09/01/10 12:18 AM ET
Cain has stiff neck from highlight catch
By Adam McCalvy / MLB.com
Brewers call up three in first wave
CINCINNATI -- The Brewers promoted only three players for the first day of expanded rosters -- pitchers Jeremy Jeffress and Carlos Villanueva and third baseman Mat Gamel -- but they could have more September callups after Triple-A Nashville finishes its season next week."I don't want to bring anybody up just to sit on the bench," general manager Doug Melvin said. Jeffress is a top prospect who will get a taste of the Major Leagues, but Villanueva, who spent all of 2008 and 2009 with the Brewers, will probably fall into regular duty. He has a 3.77 ERA in 11 games since being demoted to Nashville on July 28. Jeffress, the former first-round Draft pick who started the year on a 100-game drug suspension and is on the 40-man roster, was converted to relief by the Brewers after he returned in an effort to keep him more engaged on a daily basis. Jeffress' raw ability is not questioned; his fastball can touch 100 mph. The 22-year-old -- he will be 23 on Sept. 21 -- pitched most recently for Double-A Huntsville and posted a 1.26 ERA in 11 appearances. He struck out 15 versus two walks in 14 1/3 innings. Gamel is one of only two healthy position players on the 40-man roster that wasn't in the Majors until his callup (the other is shortstop Luis Cruz). Gamel went 0-for-4 on Monday with four strikeouts but is hitting .309 this season with 13 home runs and 67 RBIs. He would have probably made the Brewers' Opening Day roster if not for a shoulder/upper back injury. Cruz could be a candidate for a callup after Nashville plays its season finale on Monday. Other pitchers already on the 40-man roster who could garner consideration include Josh Butler, Amaury Rivas, Mark Rogers and Cody Scarpetta. Left-hander Doug Davis, who has been on the disabled list since mid-July with elbow tendinitis, is also trying to return before the end of the season.
Melvin lobbies for callup rules changes
CINCINNATI -- One of these days, Doug Melvin figures, Major League Baseball will get around to changing the rules for September callups. In the meantime, the Brewers' general manager will continue making the case that the current policy creates imbalances that could impact the pennant races."I may be dead and gone by the time it happens, but I think we're going to get that fixed," Melvin said. Here's his issue: On Sept. 1, the 25-man roster constraint that has existed for the first five months of the season is thrown out, and teams can promote anybody on the 40-man roster to the Major Leagues. It means that teams enter games with unbalanced rosters. The Brewers for example, are expected to promote only three players on Wednesday, partly because they don't want to clog the bench with players who won't see any action, and partly because they do not want to raid Triple-A Nashville when that team still has a week to play. The Reds, meanwhile, may decide to bring up six players because winning the National League Central is much more of a priority than keeping Triple-A Louisville's roster intact. Is that fair to the Cardinals, who are trying to catch the Reds in the NL Central? Likewise, when the Brewers travel to Philadelphia this weekend, is it fair to the Braves if the Brewers are out-numbered by the Phillies? "If you get into an extra-inning game, that can make a huge difference," Melvin said. In an MLB.com story on the topic last year, Melvin called the policy "ludicrous." "You play 80 percent of your season with even rosters," Melvin said then, "and then all of a sudden, you throw that out. It's like playing three-on-six in basketball or 11-on-18 in football. I don't know of any sport in the world that does it like ours, with this kind of imbalance of rosters. I'd like to find out if there's any other sport that does that at the most important time of the year." Brewers manager Ken Macha said Major League Baseball could find the solution in Japan, where teams submit a 30-man roster before every game. In that scenario, teams could make their eight or 10 or 12 callups, but would have to choose on a daily basis which players to make eligible for the game. "I think 30 is the right number," Melvin said. Phillies GM Ruben Amaro is among those content with the current policy. "It is a level playing field in the sense that everybody can bring their players up," Phillies GM Ruben Amaro said. "They can bring up as many players as they want. It's a choice that every organization makes. We all play under the same rules. If it was different for one team than the other, then it would be different. But I think, as it stands, everybody is on the same playing field." A change to the September callups policy would have to be negotiated with the Players Association. Melvin used to raise the issue at the General Managers Meetings but met resistance, especially from the large-market clubs. "I stopped bringing it up. It's sort of a laughing joke when I bring it up," Melvin said. "But there's a lot more of them for [changes] now."
The Brewers will begin selling tickets Wednesday morning for "Brewers On Deck," their annual offseason fanfest scheduled for Sunday, Jan. 30. Adult tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door, and tickets for children ages 14 and under are $9 in advance and $15 at the door. Fans who purchase tickets by Oct. 3 will receive a voucher for a free terrace box or terrace reserved seat for select games next April. See Brewers.com/ondeck for information or to purchase tickets.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.