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Opening Day Ticket Lottery Registration Details

***UPDATE: CLICK HERE TO ACCESS THE ORDER FORM!***

The Milwaukee Brewers today announced specifics of an Opening Day Ticket Opportunity that will allow fans the chance to purchase tickets to Opening Day and weekend games at Miller Park prior to the sale of individual tickets.

Beginning tomorrow, January 27 at 9 a.m. and continuing through Monday, February 16 at 11:59pm, fans can go to Brewers.com and register for the opportunity to purchase up to four tickets to Opening Day on Monday, April 6 against the Colorado Rockies. Due to limited availability, the Opening Day Ticket Opportunity includes single seats, standing room only and some obstructed view seats. In addition, fans can register for a maximum of eight tickets to each of the weekend games (Friday-Sunday) at Miller Park.

Following registration, a pool of randomly selected winners will be chosen and provided access to an online pre-sale opportunity, based on available inventory. The winners will be notified on Friday, February 20. Fans who win the chance to purchase tickets for Opening Day will be able to purchase tickets starting on Tuesday, February 24 at 9 a.m., while fans who win the chance to purchase tickets for weekend games will be able to do so starting on Wednesday, February 25 at 9 a.m.

There is no charge to register. This will be the only opportunity for fans to purchase single game tickets for Opening Day, other than a very small number set aside for fans lining up at the Box Office on the first day of individual game sales at Miller Park. Single game ticket sales will go on sale at a later date (exact date TBD).

Meanwhile, there are still options available for fans to guarantee their place at Miller Park for Opening Day and other popular games with 10-Packs starting as low as $160.  Each 10-Pack includes 10 Brewers home games, plus a bonus of Opening Day or any other game of the fan’s choice absolutely FREE. Fans interested in purchasing 10-Packs are encouraged to call 414-902-HITS (4487) or visit Brewers.com/10packs for more information.

Please note: A very limited amount of individual tickets will be available for Opening Day.

Brewers On Deck 2015 – The Interviews

Here is a boatload of audio recorded on Sunday, January 25, 2015 at Brewers On Deck in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Enjoy!!

Right fielder Ryan Braun

Relief pitcher Jim Henderson

Manager Ron Roenicke

New Brewers first baseman Adam Lind

Starting pitcher Wily Peralta

Newest member of the starting rotation Jimmy Nelson

All-Star outfielder Carlos Gomez

Second baseman Scooter Gennett

All-Star starting catcher Jonathan Lucroy

General Manager Doug Melvin met with the assembled media

EXCLUSIVE with 40-man pitcher Michael Blazek

Prinicpal Owner Mark Attanasio addressed the media

This is the full audio from one of the Main Stage events, a panel discussion (with fan questions!) featuring Mark Attanasio, Doug Melvin, Gord Ash, Adam Lind, Corey Knebel, and Luis Sardinas

Rumor: Brewers In Trade Talks to Acquire Papelbon?

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According to a tweet that came in just after midnight CT on Friday morning, the Brewers are in “serious discussions” to acquire Jonathan Papelbon from the Philadelphia Phillies.

The Phillies have been selling off several of their high-priced veterans, and Papelbon fits that M.O. The 6’4″ veteran closer is set to make $13 million in 2015 and has a vesting option for 2016 as a part of his contract as well. The Brewers did just save ~$9 million when they traded Yovani Gallardo, so conventional logic would seem to infer that the Phillies might be paying a portion of Papelbon’s contract in any deal.

The now 34-year-old Papelbon saved 39 games for a Phillies team that only won 79 all season. He pitched to a 2.04 ERA in 66.1 IP. He struck out 63 batters and walked just 15. In stark contrast to the outgoing Brewers closer of 2014, Francisco Rodriguez, Papelbon gave up only two (2) home runs last year. His FIP (2.53) and WHIP (0.905) are encouraging peripherals as well.

Papelbon does have a 17-team no-trade list, but it’s unknown whether the Brewers are on the list.

An acquisition of Papelbon would certainly satisfy Doug Melvin’s oft-stated desire to have multiple guys in the his bullpen who have experience closing games. In fact, Papelbon was a rumored target for the Brewers last season before they ultimately acquired Jonathan Broxton from the Cincinnati Reds. At the time, the idea of Papelbon in Milwaukee was panned due to the financial commitment due him. For the record, his 2016 option (also at $13 million) vests if Papelbon finishes 48 games in 2015 as that would bring his two-year total up to 100.

***UPDATE***

As often happens when one baseball writer breaks news, others react to it by checking in with their own sources and then share what they’ve learned. So far today, that role has been filled by FoxSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal and ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark.

So all that seems to counter, to a degree, what Jeff Passan originally reported. However, Jayson Stark then chimed in.

Stay tuned.

