Results tagged ‘ Taylor Green ’
First and foremost, I hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving!
I’m always open to answering questions directly on Twitter, Facebook, or via email. When someone takes the time to seek out my opinion, they deserve a response…even if I don’t know. But, in a way to give thanks to my followers and friends I put out a call for questions so I could answer them here on the blog. This not only will hopefully advertise that I’m always willing to chat Brewers, but it’s also a little tip of the cap to give members of the Brewer Nation some pub too along with giving longer-form responses than Twitter allows.
If I don’t answer your question here (or some similar variation of it), I will respond to you via the social media forum you posed it in.
— Packman (@Packman1265) November 29, 2013
Over the past few seasons, the Brewers have emphasized competing now over planning for the long-term future. Bringing in veteran free agents, trading top prospects for rental pitchers, eschewing development for experience in many cases. This past season was ultimately an exception but more due to circumstance than design. The Brewers were structured to compete in 2013 and it was a long run of unfortunate events that wound up costing them a shot at a wild card berth.
Now, all that said, to the question: The Brewers appear like they’re preparing to take one final shot with this core group of big leaguers. They may resign Corey Hart on a one-year deal. They may give Rickie Weeks one more chance to sink or swim in 2014. They’ll give it a go for April, and probably May. If they’re in it, this is their “near future” chance. They don’t have a ready replacement at third base when Aramis Ramirez likely departs after 2014. They are light in impact prospects to fill any position over the next couple of seasons. Should the Brewers fail in 2014 (and even if they play well, they need a lot of other teams to falter), they’re next likeliest window is at least a couple of years down the road.
@BrewerNation How should the Brewers pitch to Kottaras?
— Jαmie Krueger (@jamielkrueger) November 29, 2013
Four outside and take your base. (Editor’s note…which is also me: Kottaras was recently acquired by the Chicago Cubs.)
@BrewerNation Would Aoki have more value as a trade chip, or a 4th OF/Lefty bat off the bench?
— Aaron McCabe (@acmccabe) November 29, 2013
This would be assuming the Brewers would move Ryan Braun to right field and start Khris Davis on a regular basis in left. If that’s the case, Norichika Aoki would be very valuable as a pinch-hitter, especially when you simply need a ball put in play. He is capable of defending at all three defensive positions as well.
However, the Brewers already have a much better defender to back up all three spots in Logan Schafer and as a fifth outfielder, Caleb Gindl has shown a little bit of pop. Couple that he’s ultimately expendable with his extremely affordable 2014 contract, and Aoki could fetch the Brewers a decent return despite turning 32 before the season. In my opinion, the better value is in moving him.
@BrewerNation Is anyone on the management or coaching side of the organization on the hot seat this year? Melvin, Ash, Roeneke?
— Dylan Wendt (@BeerBratBrewers) November 29, 2013
If there was to be a change during or after the 2014 season (because they would have made changes by now if they were going to before it), it would likely be a second-tier change like a coach or some scouts. It can’t be ignored though that Mark Attanasio inherited Doug Melvin when his group bought the team and the principal owner went directly against the suggestion of his GM when he made the call to sign Kyle Lohse. It didn’t feel all season like it was the beginning of any dissension, but ultimately you never know.
@BrewerNation what do you see as a viable first base solution if Hart is not resigned?
— Earl Barker (@ebarker111) November 29, 2013
First of all, I don’t see them not resigning Hart. He wants to be here and I given the injury risk I can’t see someone else giving him a ton of guaranteed money instead of the kind of “modest base salary with a lot of incentives” contract I reported that the Brewers were preparing a couple of weeks ago.
If that somehow falls apart though and Hart plays elsewhere in 2014 I think the Brewers would be best served committing to someone capable of handling the position for the entire season. No converting shortstops or relying on the Yuniesky Betancourts of the league. I also think that Hunter Morris would benefit from a bit more time in Nashville before getting the full-time gig in Milwaukee. If the Brewers want to compete though, they can’t afford a offensive black hole like in 2013 or even to platoon the position.
@BrewerNation Even though he’s against it, would moving Braun back to 3B make sense to make room for Davis with Ramirez possibly gone?
