Notes: No decision yet on closer
Left-hander Capuano finishes off dominant spring
PHOENIX -- Lanky right-hander Mike Adams still has time to prove that he can close games for the Brewers. According to the manager, he is not there yet."We're not set on a stopper," skipper Ned Yost said on Thursday after the Brewers wrapped up the Arizona portion of Spring Training with a ninth-inning win. Adams came to camp with the inside track to replace All-Star closer Dan Kolb, who was traded to the Braves in December. Adams has been scored upon only once in 10 spring outings -- a six-run outburst by the Rangers aided by some bad Brewers defense -- but Yost is not ready to say that Adams has won the job. "He has too many big-pitch innings, where he's not on the attack with his good stuff," Yost said. "He's trying to strike out too many hitters. You need a closer that's durable, and you can use him every day. You go out and have 20- or 25-pitch innings, you won't be able to be used every day." Adams was better on Thursday against the Angels. He entered the game with the bases loaded and the Brewers clinging to a 1-0 lead in the eighth inning, and he appeared to have Juan Rivera struck out on a 1-and-2 curve ball. But it was called a ball, and Rivera spanked the next pitch for a grounder that glanced off first baseman Jeff Cirillo's glove for a two-run single. Adams threw nine pitches in the eighth inning and 10 more in a 1-2-3 ninth. Catcher Chad Moeller then gave the Brewers a win with a one-out, three run homer in the bottom of the ninth. "He's still not on the attack," Yost said of Adams. "He was a little better today. ... Can you see what I mean? He's throwing ball one, ball two." That was not the case last year. According to a statistical analysis based on batters faced, walk-to-strikeout ratio and other variables, Adams ranked among the top-15 National League relievers in 2004, general manager Doug Melvin said. In 46 games last season, Adams went 2-3 with a 3.40 ERA. He pitched on back-to-back days three times, but he never threw more than eight pitches on the first day of those sequences. Adams was used for 33 pitches and 21 pitches in back-to-back games on Aug. 8 and 10, with an off day in between. "You want to keep your pitch count down, but I feel like I can bounce back and come back the next day," Adams said. "I did it last year. I've never had a problem going a few days in a row. You just have to be honest when you need a day off." If Adams falters, the closer's job could go to 27-year-old Derrick Turnbow, a hard-thrower who has pitched in a lot of ninth-inning situations in Spring Training. "Turnbow is the kind of arm who can do it," Melvin said. "We'll just wait and see who is going to step into that role. ... This is going to be a pitching staff that everyone has to be ready to pitch in any role." Strong finish: Left-hander Chris Capuano is in line for a promotion to the No. 3 starter's spot, behind Ben Sheets and Doug Davis, after breezing through the best Spring Training of any Brewers pitcher. On Thursday, he scattered five Angels hits in seven scoreless innings. He struck out six while not walking a batter. In 25 Cactus League innings, he surrendered just three runs. "You couldn't have a better spring," Yost said. Capuano is looking to stay healthy this season. Last year, he was limited to 17 starts by quadriceps, triceps and elbow injuries. He altered his training program, hoping to increase flexibility and avoid future setbacks. "I'm learning to stay a little more level," Capuano said. "I think, before, I tended to overtrain, did a little too much running or too much lifting -- that was counterproductive at times." Said Moeller: "If he stays healthy, he is going to be very good -- plain and simple." Health report: Recovering from a nasty case of strep throat, third baseman Russell Branyan was scratched from the starting lineup on Thursday. He played in a minor league game, where he tripled and homered in four at-bats.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.