2015 Brewers Non-Roster Invitees to Big League Spring Training

This is a list I’m parking here, basically for my own reference, because the Brewers.com website isn’t updated yet.

Here is list, broken down by position, of the announced non-roster invitees that will be initially assigned to the big league side at Spring Training 2015. I’ll update the list as players are added and do my best to remember to do the same when they are reassigned.

Pitchers (6)

  • Tyler Cravy
  • Hobbs Johnson (L)
  • Brent Leach (L)
  • Ariel Peña
  • Taylor Williams
  • Dontrelle Willis (L)

Catchers (4)

  • Nevin Ashley
  • Parker Berberet
  • Cameron Garfield
  • Adam Weisenburger

Infielders (1)

  • Pete Orr

Outfielders (2)

  • Matt Long
  • Bryan Petersen

TOTAL: 13

2015 Full Brewers Regular Season Schedule

With bobbleheads, gnomes, t-shirts and postgame concerts all marked!

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Press Release: Jeff Levering Joins Brewers in Play-By-Play, New Media Role

Will Broadcast Select Games and Provide Content for Brewers.com and Social Channels

MILWAUKEE, WI – The Milwaukee Brewers today announced that Jeff Levering will join the organization as the newest member of the Brewers radio broadcast team.  Levering will serve as a play-by-play broadcaster on select road games on 620 WTMJ and the Brewers Radio Network, as well as provide content for the Brewers online, social and new media channels.

wpid-jeff_levering.jpgIn his new role, Levering will handle three innings of play-by-play as he fills in on games missed by Brewers Hall of Fame broadcaster, Bob Uecker. For days when he is not on the air, Levering will provide video, photo, audio and written content for Brewers.com and various other Brewers social media platforms.

Levering’s first official day with the Brewers will be this Sunday as he will be welcomed on the Main Stage at Brewers On Deck (10 am-5 pm at the Wisconsin Center).

“Jeff will be a great addition to the organization, and this is an opportunity for him to contribute both in the radio booth and in our new media efforts,” said Brewers Chief Operating Officer Rick Schlesinger. “By creating this role, we have a consistent voice filling in when Bob elects to stay home on occasional road trips, and we add resources to our expanding social media outreach. We welcome Jeff to the organization and look forward to introducing him to Brewers fans at Brewers On Deck.”

Levering spent the past two seasons as the lead play-by-play broadcaster of the reigning International League champion Pawtucket Red Sox.  In addition to his game-day broadcasting duties, he hosted the pre- and post-game shows, “PawSox” Insider, a weekly, one-hour radio magazine show; provided video content for the team website and wrote a blog, “45 Miles from Fenway,” which ranked in the Top-15 nationally among Minor League writers.

“I am thrilled beyond words to be joining the Milwaukee Brewers broadcast team as well as their talented front office,” Levering said. “Being part of a radio booth that features the legendary Bob Uecker and Joe Block is a tremendous honor, and a responsibility that I don’t take lightly. Calling games in the Major Leagues has been a dream of mine since I was a kid and to have a chance to realize it is truly amazing. I can’t thank the Brewers enough for their faith in me and allowing me the opportunity to work in such a terrific organization. My family is excited to immerse ourselves in Milwaukee and be diehard Brewers fans.”

Levering received his degree in broadcast journalism from Chapman University in Orange, California where he also played baseball all four years and was the starting designated hitter on the 2003 D-III National Championship baseball team in Appleton, WI.  He and his wife, Ashley, have a son, Brock, who was born in October of 2014.

“We’re excited to integrate Jeff into the Brewers radio broadcast with Bob and Joe,” said Carl Moll, Director of Network Operations for Journal Broadcast Group. “His work in the minor leagues has been impressive and he’s ready to move to the Major League level.”

Rumor: Brewers Sign MLB Veteran Willis to MiLB Deal

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ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick tweeted this a few minutes ago…

Willis, 33, hasn’t pitched in the big leagues since 2011 as a member of the Cincinnati Reds, though he has spent time in the minor leagues of the Orioles, Angels, and Giants over the past three years. He infamously lost his control at a relatively young age after being dynamic and electric early in his career with the Florida Marlins.

This brings the group of Brewers non-roster invitees up to six when camp opens in February.

Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers ’15 – #76 Mike Strong

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It’s been 76 days away from Opening Day all day today, Tuesday, January 20. Unfortunately, sometimes life gets you backed up and you can’t get your release until late in the day. Innuendo aside, let’s dispense with the typically lengthy open and drop right into my profile of the player who will wear #76 in spring training this year…

Mike Strong.

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Michael Joseph Strong is a 26-year-old left-handed pitcher from Minnesota, by way of Oklahoma State University. He was drafted three times as an amateur in three consecutive years. The Chicago White Sox drafted him in 2009 in the 25th round. The Oakland Athletics chose Strong in the 22nd round in 2010. Finally, the Brewers selected as signed the southpaw as a 10th round selection in 2011.