— Jake Smith (@jksmth) November 29, 2013
No. If a player is against something like that, especially when those adverse feelings come from experience, it’s likely to be a bad situation. Ryan Braun was terrible defensively at third base, so much so that it almost cost him the 2007 NL Rookie of the Year Award. In 2015, when Ramirez is likely gone, hopefully someone will have stepped up to fill the void at third base, be that Taylor Green or maybe as a bridge to one of the low-level minor leaguers with a high ceiling, or otherwise.
@BrewerNation will scooter gennett be the opening day starting second baseman, if so where does rickie weeks end up.
— Matt (@mje_96) November 29, 2013
In his season-ending press conference, Doug Melvin mentioned specifically that Gennett probably had a leg up in the second baseman’s competition entering 2014. It will be a closely monitored situation all spring training long. So many variables are at work. Gennett played solid defense and hit right-handed pitchers very well, two shortcomings of Weeks’ game at this point. Gennett also couldn’t hit southpaws to save his life, or possibly his job as an everyday option. Then again, Weeks is coming off of a serious leg injury (and successful surgical repair) and his ability to play everyday will be scrutinized as well. A platoon feels like a viable option as we stand today on the last day of November, but Weeks is a veteran who gets out of slumps in the batter’s box. The team could also benefit from Weeks regaining some trade value if they do decide to go with Gennett, which could lead to early at-bats for Weeks.
Should Gennett win the outright starting job for one reason or another early enough in camp, expect Weeks to be featured often in Cactus League play in an effort to get him moved elsewhere. The Rays had interest a year ago around this time and the Royals at least were reportedly sniffing around before the trading deadline. There could be options, but it takes two to tango, as they say.
@BrewerNation if you were GM, would you deal Braun for lottery tickets? Or try to win now while he’s still in his prime?
— Will Hsu (@wphsu) November 29, 2013
There’s no way I’d try to trade Braun right now. I wouldn’t be able to get proper return on the value because he’s seen as somewhat of an unknown right now. Teams think he’ll perform when on the field but the question is how healthy he’ll be able to stay. Even if I were going to look to trade Braun at some point in his contract, it couldn’t be until he has a typical 2014 season and I’d be able to ask for and get a package of high-ceiling, can’t-miss, solid-gold prospects.
@BrewerNation I would like to see the crew get a lefty starter. Anyone available?
— Tom Neises (@NeisesTom) November 29, 2013
Several available, but how good do you want that starter to be? Free agent Chris Narveson is drawing some interest after pitching well in the Caribbean this off-season. He’s certainly familiar with the organization and they with him. But some of the other names available aren’t exactly exciting given their circumstances. You’d be looking at a fifth starter with most of the arms out there and is that worth denying the youth a chance?
And now from Facebook:
“Steven Linkins: Any idea how big a player the brewers plan to be in free agency? they don’t have many holes but it would sure be nice to have a contender again”
Doug Melvin is taking things slowly this off-season as he tends to do. Despite a flurry of activity elsewhere in the league, the Brewers are biding their time while they wait for Corey Hart to receive his medical clearance, expected to come on December 3rd. He is their primary target this winter. Should that fall through, the Brewers would have a need at first base and at least some money to spend.
“Carlo Marinello: Do you think the rumor of Aoki being traded and Braun playing RF is a high probability?”
I think the latter half of that is likely. The only reason it wouldn’t happen is if Braun is completely uncomfortable and they want to make sure he can focus on his offense in 2014. Whether Aoki gets traded or falls into a platoon of sorts in left field with Khris Davis will depend on how strong the offers are which Melvin will certainly field between now and March 31st.
“Ryan Hewitt: If Aoki isn’t traded, do you think he would be okay with being a 4th OF?”
Any competitive athlete wants to be on the field as much as possible but Aoki has proven to be a quality teammate in every respect. He didn’t join the Brewers in 2012 as a starter and if he fell into a platoon or fourth outfielder role to begin 2014, I’m sure he’d continue to play hard to earn his playing time back.
“John Suess: why not Braun at first; you have three other qualified outfielders ready now (plus others in the minors). Braun has played infield and he can also then sub in the outfield. I’d never get rid of Aoki – he does too many things right.”
Braun is an above average outfielder, one who gives you an advantage offensively as well. There’s no reason to force him to first base at this point of his career. He may well one day be better off there but for now he can run, defend, and still hit well above average as an outfielder. His bat doesn’t profile with as much premium at first base either.
