March 2011

Indians 9, Brewers 7

The Brewers’ final from Cactus League play on Tuesday was Cleveland 9, Milwaukee 7.

Ex-Rattlers in the game:

Sean Halton (’10): 0-for-1, RUN
Erik Komatsu (’09): 0-for-1
Martin Maldonado (’09): 0-for-1

Asdrubal Cabrera (’05): 1-for-3, RUN
Shin-soo Choo (’02): 1-for-4, RUN, RBI
Luis Valbuena (’06): 2-for-3

Work around the stadium

The new benches are going in the dugouts.
work around the stadium 001.JPGAnd, the temperature is rising.  There is a little patch of green in right-center.  I heard a rumor about 50s by the weekend.  Pictures on the progress of the melting snow as the days go by.

work around the stadium 002.JPG

And a note on Lawrie

This Richard Griffin mailbag column from March 10 at the Toronto Star included this exchange about former Rattlers second baseman Brett Lawrie.

Do you see the Jays giving Lawrie the third baseman gig? He’s done nothing but impress thus far at camp, and he looks like the hardest working guy on the roster.

Peter, Hamilton

A….As for Lawrie, I have a feeling there is a significant voice in the coaches room and front office that would love to see him in the majors sooner rather than later.

He is a pure athlete and so the transition to third base has seemed effortless. He makes that quick feed to second base as well as anyone I ‘ve seen in a while and has good baseball instincts. He works hard and prepares hard.

So what if one time somebody duct taped huge vats of liquor to his hand. Who hasn’t had that happen? My thinking is that will let him get his feet under him at AAA-Las Vegas and then bring him up and move Jose Bautista back to right.

Checking Lawrie’s stats in spring training this season: 10 games; 10-for-27 (.370); 2 homers, 5 RBI.

Speaking of Pineda

This story from the Seattle Times seems to point Pineda to the Seattle rotation:

One of the more exciting rookie pitchers to come the Mariners’ way in years should be in uniform on opening day.

At least, that’s currently the plan for young Mariners flamethrower Michael Pineda, who has dazzled the team here with high-90s fastballs and his composure on the mound. Team sources indicated Monday that, in the wake of announcing that left-handed starter Nate Robertson will undergo elbow surgery and be out until June, the final rotation spot is Pineda’s to lose.

Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik declined to confirm or deny any suggestion that Pineda is the front-runner for the job. But Zduriencik did say service-time issues will not stand in the way of any young player making the team if they clearly earn their spot.

“We’ve got two more weeks to figure things out,” Zduriencik said after his Mariners extended their unbeaten streak to eight games with a 5-3 win over the Chicago Cubs at Peoria Stadium.

That Brewers-M’s game may be worth checking out on Wednesday night. If only for this fact: When Pineda was on the Opening Day Roster for the Timber Rattlers in 2008, he was 6′-5″ and weighed in at 180. This page has Pineda at 6′-7″…260.

Brewers 12, Giants 8

The Brewers won their fourth straight Cactus League game with a 12-8 victory over the Giants on Monday.  Chris Haft’s game story is here.  The game boxscore is here.

Ex-Rattlers in the game:
Taylor Green (’09): 0-for-1

Also, taking a quick peek ahead to Wednesday night’s game between the Brewers and the Mariners, the starting pitching matchup is Yovani Gallardo for the Crew against Michael Pineda (’08) for the M’s.  Wednesday’s game is on TV, too.  Head over to FOX Sports Wisconsin’s listing page and scroll down to Wednesday.

Yep. I’ll be tuning in for that.

Another Brewers Prospect list

Jonathan Mayo has this story on the Brewers website. His Top Ten

  1. Mark Rogers
  2. Wily Peralta
  3. Kyle Heckathorn
  4. Scooter Gennett
  5. Amaury Rivas
  6. Eric Farris
  7. Cody Scarpetta
  8. Kentrail Davis
  9. Tyler Thornburg
  10. Jimmy Nelson

Click the link for video, Mayo’s scouting reports on each of the players, and see under the radar (under the radar) players Erik Komatsu and Dan Merklinger.

A taste of the scouting reports for two potential Rattlers for 2011 and predictions:

9. Tyler Thornburg, RHP: The 2010 third-rounder out of Charleston Southern was hampered in his summer debut by a minor injury, though he did show that Pioneer League hitters were no match for him (.179 average against; 38 K’s in 23 1/3 innings). He has a good fastball and outstanding curve. If his changeup and command can improve, he could prove wrong those who think his size means he’s better suited for the bullpen and be a starter long term. He’ll serve in that role for his first full season.

10. Jimmy Nelson, RHP: At his best, the 2010 second-round pick features a heavy fastball (he had a 3.00 groundout-flyout ratio in his brief pro debut last summer) and a good slider. He has a changeup, but it needs work to catch up to the other two pitches. He’s big and durable and could be a workhorse in the middle or back of a rotation. If the third pitch doesn’t come, he could have a future as a short reliever with his other two offerings. Either way, he could be the type to move fairly quickly, starting with a full-season assignment in 2011.


Hitter of the Year — Gennett
He’ll continue to live up to his name, playing hard while leading the organization in batting average and continuing to show surprising extra-base pop.

Pitcher of the Year — Nelson
Heckathorn could walk away with his second straight award, but here’s a hunch that things will click for Nelson, as he’ll earn a promotion while topping the system in ERA.

