Notes: Weeks to head to Minors
Second baseman to work on swing as part of roster shuffling
MILWAUKEE -- When the Brewers return to action Wednesday following their longest home game of the season, second baseman Rickie Weeks will be headed to the Minor Leagues to work on his swing. And that's not the only roster move in store.The Brewers late Tuesday announced they had purchased the contract of veteran utility man Joe Dillon from Triple-A Nashville, and he was expected to take the spot vacated by Weeks. In a separate move to be announced Wednesday morning, the Brewers were planning to place reliever Scott Linebrink on the bereavement list and to recall Elmer Dessens to take his spot in a bullpen worn out by a 13-inning win on Tuesday. Dillon turns 32 on Thursday and has played 27 games in the Major Leagues, all with Florida in 2005. He went 0-for-3 on Tuesday night for Triple-A Nashville but is batting .320 this season with 20 home runs and 73 RBIs. "He has good at-bats every time, he can drive runs in, he's got some pop," Sounds manager Frank Kremblas told the Nashville Tennessean, where Dillon's promotion was originally reported. "He can pinch-hit, maybe, spell Prince [Fielder] some at first base. I think he balances out the outfield a bit, too; you can throw him out there if a left-hander starts. He can also play some second base, some third base." Dessens has been on Milwaukee's disabled list since May 19 with a strained right shoulder. He is 1-1 with a 6.60 ERA in 12 relief outings for the Brewers and will replace Linebrink, who is spending time with his wife and newborn daughter at their Texas home. Weeks, 25, has been nursing a sore wrist this season and needs to get his swing back. He went 2-for-20 on the just-completed road trip to Cincinnati and St. Louis, dropping his batting average to .212.
Brewers manager Ned Yost said on July 17 that he would distribute more starts at second base to Tony Graffanino and Craig Counsell, two veteran utility men. The team considered moving Weeks to Nashville at the time, but opted against it because he could serve as a pinch-runner or defensive sub.Graffanino started at second base on Tuesday against the Mets. Weeks appeared as a pinch-hitter in the 12th inning and executed a sacrifice bunt. New addition: Linebrink traveled home to a suburb of Austin, Texas, on Sunday and his pregnant wife was induced on Monday's off-day, according to Yost. But Kelly Linebrink did not deliver until Tuesday, when doctors performed a Cesarean section. The couple welcomed their first child, a daughter named Ellie Jane. "It was a rough time for them," said Yost, who talked briefly with Scott Linebrink on Tuesday. The Brewers inquired with MLB senior vice president of baseball operations Joe Garagiola, Jr. whether the complications of Kelly Linebrink's birth qualified Scott Linebrink for the bereavement list. That list is usually reserved for family emergencies or deaths. Melvin had said earlier Tuesday that he did not expect that request to be granted. Yost said he expected Linebrink to return on Friday. Brewers relievers have struggled this month and entered play Tuesday with a 2-7 record, a 6.02 ERA and a .266 opponents' average in 18 games since All-Star week. Before the break, they were 13-12 with a 3.50 ERA and a .233 opponents' average. "I don't worry too much about him being here," Yost said of Linebrink. "We'll find ways to get around it. ... His teammates will find ways to cover him." Linebrink wore uniform No. 40 for his first two Brewers appearances, but on Tuesday, he was listed as No. 71. Linebrink made the change to honor Padres bullpen catcher Mark Merila, who is battling a brain tumor.
No deal: The Brewers came close to acquiring Eric Gagne before Tuesday's non-waiver trade deadline, but instead stood pat. That was just fine, Yost said."The tendency in the locker room, especially at this time, is to start screaming for help," Yost said. "But in reality, we need to look at each other and realize this is a team that needs to get it done. We've got the talent here to do it, and we need to do it ourselves." Does he believe the Brewers' bullpen is tired? "They've been used a lot, they really have," Yost said. "But we don't sit here and make excuses for why we don't perform. There are other teams that are tired, too. It gets a little edgy when people say, 'Are they tired or worn out?' because it makes you look like you're making an excuse for not performing. "So the stock answer is, 'No.' But they've been used a lot." Night on the town: Baseball fans might have been a bit confused to see Melvin and Cubs GM Jim Hendry out for dinner and drinks on Thursday night in St. Louis. The Cubs had just finished a series at Busch Stadium, and the Brewers began play there on Friday.
"We both agreed that Walt Jocketty has been in this thing enough," Melvin said, referring to his good friend and the St. Louis Cardinals' general manager. "It would be nice if the Brewers and the Cubs got in as the division winner and the Wild Card. Jim and I had a drink to that."Hot start: Matt LaPorta, the Brewers' first pick in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft, hit a home run on his first professional swing Monday night in the rookie Pioneer League. LaPorta, who had been rehabbing a right quadriceps strain since signing with the Brewers on June 25, served as the designated hitter for the Helena Brewers in the rookie Pioneer League. "As soon as he is able to play the field he will move to [Class A] West Virginia," Brewers assistant general manager Gord Ash said. "When that will be, I can't say. Hopefully, within a week to 10 days." The West Virginia schedule runs through Sept. 3, but the team has already qualified for the postseason. The Brewers are also exploring whether they could send LaPorta, 22, to the Arizona Fall League to get more at-bats. Flashback: The Brewers unveiled plans for a celebration honoring the 25th anniversary of the 1982 World Series team scheduled for Aug. 14, and are offering local fans discounted tickets to the game. Wisconsin residents can get terrace reserved tickets for $8 -- the cost of a ticket in 1982, according to the team. That's a $10 savings from current prices. For more information visit this site. The team also released a list of 28 players expected to take part in the on-field ceremony prior to the game against the Cardinals, who won the '82 Series over the Brewers in seven games. The list includes all four Hall of Famers from that team: Rollie Fingers, Paul Molitor, Don Sutton and Robin Yount. Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig, the former Brewers owner, and the widows of former manager Harvey Kuenn and general manager Harry Dalton are also expected to participate. The full list of participants is in the team's official news release. The day before the ceremony at Miller Park, members of the 1982 Brewers will play in a golf tournament at North Shore Country Club in Mequon, Wis. Foursomes are still available, and for more information contact Patty Harsch at (414) 902-4585 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On deck: Dave Bush is scheduled to start for the Brewers in Game 2 of a three-game series against the Mets on Wednesday night at 7:05 p.m. CT. Lefty Oliver Perez is the starter for New York.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.