“Scott Underwood: Are the Brewers better off resigning Corey Hart or moving on?”
Much better off resigning him. He’s the best bat available at first base on the market that doesn’t come with the loss of a draft pick, he’ll come much cheaper for 2014 than they will anyway, they don’t have a ready option in-house, and if he fails they can justifiably move on in 2015.
“Robert Boese: Any Chances Of The Brewers Changing Logo Or Uniforms For Next Year?”
Other Than What Seems To Be A Special “Japanese” Uniform Day Coming The Weekend Of The Aoki Bobblehead, They’re Sticking And Staying With What They’ve Currently Got.
“T.m. Ryan III: You may know the answer any reason why #17 hasnt been retired or ever used since Gumby had it. If memory serves me correctly hes the last to have it”
The Brewers have only retired five numbers in franchise history, and all of the players for whom they’ve done so are members of the Hall of Fame. They haven’t issued #17 since Jim Gantner last wore it in 1992, true, likely out of respect for what he meant to the franchise. It’s more of a “soft” retirement if anything.
“Adam Mrozek: Are the Brewers really shopping Ryan Braun? If so, my Brewer cap is getting burned.”
Your cap is safe. Braun is not being shopped.
“David Hannes: Could Rickie Weeks or Aramis Ramirez play first base this year?”
Ramirez would be well-served to move to first base if he wants to extend his career much longer, but this doesn’t seem to be the season for it. He’ll rightfully want to enter his what could be his final free agency as a third baseman.
Weeks has hard hands, is a small target, isn’t particularly flexible to stretch for balls, and wouldn’t make much of a first baseman…especially if his offensive woes continue.
“Terry Fraser: Are the Brewer looking at Garrett Jones? Perfect bench player for us- power off the bench, plays 1B, LF, RF, lefty bat vs closers.”
Jones is certainly versatile and would be a welcomed addition to the bench in Milwaukee, in my opinion, at the right price. However, other teams that could use his skills will be able to offer him much more than the Brewers would (or really should). Sean Halton can provide similar defensive coverage and some of the offensive ability for a fraction of Jones’ cost. Taylor Green covers you at even more spots than Halton does and also hits left-handed.
Robinson Cano. Short of that, would Hart and O’Flaherty work?
So that wraps it up for the first edition of Brewer Nation Q&A. I hope you enjoyed the format and will participate in the future if you didn’t this time.
As always, I’m available on social media for questions as I stated earlier. Find the links at the top.
Do you have a follow up question or something else you’d like to know? Disagree with my answers? There’s a wonderful comments section right here on the blog. Put it to work!
The following tweet hit the Twitterverse yesterday evening.
Taylor Green resigns w brewers. Mlb invite w several opt outs. Hopefully in mlb entire season.Milwaukee is a 1st class organization #brewers
— Joshua Kusnick (@JoshuaKusnick) October 22, 2013
As tweets are limited in length, here’s an explanation of the second sentence.
“Mlb invite” indicates that Green’s deal includes a spring training invitation to big league camp. However the “w several opt outs” part of that tweet indicates that Green will have the option to become a free agent at different times if certain circumstances aren’t met.
Brewers.com beat writer Adam McCalvy got the details of those opt outs directly from Kusnick.
“Kusnick said the deal cannot be terminated before May 22, and includes a pair of opt-outs. If Green is not on the 40-man roster by June 15, the Brewers have 48 hours to contact the 29 other teams to see if one will add Green to its own 40-man. If a team accepts, the Brewers would release Green. Green can also opt-out to take a contract in Asia; the Brewers would get $150,000 (if) Green signs such a deal before Dec. 15 and $300,000 after that date.”
Green was removed from the Brewers’ 40-man roster after being reinstated from the 60-day disabled list. He had hip surgery back in April to repair a torn labrum and missed the entire season. Green breaks a recent, if small, trend of Brewers 40-man roster removals leaving the organization. Both Chris Narveson and Blake Lalli declared their free agency.
In other player news, Joshua Kusnick is the agent for a handful of Brewers minor leaguers as well, including Zach Kroenke, Alan Sharkey and Brandon Diaz.