The Company Man

Kirby Arnold of The Everett Herald has a nice story about former Timber Rattlers player, coach, and manager Scott Steinmann.  He also digs into the Herald archives for this picture from a Randy Johnson rehab start back in 1996.  Steinmann, who coached for the Aquasox in 2010, will manage Everett this season.


Eighteen games into the 1998 season at Class AA Orlando, with a .189 batting average in 125 minor league games over two-plus years, minor league director Benny Looper delivered some harsh news.

“Benny pulled me in and said they’d run out of a spot for me,” Steinmann said. “It’s very tough to hear those words. You realize that it’s been taken away from you, that you didn’t get a chance to reach your goal.”

Then Looper said something else. He told Steinmann that the Mariners could release him and let him try to sign with another team, but they’d also welcome him to stay with the organization as a coach.

“I realized that if I wasn’t showing that glimmer of hope yet, I should go on with my life and go into coaching,” he said. “I wanted to stay in baseball. Coaching is what I wanted to do anyway, but it just came a little sooner than I’d thought. It was a great gesture that they offered me a job at such a young age.”

He was 24 then and ready to absorb every piece of knowledge he could get. Working the next 15 years under longtime coaches such as Roger Hansen, Mike Goff, Pedro Grifol and Andy Stankiewicz, Steinmann learned about catching, hitting, managing and molding young men.

He finished the 1998 season coaching at Class A Lancaster, then became a roving minor league catching instructor the next year. He coached at Class A Wisconsin in 2000 and 2001, then at high-A San Bernardino in 2002.

Steinmann got his first managing job in 2003 at rookie-level Peoria, where he produced winning records the next two seasons.

Managing Class A Wisconsin in 2005, his team won its division title and took a lead into the late innings of the deciding game of the championship series before losing to South Bend.

Well, it was a scoreless tie late in Game Five, but you get the idea.  Much more at the link.  Head over and read it all.

Brewers 7, Royals 5

Sunday’s game between the Royals and the Brewers involved a bunch of players involved in “The Trade”.

The Brewers won the game 7-5.


Sean Halton (’10): 1-for-1, BB
Wily Peralta (’09): 3.2IP, 5H, R, BB, K, WIN
Cody Scarpetta (’09): IP, 2H, R

Lorenzo Cain (’09): 1-for-3
Jeremy Jeffress (’10): IP, H, R, 2BB, K

Adam McCalvy’s game story:

Jeffress allowed one hit, two walks, two runs and threw two wild pitches in a trying third inning against his former franchise. He was Milwaukee’s first-round Draft pick in 2006.

“It’s just a game, man, you’ve got to go in and do your job on the field,” Jeffress said. “It was just one of those days I couldn’t find the strike zone a little bit.”

He took some good-natured ribbing from former teammates.

“Some of the guys over there were trying to say stuff a little bit, but it’s all love,” Jeffress said.

“It’s so good to see the guys and see everybody’s faces.”

The Brewers play the Giants this afternoon.

In other news, six players in the big league camp were optioned to the minor league camp after the game.

The Brewers moved six players off the big league camp roster, including one potential fifth starter candidate, in the first round of cuts on Sunday.

That fifth starter candidate is right-hander Amaury Rivas, who was optioned to Triple-A Nashville. He was one of the players mentioned as a potential fill-in for Zack Greinke, who will miss the start of the season with a cracked rib.

The Brewers also optioned pitchers Dan Merklinger and Cody Scarpetta to Double-A Huntsville and returned pitchers Robert Hinton and Roque Mercedes and catcher Anderson De La Rosa to Minor League camp.

The first Minor League full-squad workout was Sunday, but all six players were given until Tuesday to report.

The item on the roster moves is at the bottom of this Adam McCalvy notebook, which you should read in full as it touches on Takashi Saito, the starter in yesterday’s game. Saito is from Japan and has family members and friends unaccounted for after the earthquake and tsunami in his homeland.

Liddi has a couple of good days

Italian-born Alex Liddi launches another salami

Liddi hit a grand slam for the second straight day on Thursday, lifting the Mariners to a 10-5 win over the Angels.

On Wednesday he hit one in a 9-4 win over the Dodgers. He’s hitting .364 in eight at-bats with the two home runs and team-high eight runs batted in.
Thursday’s homer came with two outs in the fifth inning on a 2-1 pitch from Ryan Chaffee of the Angels.

“I heard the fans say, ‘Do it again,’ ” Liddi said. “But I was just trying to do something over second base to get some RBIs for the team. What happened (the home run), I wasn’t trying to do it.”

That he did, however, is sure to blow up his phone even more.

He said he got numerous calls, texts and Facebook messages from friends and family in Italy after his slam against the Dodgers. (He hit another home run against the Dodgers in a B game on Tuesday that doesn’t count in his stats, but means that the has unofficially homered in three straight games.)

Yeah. That’s a couple of good days.

Rockies 9, Brewers 8 (10)

The Brewers lost 9-8 in ten innings to the Rockies on Thursday.

Ex-Rattlers for the Brewers in that game:

Dan Merlinkger (’09): IP, 0H, 0R, 2BB, 0K
Cody Scarpetta (’09): IP, 2H, R, 0BB, K
Michael Fiers (’09): .2IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, K

Here is Adam McCalvy’s game writeup.

Milwaukee is playing the Athletics today at 2:05pm CST.  Yovani Gallardo is on the mound to start the game.  No word on any former Rattlers on the big league roster for today.  Check the Timber Rattlers twitter account later today.  Or, listen in on the Brewers free live webcast when the game starts.

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