Mailbag: Speed secret to success?
Beat reporter Adam McCalvy answers Brewers fans' questions
It just dawned on me, but with Ryan Braun, Corey Hart and Mike Cameron/Tony Gwynn Jr. manning the outfield for the foreseeable future, the Brewers have really never -- at least in my lifetime -- had this kind of raw speed flying around. What kind of measurable impact can this have on the team ERA, provided everyone can catch what they run down?
-- Mike B., Milwaukee
-- Quinn L., West Bend, Wis. If he shows up and calls games, Kendall could still help this team win. I have talked to a lot of players, writers and club officials around the Cactus League about Kendall, and I have yet to find anybody who says he is a negative or that he can't play any more. The Brewers are not looking for Joe Mauer back there; they are looking for someone to squeeze the most out of the talent on the pitching staff. As for staging an open competition, what would you base that on? Spring Training statistics? Kendall has by far the longest track record of the catchers in camp, and Yost sees him as by far the best starting option this season.
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Will the Brewers do anything to please Prince Fielder so that he may renew his contract at the end of his present one?
-- Mitchell M., Eau Claire, Wis.
-- Glenn S., Brookfield, Wis. I would guess that whomever wins the backup catcher job will be the primary backup at first base. Eric Munson, Mike Rivera and Vinny Rottino all have experience at first and have played or will play there this spring. Yost said last week that it wouldn't bother him to have his only backup catcher in the starting lineup at first because he could always shuffle things should Kendall get hurt in a game. A check of Counsell's stats shows he has appeared at first base four times. Joe Dillon is also still vying for a roster spot and has experience at first. I know it's a year away, but in 2009, I envision Hart moving to center field to make room for Matt LaPorta (if he succeeds this season) in right. I see the Brewers trading Hall and moving J.J. Hardy to third base to clear shortstop for Alcides Escobar. What do you think?
-- Andrew S., North Freedom, Wis. Possible, but it's way too early to predict that stuff. Let's see Escobar play in some more Spring Training games before we start talking about moving Hardy around. The LaPorta idea is interesting. Scouts rave about the strides Hart has made defensively, and he sure has the speed to play center field. But again, let's give LaPorta an opportunity to play a full Minor League season before we start talking about bringing him up to the big leagues. Why is Ryan Braun getting hit so often this Spring Training. Are pitchers taking offense to his swagger and confidence?
-- Jim L., Milwaukee I think they're probably just pitching him inside. The Brewers are playing the Rangers, Royals and A's, and I cannot imagine why those teams would have a problem with Braun's swagger. What time will the "Brewers on Deck" be happening before the March 29 game?
-- Brandon G., Franklin, Wis. The full details are available within this news release. I will be back on Tuesday after my mid-spring break. Keep the questions coming.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.