Speaking of Kroenke, who first joined the Brewers in 2013, Kusnick also told McCalvy that the Brewers and Kroenke were close on a new minor league deal for the 2014 season but also tweeted that:
Kroenke deal is not official yet so I can’t one way or other he’s sleeping on a very fine offer.
— Joshua Kusnick (@JoshuaKusnick) October 22, 2013
Kroenke, 29, went 5-16 in 32 games (19 starts) for Nashville in 2013. He posted a 4.51 ERA along the way.
It’s been just four business days since the Milwaukee Brewers played their final game of the 2013 Major League Baseball regular season. A number of transactions — both at the 40-man roster level and elsewhere in the organization — have happened so far this week, so here’s a full “recappening” to make sure you’re up to speed.
I include my tweets about the bullet items to illustrate that the best way to get this information quickly is to just follow me on Twitter (@BrewerNation).
During the week of September 12-18:
- RHP Arcenio Leon was signed to a 2014 MiLB contract (but it would be announced officially by the team finally on 10/1).
— The Brewer Nation (@BrewerNation) September 21, 2013
Tuesday, October 1
- RHP Austin Blaski (21st round draft pick in 2012) retired from professional baseball. Blaski was a 2013 All-Star for the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers before an arm injury cost him the rest of his season. He had surgery and retired, no doubt, as a result.
- The Brewers announced the minor league resigning of several players to 2014 contracts
- The aforementioned Arcenio Leon.
- C/3B Robinzon Diaz
- SS Hector Gomez
- INF Eugenio Velez
- OF Eric Patterson was released.
#Brewers announced that Eugenio Velez, Robinzon Diaz & Hector Gomez were signed to 2014 contracts today. All receive big league camp invite.
— The Brewer Nation (@BrewerNation) October 1, 2013
Wednesday, October 2
- LHP Chris Narveson elected minor league free agency
- C/1B Blake Lalli (who was DFA’d more than two weeks prior) elected minor league free agency
- RHP Dylan Brock (34th round draft pick in 2013) was suspended 50 games for violating the MiLB drug policy.
Thursday, October 3
- 1B Mat Gamel was lost on waivers to the Chicago Cubs. Gamel was waived to open up a spot on the swollen 40-man roster. (The Brewers have until five days after the World Series to reinstate any players not currently counted against that roster due to 60-day DL designation, suspension, etc.)
- INF Taylor Green was reinstated from the 60-day Disabled List.
- Green, OF Josh Prince, and RHP Nick Bucci were outrighted to Triple-A Nashville.
— The Brewer Nation (@BrewerNation) October 3, 2013
— The Brewer Nation (@BrewerNation) October 3, 2013
Friday, October 4
- (THIS SPACE WILL BE UPDATED WITH ANY TRANSACTIONS SHOULD THEY OCCUR ON FRIDAY)
A couple of notes about the transactions this week:
- The removal of Prince and Bucci from the 40-man roster opens two spots on it. It currently stands at 38.
- The Brewers have at minimum two players to add back in Rickie Weeks and Ryan Braun.
- Two spots should open when Michael Gonzalez and Yuniesky Betancourt declare free agency following the World Series.
- There will be some names requiring protection from the Rule V Draft that will be added as the weeks progress as well.
- Nick Bucci’s removal from the 40-man roster shouldn’t come as a big surprise. He was only added after last season following a breakout campaign. A shoulder injury cost him almost the entirety of 2013 (he got into one game and recorded two outs) and position him for a good amount of work. It’s significant that he was outrighted to Nashville despite never having pitched above High-A. That means that though he will be exposed to the Rule V Draft in December, any team selecting him would need to add him to their MLB roster and keep him there the entire 2014 season. That’s quite frankly unlikely to happen.
Following Wednesday’s loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Milwaukee Brewers formally announced a trio of roster moves.
First, it was stated again that Francisco Rodriguez would have his contract selected before tomorrow’s game. This move required two additional moves to open a spot on both the 40-man and 25-man rosters.
Taylor Green, who will miss the entire season following hip surgery, was transferred to the 60-day disabled list from the 15-day DL. This opened a spot on the 40-man.
As for the 25-man spot, C/1B Blake Lalli was optioned down to the Nashville Sounds. He’ll have a chance to play regularly and hopefully heat his bat back up.
Rodriguez will join a well-used but mostly effective bullpen to provide another arm to hopefully collect outs.
