MILWAUKEE -- Larry Schaefer sat in the Brewers' media room with general manager Doug Melvin at his side, and the Fond du Lac, Wis., resident inked his one-day Major League contract.
Schaefer has been a Brewers season ticket holder since 2001 and was the winner of the Brewers "Welcome to the Big Leagues" contest. Schaefer's prize included the one-day MLB minimum salary of $2,274, a personalized Brewers uniform which he sported at the press conference and the opportunity to throw out the first pitch at Monday's game.
"I guess with the Florida Marlins signing 80-year-old Jack McKeon to manager today, there's nothing wrong with signing someone who was born in 1945," Melvin joked.
Schaefer served as president of Fond du Lac Baseball Inc. for 20 years and also managed in the Rock River League. He inked his one-day deal while recalling some of his favorite Brewers memories and spoke of his 95-year-old mother who was unable to attend, but who watches every Brewers game.
Schaefer said he doesn't root for individual players but said Prince Fielder's first career home run is one of his favorite moments. Monday afternoon's celebration of his contract, the tour of Miller Park and throwing out the first pitch ranked up near the top, too, he said.
"I didn't really realize what was happening at first," Schaefer said. "I thought, 'Hey, that's great,' but then it developed to something bigger and just having a Brewer uniform is great."
When asked what's going to go through his mind when he throws out the first pitch, Schaefer joked once again.
"Painful," he said. "It's going over the catcher's head. It might be only five feet from home plate, but it's going over his head."
Marcum throws, plans to start Wednesday
MILWAUKEE -- Shaun Marcum wants to pitch, and there were very encouraging signs for the Brewers right-hander Monday that he will get to pitch as scheduled on Wednesday against the Rays.Marcum exited his last start in Boston after one long inning with a strained left hip flexor. Brewers head physician William Raasch reviewed images from an MRI scan of Marcum's hip, confirmed there were no worrisome tears and encouraged Marcum to test the joint by throwing on Monday afternoon. So Marcum played catch in the outfield under the watch of pitching coach Rick Kranitz, then threw his usual between-starts bullpen session of about 25 pitches. "I think everybody here knows I want to pitch," Marcum said. "They didn't trade for me to sit in here and watch baseball games. They traded for me to go out and pitch, so that's what I'm going to try to do. I'm going to go out and try to give these guys a chance to win and compete and pitch, and whatever happens, happens."
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Kranitz said he was very encouraged by what he called a "great" bullpen, and the Brewers' media relations department listed Marcum as the probable starter for Wednesday's series finale.But manager Ron Roenicke was promising a cautious approach as Marcum played catch in the outfield on Monday. He won't risk trouble in July, August and September for one start in June. If Marcum cannot pitch, then right-hander Marco Estrada would start against the Rays. "Medically, everything looks good, so from the doctor's end, he's good to go," Roenicke said. "It's just how much pain he has there, and if there is pain, we're not going to start him." His abbreviated start against the Red Sox aside, Marcum has been simply sensational in his first season with the Brewers. He is 7-2 with a 2.85 ERA, and has turned in a quality start -- an outing of at least six innings with three or fewer earned runs -- in 10 of 15 outings. Marcum planned to play catch again Tuesday before making a final determination about Wednesday. There was less encouraging news Monday about another offseason pitching pickup. Reliever Takashi Saito was still experiencing discomfort in his strained left oblique, so he underwent another MRI scan of the area. The club was still waiting for results when Roenicke briefed reporters. "It's nothing big, but we just want to make sure that there's nothing else going on," Roenicke said. "He still feels a little tightness."
Roenicke gives Betancourt vote of confidence
MILWAUKEE -- The questions surrounding shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt's struggles at the plate continue to mount, and on Monday manager Ron Roenicke responded with a question of his own.
"Who would you replace him with?" Roenicke said.
Milwaukee's other options at shortstop are 40-year-old Craig Counsell and infielder Josh Wilson, whose lifetime batting average is .228 with nine home runs.Entering Monday's game, Betancourt's average had dipped to .224 after going 5-for-25 during the seven-game road trip. A year after Betancourt hit a career-high 16 home runs with the Royals, he's gone deep just three times so far this season and his slugging percentage sits at .325.
"Every single team has some deficiencies -- every team does and nobody's going to be able to fill all those spots, and you try and do the best you can," Roenicke said. "But you have to also look at what history shows you and the past couple years with Josh Wilson, with Counsell, where have they been and what have they done?"
Roenicke said Betancourt's history, especially last season with the Royals, is something the manager keeps pointing to when watching him at the plate.
"I know you get frustrated with Yuni, but I've seen Yuni really good and I've seen him good for a long time, and it means something," he said.
Roenicke has answered similar questions during the past couple of weeks. As third baseman Casey McGehee came out of his batting slump during the road trip and now looks to extend his seven-game hit streak, Roenicke said he gives Betancourt the same vote of confidence.
"I look at what Yuni has done, and Yuni has the possibility of still being very good," Roenicke said. "If you can tell me other guys that have those possibilities, then it makes it a viable option to put in there."
Brewers agree with seven Draft picks
MILWAUKEE -- Seven more of the Brewers' selections from last month's First-Year Player Draft, plus two undrafted players, have agreed to terms, a list led by sixth-round pick Daniel Keller. The right-hander from Newberry High School in Calabasas, Calif., was assigned to the rookie-level Arizona Brewers.Four others signed and were assigned to Arizona: Shortstop Renaldo Jenkins (19th round), left-hander Elliot Glynn (39th round), catcher Jimmie Pharr (undrafted) and left-hander Conner Whalen (undrafted). Four players signed and were assigned to the club's advanced rookie affiliate in Helena, Mont.: Right-hander Brandon Williamson (20th round), first baseman Michael Nemeth (21st round), catcher Parker Berberet (25th round) and catcher Douglas Elliot (35th round).
Left-hander Daniel Herrera, designated for assignment over the weekend, was optioned to Triple-A Nashville on Monday.
Eighty-year-old Marlins interim manager Jack McKeon has four years on Brewers broadcaster Bob Uecker, 76. He was already managing his second season in the Pioneer League, leading a Missoula team that included Jim Kaat, when Uecker made his professional debut with Boise in 1956. "That's amazing," Uecker said. "I remember him. He was one of the few managers from another team that I really liked."
The Brewers graduated a player from their Dominican facility Monday when outfielder Ruben Ozuna was transferred to rookie-level Arizona. The baby Brewers begin their season on Tuesday.
Rookie-level Helena opened its season on Monday with former first-round Draft pick Eric Arnett on the mound. Arnett has struggled as a pro and is coming off a shoulder injury.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. Audrey Snyder is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.