Strong pitched as a rookie in 2011 and had a rough go of things. In six of this 15 appearances, Strong allowed at least 4 ER, with his worst being an 8 ER outing on August 31st of that year with the rookie ball affiliate Helena Brewers. Strong made 13 starts in those 15 games in 2011 and finished with a combined 6.10 ERA.

The next season would find Strong pitching for the Class-A affiliate Wisconsin Timber Rattlers of the Midwest League. 21 regular season games, zero starts, 2.76 ERA. Strong didn’t get going in 2012 until May, but it was enough to earn himself a ring as the Timber Rattlers won the Midwest League Championship! Perhaps the limited games is partly why he repeated Class-A in 2013. 25 games, eight starts and 87.0 IP for Strong in 2013 earned him an off-season promotion to the Class-A Advanced Brevard County Manatees.

It’s 2014 that really paved the way for the situation Strong finds himself in today. That situation, of course, is having been added to the 40-man roster and attending his first legitimate big league spring training. In 2014, as mentioned, Strong began his season by breaking camp with the Manatees. There he pitched in 30 games including six starts, compiling a 2.50 ERA in 75.2 IP. He would strike out 78 hitters while walking 23 and allowing 56 hits. Strong was used in a variety of roles as has been his M.O. to this point in his career. It was a good season for Strong in the Florida State League.

With an eye on sending him to the Arizona Fall League (a proving ground of sorts for up-and-coming players), the Brewers promoted Strong to Class-AA Huntsville for one appearance. He would pitch 4.0 hitless and scoreless innings in relief, allowing one walk while striking out six. After that, Strong would be ticketed for Arizona where he made 11 more appearances, totaling an additional 13.2 IP. Strong was quite good in the AFL, pitching to a 1.98 ERA (3 ER) while striking out 14 and walking three.

Then it became decision time on the lefty. Was he to a point in his development where it made sense to protect him from Rule 5 exposure? The Brewers lost another left-hander recently in Lucas Luetge when the Seattle Mariners plucked him in a Rule 5 Draft. Strong’s case was solid that he deserved at the very least another season of minor league ball in the Brewers system to see what they really have.

Looking ahead to 2015, Strong has an outside chance to impact the big league bullpen out of camp. After carrying four southpaws in their 2014 bullpen at different times, the Brewers currently only have setup man Will Smith coming back in a similar role. And despite Ron Roenicke saying in previous years that he doesn’t feel it a necessity to have even one lefty, I think he enjoyed being able to play matchups when situations warranted. Strong probably isn’t ready for primetime just yet as it relates to full innings of work for Milwaukee, but as a situational lefty who could pitch his way to more responsibility, there’s opportunity.

Still, all likelihood has Strong starting 2014 with the now-based-in-Biloxi Class-AA affiliate, the Biloxi Shuckers. Give him time there, move him up to Class-AAA Colorado Springs when he’s ready, and just maybe Strong ends up contributing down the stretch in September when the Brewers are hopefully looking to save some innings on Smith’s arm.

Bottom line though, Mike Strong is one to watch in 2015. If the Brewers front office thinks he’s worthy of a 40-man roster spot, he’s worthy of our attention.

(I just did that whole thing without one pun on his name. That’s a strong effort on my part.)

(Dang it.)

You can follow Mike Strong on Twitter (so you should): @Strong_Mike1188

Catch up on the countdown!

Gallardo Trade Details

 

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As first reported by Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports (and since confirmed by several respected writers), the Milwaukee Brewers are receiving three players in return for Yovani Gallardo who was traded to the Texas Rangers.

The three players are a shortstop, a relief pitcher and an 18-year-old starting pitching prospect.

The shortstop is 21-year-old Luis Sardiñas who was suggested by Ken Rosenthal as potentially being involved as the Rangers had offered the Venezuelan in other trade ideas this off-season. He’s a guy who some still regard highly (7th overall Rangers prospect according to Baseball America) while others (MLB Pipeline, unranked) don’t have him nearly as high anymore. He’s considered a true shortstop defensively which is never a bad thing to have in the system.

The relief pitcher is Corey Knebel, a 23-year-old former 1st round pick (2013, 39th overall) of the Detroit Tigers. Knebel made his MLB debut in May of 2014, appearing in a total of eight games for the Tigers. He was later traded to the Rangers in the Joakim Soria deal. Knebel was listed as the Rangers’ eighth-best prospect prior to the deal. Of Knebel’s abilities, the website says:

Knebel definitely has the weapons and competitive makeup with which to close games. His fastball ranges from 91-98 mph with tailing action, and he uses his height to throw it on a downhill plane. When he stays on top of his curveball, it can be just as nasty as his heater, arriving in the low 80s with sharp downward break.