During his 30-day evaluation window, Rodriguez pitched in four games – two each for High-A Brevard County and Triple-A Nashville – where he combined to post a line of:
4.0 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 3 BB, 7 K
The work against Triple-A hitters was against mostly guys with big league experience, for what it’s worth.
Regardless though, after a tumultuous exit from Milwaukee, K-Rod is back. How he’ll be welcomed depends in no small part on how he pitches.
Following today’s final exhibition game (a victory over the Chicago White Sox), the Milwaukee Brewers announced their 25-man roster for Opening Day.
Here is the breakdown by position.
- John Axford
- Burke Badenhop
- Marco Estrada
- Mike Fiers
- Alfredo Figaro
- Yovani Gallardo
- Michael Gonzalez
- Tom Gorzelanny
- Jim Henderson
- Brandon Kintzler
- Kyle Lohse
- Chris Narveson
- Wily Peralta
- Jonathan Lucroy
- Martin Maldonado
- Alex Gonzalez
- Yuniesky Betancourt
- Aramis Ramirez
- Jean Segura
- Rickie Weeks
- Norichika Aoki
- Ryan Braun
- Khris Davis
- Carlos Gomez
- Logan Schafer
The Brewers will also be carrying four (4) players on the big league 15-day disabled list to begin the season (Jeff Bianchi, Taylor Green, Corey Hart, Mark Rogers) and one (1) on the 60-day DL (Mat Gamel).
Special congratulations go out to Alfredo Figaro, Mike Fiers, Jim Henderson, Jean Segura, Khris Davis, Wily Peralta, Martin Maldonado, and Logan Schafer who are all making their first Opening Day MLB roster!
Sorry, but I think I had to start the blog that way. I had something else worked up but it felt wrong so I went corny. Regardless, the fact holds true that we are just five excruciating days away from Opening Day at Miller Park on Monday, April 1st.
Today, unfortunately, we take a look at someone who has had the unfortunate circumstance of having been placed on the 15-day disabled list to start the season. That man is…
After making his big league debut late in the 2011 season, Taylor Green yo-yo’ed a bit between Nashville and Milwaukee during the 2012 season. He started the season with the Nashville Sounds after missing out on a 25-man roster spot when some veteran backups (like Travis Ishikawa) were kept on instead. Following Mat Gamel’s season-ending knee injury (the one in 2012, not this year’s edition), Green was recalled to the Brewers on May 5th. He started at first base a little before the Brewers committed to playing Corey Hart there every day, but Green began to slow down at the plate in his limited role (.198 AVG in 81 at-bats but .233 in May and only .167 in June) so the Brewers sent him back to Nashville to get him increased playing time.
As a sidebar, Green has appeared over-matched at the plate throughout his big league career to a certain degree but all that has told me over that time is that he simply isn’t suited to the role of a pinch-hitter. When Green first came up in 2011, he recorded a base hit in his first plate appearance and hit very well right away, but the more he sat, the more off his timing became and he just couldn’t get it going again while mostly sitting.
So, back to 2012. Green was optioned back down on July 8th to regain his timing and get more steady work at the new-to-him position of first base just in case they needed him down the road in 2012. Green was then recalled to the big leagues on September 6th, after spending nearly two months in Triple-A. He had begun to hit again before the recall which is exactly the Brewers wanted.
Unfortunately, as Green was back to primarily a bench role, he floundered down the stretch. It takes a special breed to truly excel in a role with limited playing time. It’s why guys like Mark Kotsay continue to get jobs. He’s reliable as a spot starter and pinch-hitter.
Green is good defensively at his natural position of third base, he plays a capable keystone, and has been learning first base since last season. In an effort to improve his versatility he even played from outfield corner in the Liga de Beisbol Dominicano for the Leones de Escogido. He hit .300 in the Dominican, for what it’s worth.
Coming into 2013, Green looked primed to break camp on the 25-man roster for the first time. Corey Hart was hurt, Mat Gamel would be starting at first, and other than shortstop (which Green cannot play), the most experienced, and versatile bench hitter available was Green. Then, the better news for Taylor was that Gamel would miss the season which opened up a starting job. In case you were skimming earlier, regular playing time is what’s best for Green to stay sharp at the plate. It was all coming together.
