviate some of that by trading for pool space, but that remains to be seen. For now, that’s a worry for 2015.

For the rest of 2014, Lara can be expected to report to the Brewers Academy in San Pedro de Macoris, but per rule he won’t be eligible to play in Dominican Summer League games until next year. Lara is a high-ceiling kid, one whose abilities on the baseball diamond have gained significant attention for a reason. He’s also still just 16 years old and it needs to be understood that even in a great string of events and success, he wouldn’t be playing on United States’ soil until 2016 at the earliest. Still, should he realize the potential that is worth more than $3 million of signing bonus and contract, it will be an investment worth its weight in time and expense.

Final All-Star Updates, Starters Revealed Sunday

I’m so proud of you, fellow Brewers fans, and any who have voted with their heads and picked Brewers as well.

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