MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers packed their bags Sunday for a trip back in time.Monday marks the start of a seven-game trip to Chicago's Wrigley Field and Boston's Fenway Park, the two oldest cathedrals in baseball. Wrigley Field opened in 1914 as the home of the Federal League's Chicago Whales, two years after the Red Sox moved into Fenway Park. The next-oldest ballpark is Dodger Stadium, opened in 1962. "The tradition is great," said Mark Kotsay, who played for the Red Sox in 2008 and '09 and has made a slew of trips to Wrigley Field during parts of nine seasons with National League teams and two more years with the cross-town White Sox. "It's fun to be a part of it, to go in there and smell the old stadiums." It's a trade-off, because Wrigley Field and Fenway Park lack many of the amenities players have grown used to since the wave of ballpark construction in Major League Baseball. The entire visiting clubhouse at Wrigley Field is roughly the size of the players' dining room at Miller Park. "I love playing the game there, seeing the old structures, that's pretty cool. But pregame, I'm not going to lie, I hate it," second baseman Rickie Weeks said. "It's hard to get into your routine the way you do other places. It's our job to get ready for a baseball game, and it's hard to do that." Kotsay will take the trade-offs. "I would assume some guys don't like it, but you have to realize that you're still in the big leagues, and you still get to perform on a Major League field wearing a Major League uniform," he said.
Saito scratched from rehab with tight shoulder
MILWAUKEE -- For the second time this season, Brewers reliever Takashi Saito went out to rehab an injury and returned with a different injury.This time it's a tight right shoulder that sidelined Saito, who was supposed to pitch an inning for Class A Wisconsin on Sunday. He was scratched just before the Timber Rattlers' game and drove home to Miller Park to be examined by head team physician William Raasch. Saito will be examined again on Monday, and barring any red flags he'll be sent to pitch Tuesday for Triple-A Nashville. The Brewers are trying to get him back for the start of their next homestand. "He felt a little tightness in his shoulder, and he didn't want to go out there and throw and take a chance on it becoming something worse," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "They've taken a look at it, and right now they're just calling it shoulder tightness." It was an unfortunately familiar feeling for the 41-year-old Saito. In late April, he had just reported to Nashville to rehab a hamstring strain when he strained his left oblique, an injury that still has him on the 15-day disabled list. Last year, Saito missed the Atlanta Braves' National League Division Series against the eventual World Series champion Giants because of a sore right shoulder. It has been a costly injury for the Brewers, who were counting on Saito to be closer John Axford's primary setup man, and for Saito himself. His one-year contract guaranteed $1.75 million and included $1.5 million in incentives -- $50,000 each for 15, 20, 25 and 30 appearances; $100,000 each for 35, 40 and 50 appearances; $150,000 for 50 and 55 appearances; and $200,000 for 60 appearances; plus $100,000 each for 30, 60, 90, 120 and 150 days on the active roster. He's made two appearances so far and was placed on the DL April 11, 10 days after Opening Day.
Brewers considering a promotion for Gamel
MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers are mulling a midweek promotion for Triple-A first baseman Mat Gamel, whose bat could prove helpful in a weekend Interleague series against the Red Sox at Fenway Park.Manager Ron Roenicke would like to give first baseman Prince Fielder, left fielder Ryan Braun and perhaps second baseman Rickie Weeks a day off in the field during the three-game set, and Gamel or Mark Kotsay could spell Fielder at first base on a day he's the designated hitter. "We talked about it a week ago, and we talked about it about 10 minutes ago," Roenicke told reporters Sunday morning. "So, yes, we've talked about it. [Gamel's] playing really well at first base, defensively. And offensively, he's done a nice job. He's been a little inconsistent, but he can swing. You guys have seen him." Gamel, who moved from third base to first this spring to give the Brewers coverage in the event Fielder departs next winter via free agency, was hitting .303 with 11 home runs and 39 RBIs through Nashville's loss at Albuquerque on Saturday night, when he homered for the second straight game. The 25-year-old has already played 75 games for the Brewers, but has only started 25 of them, and has never been given an extended opportunity to start in the big leagues. He's a .241 hitter with five home runs and 21 RBIs in 145 Major League at-bats. The Brewers would face an interesting call in freeing a 25-man roster spot for Gamel. With reliever Takashi Saito nearing a return from the 15-day disabled list, perhaps for the homestand that follows the Boston series, the Brewers could choose to play one reliever short against the Red Sox, then swap Gamel for Saito. Relievers Marco Estrada and Tim Dillard both have a Minor League option remaining.
McGehee appears close to ending slump
MILWAUKEE -- The box scores do not necessarily reflect it, but third baseman Casey McGehee entered Sunday's series finale against St. Louis showing some signs of shaking his slump.McGehee snapped an 0-for-27 slide with a single on Wednesday, and added singles against the Cardinals on Friday and Saturday. Those hits gave him three singles in his last 39 at-bats (.077), but it was the loud outs in the first two games against St. Louis that gave manager Ron Roencike some hope, including a line drive to the right-field wall on Saturday night that was snagged by Jon Jay with an outstanding, diving catch. Roenicke had originally planned to drop McGehee to the six-hole and let Corey Hart hit fifth for a series or two. But McGehee's improved at-bats scuttled that plan, and McGehee has remained in his usual spot except for one game. "If he's swinging better, I like him fifth," Roenicke said. "He's shown that when he swings well, that's a really nice spot for him in the lineup. ... His swings are a lot better. The balls that he's hitting are a lot sharper." McGehee is a key piece of the Brewers' offense because he bats behind Ryan Braun and cleanup man Prince Fielder. McGehee led the Brewers last season with 104 RBIs.