Green left Brewers camp to play with his native Canada in the World Baseball Classic. The original worry was that he’d miss a bunch of at-bats as a reserve. But fortune would shine again as Brett Lawrie succumbed to injury and Green became the starting third baseman for Canada. They would only play three games but Green played well in them.
Luck would run out for Green though as prior to a game back at Brewers camp, he would injure his hip which has caused him to land on the disabled list to begin the season.
In the meantime, Alex Gonzalez has taken to first base quickly, Blake Lalli has hit very well this spring and may have earned himself a spot on the team, and prospect Khris Davis has opened many an eye during the Cactus League to perhaps play his way onto the roster sooner rather than later. In other words, what once seemed to be a lot of timely confluence has resulted in a likely optioning once Green is healthy. Obviously things can change between now and then, but assuming everything is the same on April 1st as it is once Green is healthy, it would appear likely to see him making his season debut in a game for the Sounds as opposed to the Brewers. That’s just the way the ball bounces sometimes.
Do I think Taylor Green will contribute positively to the Milwaukee Brewers in 2013? Absolutely I do. Will it be early on? That I must doubt.
Miss anyone along the way? Catch up on the Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers profiles to this point:
- #7 Norichika Aoki
- #8 Ryan Braun
- #9 Jean Segura
- #11 Alex Gonzalez
- #12 Martin Maldonado
- #14 Jeff Bianchi
- #15 Caleb Gindl
- #16 Aramis Ramirez
- #20 Jonathan Lucroy
- #21 Donnie Murphy
- #22 Logan Schafer
- #23 Rickie Weeks
- #24 Mat Gamel
- #27 Carlos Gomez
- #29 Jim Henderson
- #31 Burke Badenhop
- #32 Tom Gorzelanny
- #37 Mark Rogers
- #38 Chris Narveson
- #41 Marco Estrada
- #45 Kelvim Escobar
- #46 Hiram Burgos
- #48 Donovan Hand
- #49 Yovani Gallardo
- #51 Michael Gonzalez
- #53 Brandon Kintzler
- #54 Josh Stinson
- #57 Khris Davis
- #58 Josh Prince
- #59 John Axford
- #60 Wily Peralta
- #61 Darren Byrd
- #63 Tyler Thornburg
- #64 Mike Fiers
- #65 Miguel De Los Santos
- #67 Santo Manzanillo
- #68 Jesus Sanchez
- #70 Nick Bucci
- #71 Johnny Hellweg
- #73 Ariel Peña
- #74 Michael Olmsted
- #75 Travis Webb
- #77 Jed Bradley
- #78 Taylor Jungmann
- BONUS ARTICLE: #91-94 Adam Weisenberger, Hunter Morris, Kentrail Davis, Rafael Neda
The Brewers have announced that both Taylor Green and Mark Rogers have been placed on the 15-day disabled list.
Green was placed, retroactive to 3/22, with a left hip labral injury. He played for Team Canada in the World Baseball Classic and started every game (three total) at third base and returned to the Brewers healthy. Until the injury, Green was in competition to start games at first base until the return of injured starter Corey Hart.
Mark Rogers was placed on the disabled list, retroactive to 3/25, with right shoulder instability. After maintaining all spring that Rogers was fine despite reduced velocity and control, both sides finally agreed that something must be wrong physically with the oft-injured pitcher. With multiple spots to win open in the rotation to start camp, Rogers was inconsistent at best during his outings. An added benefit to placing Rogers on the DL is that the team can retain him while they attempt to get him right physically. Rogers entered the year out of minor league options.
The Brewers had 12 total participants on six teams in this year’s World Baseball Classic, down from the projected 15 on eight teams just before the tournament started.
As the second half of the tournament moves into its double-elimination second round, three teams containing players from the Brewers organization have now been eliminated. As a result, the seven players on those three teams will be returning to Brewers camp, if they haven’t already.
Mike Walker, who rejoined the Brewers earlier this week, led Team Australia in hitting, going 5-for-11 (.455), but didn’t score nor did he drive a run in. Australia had a thin lineup overall and was simply outmatched by the strong teams in their Pool. Australia’s early departure actually allowed Walker to report to Brewers minor league camp right on time and with a worthwhile experience in tow.
