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03/26/08 6:13 PM ET
Brewers roster appears to be set
Rivera to be backup catcher; Dillon likely to get last infield spot
By Adam McCalvy / MLB.com
TUCSON -- They weren't selling programs just yet, but when the Brewers chose their backup catcher on Wednesday, they appeared to have settled on the 25-man roster for Opening Day.
The Brewers have until Sunday to make it official, and injuries can always change things, but it appears the roster will look like this when the Brewers face the Cubs at Wrigley Field on Monday:
Dave Bush, Eric Gagne, Guillermo Mota, Seth McClung, Manny Parra, David Riske, Ben Sheets, Brian Shouse, Jeff Suppan, Salomon Torres, Derrick Turnbow and Carlos Villanueva.
Jason Kendall and Mike Rivera.
Craig Counsell, Joe Dillon, Prince Fielder, Bill Hall, J.J. Hardy and Rickie Weeks.
Ryan Braun, Gabe Gross, Tony Gwynn Jr., Corey Hart and Gabe Kapler.
Chris Capuano, Randy Choate and Yovani Gallardo.
Mike Cameron (25 games).
Assistant general manager Gord Ash said the Brewers must submit a roster to Major League Baseball by Sunday afternoon.
"You never totally seal the top on the decision making," manager Ned Yost said. "Who knows when somebody can pop up [on the trade market] that you think can make your team better and you can make a deal. So you hold out making your final decisions as long as you can."
The final call was Rivera, who won the backup catcher job by virtue of Eric Munson being outrighted to Triple-A Nashville on Wednesday morning. The Brewers have yet to formally make a move to clarify the final infield spot, though Yost strongly indicated earlier this week that Dillon would get the nod over non-roster invitee Abraham Nunez.
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Yost could not have predicted injuries to Capuano or Gallardo, but he said his pre-camp predictions for the most part played out as expected. His biggest surprise was Parra, who on Tuesday was named the No. 5 starter despite two recent rocky outings.
"Parra wasn't on the team -- he wasn't on my list in the beginning of Spring Training," Yost said. "I just thought that Manny could benefit from going back to Triple-A. He had a great spring and pitched his way on the team."
Yost also called Cameron a "huge" surprise, which in and of itself was a bit surprising since Cameron is a 13-year Major League veteran. Yost was impressed enough that he plans to use Cameron as the team's No. 2 hitter when he returns from a suspension in late April.
Braun's seamless adaptation to left field also qualified as a spring surprise, the manager said. So did non-roster pitcher Chris Narveson, a left-hander who will provide insurance at Triple-A, and Minor League shortstop Alcides Escobar, who has filled in lately for an ill Hardy.
"I knew he was that good, but I didn't know he was this close to being a big league player," Yost said of Escobar.
Escobar will either begin the year at Nashville or at Double-A Huntsville.