03/16/12 5:04 PM ET
Kintzler still looking for answers on elbow
By Adam McCalvy / MLB.com
Marcum progressing; start of season up in air
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Shaun Marcum came out of Thursday's 35-pitch bullpen session "feeling good," but manager Ron Roenicke conceded there's a chance the right-hander will miss his first turn through the Brewers' rotation.Marcum has been treated for shoulder stiffness this spring and has yet to pitch in the Cactus League. He is expected to throw live batting practice to hitters on Sunday, Roenicke said, before coaches determine when to slot Marcum into a game. The Brewers still won't rule out Marcum for the Opening Day roster, though Roenicke said there was a chance that another righty, Marco Estrada, will have to make Marcum's first start.
"If Marcum stays on schedule, his pitch count would not be up there that high," Roenicke said. "Again, he can pitch that way, and he can give us whatever it's going to be -- five, six innings. We'll have to look at what we think is more important. We certainly don't want to push him to make that first start."Estrada started a split-squad game in Tucson against the Mariners on Friday. The decision on Marcum will come down to his health and how he commands the ball in his Cactus League outings. "I want him confident going into the season," Roenicke said.
Cubs claim De La Cruz, clearing spot in 'pen
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The race for openings in the Brewers' bullpen lost a competitor Friday, when the Cubs claimed right-hander Frankie De La Cruz off waivers, clearing a spot on Milwaukee's previously full 40-man roster.The Brewers had determined De La Cruz, who has no Minor League options, was no longer a bullpen candidate. They hoped he would clear waivers and accept a starting assignment at Triple-A Nashville. "He was a guy that we liked for depth, and we wish we could have had him staying," Brewers general manager Doug Melvin said. "But in this situation, with a player who is a little bit older, I'm glad he can stay in the big leagues with somebody." De La Cruz was 7-6 with a 3.88 ERA last season at Triple-A Nashville, mostly as a starter, before a promotion to Milwaukee. He posted a 2.77 ERA in 11 big league relief appearances. This spring was not as smooth. De La Cruz faced 21 batters in three Cactus League outings, allowed hits to seven of them, walked three and hit two with pitches. He also threw two wild pitches and surrendered seven earned runs in 3 1/3 innings for an 18.90 ERA. The Brewers now have 39 players on the 40-man roster, giving Melvin some flexibility to make a move or to add a non-roster invitee to the Opening Day mix. In the latter group is veteran Cesar Izturis, who reported to camp a strong favorite for a spot on the bench because of his experience at shortstop. But Izturis has not been impressive defensively in Spring Training, and ESPN.com reported Friday that Melvin was eyeing other middle infield options. "A lot of teams are probably looking for that," Melvin said. With De La Cruz out, candidates for two open spots in the Brewers' bullpen include left-handers Zach Braddock and Manny Parra and right-handers Tim Dillard, Mike Fiers and Mike McClendon. Brandon Kintzler could join the mix if he can move past an elbow issue.
Outfielder Norichika Aoki said he's not worried about his Cactus League batting average, which stood at .167 (5-for-30) entering Friday's start against the Royals."On one hand, I would like to be able to show the manager and the coaches what I can do," Aoki said. "On the other hand, I understand this is Spring Training. What's important is starting from Opening Day. ... I usually don't put up the numbers in Spring Training." Brewers officials will meet Sunday morning to begin serious discussions about the Opening Day roster. Most of the team is set, though there are two openings in the bullpen and at least two on the bench.
Outfielder Carlos Gomez was scratched from Friday's game against the Royals. A Brewers spokesperson cited a stomach bug.