Next up to be eliminated with Brewers implications was Team Mexico. They were officially eliminated Saturday night once Team USA defeated Team Italy in Pool play. That set up the winner of Sunday’s Team USA vs Team Canada game joining Team Italy in Florida for the start of Pool 2. Returning to the Brewers already today were starting pitchers Yovani Gallardo and Marco Estrada. They each made one start in the World Baseball Classic.
Gallardo defeated the powerful Americans in his start, despite being limited to just 49 pitches per request of the Milwaukee Brewers. Yo was sharp and stymied the USA bats throughout his 3.1 official innings pitched. Gallardo called the experience of defeating Team USA something he’ll always remember. After there being some doubt about whether he would even pitch in the Classic — after developing some tightness in his groin before joining Team Mexico — that he was able to perform well must feel good.
In quotes to Jose Romero of MLB.com, when Gallardo was asked about the atmosphere and intensity of the WBC he had this to say: “That’s the way baseball should be. The fans locked into the game just as much as the players, rooting for their country. There were a lot of fans of Mexico from all over the place who might have come in for it, and we wanted to have a good game. Show them what they came for.”
Also to Romero, Marco Estrada commented on his WBC experience which was less fortuitous than that of his rotation-mate. Said Estrada, “It was awesome. I got to meet a lot of guys, a lot of people I never knew before. There’s a lot of good players on our team, and just getting a chance to meet some of those guys … I only played with them for a week, but you become friends with a lot of them. That’s the one thing I’m going to take from this, that I got to meet a lot of nice people.”
As for the relatively early hook? “The thing about the Classic is that you get one opportunity to show what you’ve got, and like in my case, it didn’t go so well. So that was it for me,” Estrada said. “The first thing, honestly I felt pretty good. I thought I was locating well. Wasn’t getting a couple of calls and then I started elevating. I think I started trying way too hard and that’s when I got knocked around. Once I got out of that first inning, I settled in and it was fine after that. But it was too late by that time.”
For his part, Roenicke is understandably happy to get his pitchers back to Maryvale. He was talking about getting Gallardo and Estrada back in line for their eventual turns in the Brewers rotation once the regular season begins.
Finally then, we come to the losing team in Sunday afternoon’s Pool D tilt, Team Canada.
The Canadians had the highest number of Brewers players involved (shocking, I know) as four players were participating on their behalf. Pitchers Jim Henderson and John Axford both saw action today, with Henderson bearing the brunt of the late USA rally to assume the lead.
All told, the numbers may end up being forgettable for Henderson and even Axford, but the chance to represent your country simply cannot be quantified in numbers alone.
Someone who will be pleased with the opportunity to represent country along with pretty good results on the field is Brewers infielder Taylor Green who ended up starting at third base in all three games for Canada after Brett Lawrie was injured. Green ended up at .286 after an 0-for-5 final game, but he hit very well in the two other games, going 4-for-9 between the two. It was a rough finish, sure, with the goose egg at the dish and a couple of defensive miscues (neither of which were really his fault), but overall the experience should be viewed positively. Now Green returns to camp in a battle to win the starting first baseman’s job entering the 2013 regular season.
As for Rene Tosoni, he never got an official at-bat, though his one plate appearance was certainly memorable as it was his being plunked by Mexico that incited the brawl which will be replayed for years to come.
So for the Brewers now back at Maryvale Baseball Park, the experience was a good one despite a lack of overall team success. Kudos to them for participating, for wanting to participate. Kudos to the Brewers organization for understanding what it means to represent country and countrymen and allowing them all the opportunity to make their own decisions regarding the tournament.
There will be five Brewers players whose teams play in the second round. Ryan Braun and Jonathan Lucroy are with Team USA of course. Martin Maldonado and Hiram Burgos will move on with Team Puerto Rico. And with Team Netherlands, infielder Hainley Statia has only gotten two ABs coming into today, but his team has enjoyed some success advancing into the second round and having an opportunity to advance again to the Semifinal Round in San Francisco if they can beat Team Cuba, something they’ve already done once in this year’s tournament.
Brewers participants and their teams were in action again all over the World Baseball Classic tournament on Saturday.
