Notes: Capellan's agent wants trade
Righty not happy with demotion to Triple-A Nashville
MILWAUKEE -- The agent for relief pitcher Jose Capellan contacted the Brewers Sunday and requested a trade after the right-hander was the final pitcher cut from the Opening Day roster.
Capellan went 4-2 with a 4.40 ERA for the Brewers last season in 61 relief appearances, second on the team to Derrick Turnbow's 64, but the Brewers elected to keep right-hander Greg Aquino on the roster over Capellan and Chris Spurling. Aquino was 2-0 with a 4.47 ERA in 42 games with Arizona last season, and was traded in November to Milwaukee.
"I have a lot of respect for [Brewers general manager] Doug Melvin, but I made it clear that I think it's time for the Brewers to relinquish control of Capellan," said Bill Rego, Capellan's Florida-based agent. "I sense he was open to the idea after we talked.
"It is my opinion that you have to look at what a player did to contribute to an organization in the previous year," Rego said. "You look at 60-plus appearances, 16 holds. He was a workhorse for the Brewers."
Capellan was asked to report by Wednesday to Nashville, which opens its season at home. Rego would not say whether the player planned to report, and was asked what would happen if the team could not arrange a trade.
"I guess we will have to answer that question when the time comes," Rego said.
Capellan was upset when given the news Sunday that he was not on the team. He left Miller Park, skipping a scheduled autograph session and the team's final spring workout. The 26-year-old even told some teammates he might retire.
"That was said in the heat of battle," Rego said. "Jose has a lot of years left in baseball. He of course was disappointed."
In 11 Spring Training games, Capellan had a 5.06 ERA. Aquino had a 4.50 ERA in 12 games, and according to Melvin and Brewers manager Ned Yost, outperformed both Capellan and Spurling.
"And it's not just Spring Training," Melvin said, pointing to Capellan's 8.00 ERA last September.
"I talked to the agent, and I told him I'm not going to give Jose Capellan away," Melvin said. "I understand he's not happy here, but he's got to go play. We didn't have Francisco Cordero [at the beginning of] last year. We didn't have Elmer Dessens last year. We didn't have Carlos Villanueva last year at this time. We're just deeper and better. There's no doubt that Capellan can be in the big leagues. He's the 13th man on a 12-man staff right now."
Melvin said the Brewers are still mulling Capellan's role should he report to Nashville. Dennis Sarfate is expected to get most of the opportunities to close games, and Melvin said Capellan could see action in multiple-inning stints, and may even start games.
"He needs to get some innings," Melvin said.
Tough road: As pointed out by ESPN.com's Buster Olney, the Brewers play only 12 of their 26 games in April at home. Thirteen of those 26 games are against teams that finished 2006 with a winning record.
Of the 16 National League teams, only Houston (11) plays fewer home games in April. Only Colorado, Pittsburgh and San Francisco (24 apiece) play more games against winning clubs.
Is it important to get off to a quick start?
"It's important," Yost said. "It's not do or die. We're not going to get struck by lightning. I've seen a lot of good teams get better as the year goes on. That's what you're trying to do."
Added Melvin: "We just have to play good baseball. If you play good baseball day in and day out, you'll win games."
Pomp and circumstance: The red, white and blue bunting made its annual appearance at Monday's season opener, an unofficial vacation day around Milwaukee since the Brewers arrived in 1970.
For the third straight year, Joseph Attanasio, the father of Brewers principal owner Mark Attanasio, sang the national anthem. Seventy-five randomly selected season-ticket holders paraded out a giant American flag, and James Kimble and his grandson, 11-year-old Blake Kimble-Jones, threw ceremonial first pitches. The Kimbles were selected to represent the strong intergenerational appeal of baseball and the Brewers' support for the Milwaukee-area Boys and Girls Club.
"The atmosphere is different," said Brewers starter Ben Sheets, who made his fifth Opening Day appearance in the past six years. "You have the ceremonies before and after. But for the most part, when you get out there on the mound everything is the same."
Is it fun?
"It's always fun," Sheets said. "When you go out there, it had better be fun."
Last call: Club officials estimated that 19,500 fans attended Sunday's "Brewers On Deck" event. Last year, 15,000 fans attended. ... Shortstop J.J. Hardy had a good laugh when he received a package from a public relations firm representing the pain-killer Aleve. Hardy was quoted near the end of Spring Training that he takes the drug every day to relieve tightness in his surgically-repaired ankle. "What's next?" Hardy said with a smile. "What else do I need that we can do a story about?" ... Two Brewers enjoyed their first big league Opening Day on Monday: Villanueva and outfielder Tony Gwynn, Jr. ... The Brewers have opened two consecutive seasons at home for the first time since 1994-95.
On deck: Chris Capuano, a 2006 All-Star, will get the ball Tuesday against Randy Wolf and the Dodgers in a battle of left-handers. Game time is 7:05 p.m. CT.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.