There’s some funkiness to Knebel’s delivery, but it adds more deception than it detracts from his ability to throw strikes. He flashes a decent changeup, which had the Tigers initially considering trying him as a starter, but his future definitely is as a reliever.

Knebel is 6’3″, was a closer at the University of Texas, and quite clearly skyrocketed through the minors and into The Show. If healthy (he was shut down in August with a UCL injury), he joins a murky if somewhat crowded Brewers bullpen situation.

The youngster of the trio is Marcos Diplan, (20th Rangers prospect, MLBPipeline). He can reportedly touch 98 MPH and sits in the low 90s but has room to add power onto his young frame. Diplan was the consensus top pitcher in the 2013 international class coming out of the Dominican Republic, that coming from MLBPipeline.com.

All told, this is a quality return for the Brewers. There is no surefire superstar in the group, but for one guaranteed season of Gallardo, and a chance to sign him to an extension or at least extend a qualifying offer, this was probably about as strong a return as could have been hoped. Oh, and as I reported yesterday, the Brewers kicked in some money to Texas. Reports have it as $4 million. That could explain some of the delay as a dollar amount of that size would need approval from the commissioner’s office.

Both Sardinas and Knebel were on the Rangers 40-man roster. Gallardo leaving opens one spot.

***UPDATE: To clear the other needed spot, former organizational player of the year Hunter Morris was designated for assignment.***

Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers ’15 – #77 David Goforth

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Another day closer to Opening Day, another ballplayer profiled on “Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers” 2015 edition.

We’re 11 weeks out from the Brewers opener on April 6. That equates to 77 days for those who were told that there would be no math.

Wearing 77 on his jersey once Pitchers and Catchers report on February 20 is the newest Brewers draftee to be added to the 40-man roster…

David Goforth.

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This is the first time I’ve had the pleasure of writing a full article on David Paul Goforth. Last season he was announced as a non-roster invitee a full 11 days after his profile otherwise would have been written up. So we’ll go through some background first before getting into his 2014 and outlook for 2015.

The 5’10”, 205lb reliever was drafted by the Brewers in the 7th round of the 2011 draft out of Ole Miss (the University of Mississippi). Unlike yesterday’s subject, Taylor Jungmann, Goforth would sign right away and actually appear in 19 games for the short-season rookie ball affiliate Helena Brewers in 2011. Despite being targeted as an eventual relief pitcher, Goforth began the 2012 season in the Wisconsin Timber Rattler’s rotation. The Brewers use the philosophy that relievers can develop their repertoire and arm strength more quickly by beginning their development as starting pitchers. It’s a path they’ve taken with many players other than Goforth, one that they’ll likely continue to utilize.

Goforth would spend all of 2012 with the Class-A Timber Rattlers, logging 150.2 IP and a robust 4.66 ERA across 28 starts. That wasn’t much of a worry long-term however, given the plan and the development-based goals. The right-hander would begin 2013 with the Class-A Advanced Brevard County Manatees, still starting, but would earn a promotion to (primarily) the Class-AA Huntsville bullpen in the second half of June. While his numbers were never earthshattering, a combined 3.17 ERA and 3.46 FIP in 125.0 IP were enough to garner Goforth’s inclusion among the Brewers contingent sent to the Arizona Fall League. Goforth would make 12 appearances, striking out 15 hitters over 12.0 IP. He performed well enough that I thought he might make the step up and start this past season at Class-AAA Nashville.

Instead, Goforth would spend all of 2014 with Huntsville. In 64.2 IP over 54 games (including 44 games finished), Goforth would record 27 saves. He’d tally just 46 strikeouts, and walk 29 (for an untenable 4.0 BB/9). His ERA was elevated at 3.76 but part of that was no doubt fueled by a .290 BABIP against.

The end of the 2014 season brought with it an incredibly important decision for Goforth. When it came time to determine whether he deserved protection on the Brewers 40-man roster, the front office thought about it for several more hours than the other additions (Jungmann, Michael Strong, and Yadiel Rivera). When the Brewers first announced 40-man roster adds, it was the other three whose names were mentioned. But in the end, Goforth’s profile as a late-inning reliever whose fastball sits in the mid 90s (touching 98 MPH) who carries a trio of secondary pitches (cutter, curve, change) thanks to his time starting was enough to worry the Brewers that someone else might pluck him in the Rule 5 Draft. After all, relief pitchers are the easiest to “hide” in the middle of a bullpen.

Chances are good that he’ll make his Major League debut in 2015, but the bottom line is that while Goforth has a plus fastball and a promising cutter, it’s his command of his arsenal as opposed to its composition that’ll get him to Milwaukee and keep him there. But it all starts again in about a month at Maryvale for the 26-year-old Mississippi-born fireballer. It could be a season that makes his baseball career.

You can follow David Goforth on Twitter (so you should): @DavidGoforth33

Catch up on the countdown!

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