Here is a recap of the performances by those who saw action Saturday:
Green had a great day at the plate for Canada on Saturday. Starting at 3B and once again hitting second, Green finished the day 3-for-4 with a walk and three runs scored. That included two head-to-head match ups against Marco Estrada. Green singled in the first inning and grounded back to Estrada in the third. Green’s other two base hits and his walk all came against left-handed pitching.
Green also had one outstanding defensive pick at third when a ball short-hopped him on a ground ball. Otherwise, solid play in the field again from Green. Team Canada is missing nothing defensively with Brett Lawrie out. In fact, they’re probably better off.
John Axford – Canada - @JohnAxford
Axford worked the ninth inning for the Canadian contingent, shutting the door on Team Mexico and helping to keep his team alive in WBC for at least another night. That work came after the fireworks on the field which were ignited when Brewers farmhand Rene Tosoni was hit by a pitch late in the game. More on this in Tosoni’s section.
Axford’s line: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 K, 0.00 ERA.
Rene Tosoni – Canada – @Tosoni08
Tosoni entered the game late as a pinch-runner and was stranded right away. He stayed in the game defensively in left field and would come to the plate again before the day was done. Tosoni was the target of some anger by Team Mexico. Already up pretty big late in the game, Canadian catcher Chris Robinson bunted for a base hit. This breaks an unwritten rule in regular baseball, but in the WBC one of the tie-breakers is based on run differential. After Canada was mercy ruled by Italy earlier in the tournament, Canada realized that they needed every run they could get. Tosoni was up next, got hit, and took offense to it. The catcher for Mexico kind of suggested physically that Tosoni should just go to first base and when Tosoni pushed back the benches cleared and a handful of individual skirmishes broke out. Luckily no Brewers were hurt and even though Tosoni’s plunking incited the brawl (where actual punches were thrown by more than one player) and Tosoni was ejected, none of the Brewers on either team did anything over the top.
Martin Maldonado – Puerto Rico - @Machete1224
Maldonado started this ballgame for Puerto Rico at first base, hitting seventh. Defensively, his night was uneventful. At the plate, Maldonado got two plate appearances before being pinch-hit for. In his first AB against Carlos Zambrano and Team Venezuela, Maldonado struck out. His second trip to the plate was against a relief pitcher and he worked a walked. Maldy would come around to score after being bunted to second base. He was driven home on a single by Angel Pagan.
Puerto Rico would defeat Venezuela and advance to the second round of the tournament with play in Florida. Also already moving to that Pool for sure are the Dominican Republic and Italy. Hiram Burgos will be eligible to pitch for Puerto Rico again in Florida.
Started in left field and hit third in the batting order once again. Braun came up in the first inning with Jimmy Rollins and Brandon Phillips on base ahead of him but grounded into a double play. Braun led off the fourth inning with a single to left field. He then scored from first base on cleanup hitter Joe Mauer’s double to the wall. It was Team USA’s first run of the night and at the time cut the deficit in half.
Braun came up in the 5th inning with runners on first and third and only one out. He hammered a ball that just pulled foul past the left field foul pole, and then struck out a couple of pitches later. Braun singled in his fourth at-bat and flew out in his final plate appearance of the day. He finished 2-for-5 with 1 R scored.
Jonathan Lucroy – USA - @JLucroy20
Lucroy started the game on Saturday night for Team USA behind the plate and was ninth in the batting order for Joe Torre. In the bottom of the first inning, starting pitcher Ryan Vogelsong threw a wild pitch past Lucroy which led to Italy’s first run of the night.
Lucroy’s first trip to the plate was a simple fly ball out to the center fielder. He would single past a diving shortstop in his second AB and eventually score on a David Wright grand slam. His third AB was a fly out to deep center and he finished his night with a walk. All told, Lucroy was 1-for-3 with a walk and a run scored.
Estrada started the game for Team Mexico a day after his Brewers teammate Yovani Gallardo effectively shut down Team USA over 3+ innings. Estrada was not as sharp out of the gate and he surrendered four runs in his first inning of work. He faced Brewers teammate Taylor Green twice, allowing a first inning single and a inducing a groundball comebacker to himself.
After the first inning, Estrada pitched well. He only allowed two more hits the rest of his day which ended after three innings and at 53 pitches thrown.
Estrada’s final line: 3.0 IP, 7 H, 4 R (all earned), 2 K, 0 BB, 12.00 ERA