08/01/12 12:13 AM ET
K-Rod realistic about struggles, status with Crew
By Adam McCalvy and Jeremy Warnemuende / MLB.com
Roenicke wants Hart to be his man at first base
MILWAUKEE -- Corey Hart's game-saving scoop in Monday's win over the Astros was only the latest example: For a right fielder, he is a really good first baseman.He's so good that manager Ron Roenicke would like Hart to retire his outfield glove and return to first base next season. "That's Doug's decision," Roenicke said, referring to general manager Doug Melvin. "I've told Doug, though, that [Hart's] a difference-maker at first base for me. "Some [of it is] because of the way he plays, and some just because, physically, he's huge. The other night, [Cody] Ransom throws that ball high, and when it left his hand, I thought, 'Oh, no.' And Corey, his reach is tremendous." Hart is the Brewers' first big first baseman since Richie Sexson. Lyle Overbay was generously listed as 6-foot-2, and Prince Fielder at 5-foot-11. Hart, like Sexson, is 6-foot-6. The Brewers drafted Hart as a first baseman but moved him to third and then the outfield, because Brad Nelson was supposed to be the first baseman of the future. "[Hart] says, 'Nothing's getting by me,'" Roenicke said. "When you have that attitude, he'll go down and block it or whatever it takes. He's been amazing. I just wanted [Melvin] to know that." Keeping Hart at first base would throw back into flux the future of Mat Gamel, who was Fielder's replacement before sustaining a season-ending knee injury in May. The Brewers would either have to trade Gamel or ask him, again, to change positions; he has already been a third baseman, a corner outfielder and a first baseman. With Hart at first, the Brewers could either keep Norichika Aoki in right field, or platoon Aoki and Carlos Gomez in center and seek a hitter during the offseason to play right. "Those [issues] still have to be talked about," Roenicke said. "If it works out better for us all around for [Hart] to go back to right field, then he goes back out. But I know what he's done at first base so far, and it's really impressive." Melvin declined to offer his opinion about the Brewers' plan for next season, saying that he is focused instead on winning the team's remaining games in 2012. Hart is signed with the Brewers through the end of next season, at a $10 million salary for 2013.
Quiet day for Brewers as Trade Deadline passes
MILWAUKEE -- Miller Park's war room was quiet as baseball's non-waiver Trade Deadline came and went on Tuesday afternoon, but that does not mean the Brewers have made their last trade of 2012."There wasn't anything there that was desirable for us," general manager Doug Melvin said. "I didn't have any phone calls at all with a general manager all day." Things might have been different had the bullpen not collapsed so thoroughly beginning last week in Philadelphia. Had free-agent-to-be Francisco Rodriguez converted both of his save opportunities in that series rather than blowing them, "He would be gone, no question," one front-office official said on Tuesday. Other relievers drew interest earlier in the month, Melvin said, but requests tailed off as the struggles mounted. But, as Melvin pointed out, trading season is not over yet. Teams can still swap players if they pass them through waivers first, and the Brewers have three pending free agents who could draw interest -- Rodriguez and starters Shaun Marcum and Randy Wolf, whose salaries could help them clear the waiver wire. Marcum would have to get healthy, and Rodriguez and Wolf would need some better results to entice buyers, who must acquire a player by Aug. 31 in order for him to be eligible for postseason play. Marcum looks like the Brewers' most attractive chip, assuming he can recover from the stiff elbow that has sidelined him since mid-June. Before that injury, Marcum had a 3.39 ERA in 13 starts and a .227 average against. Marcum is scheduled to throw another bullpen session on Wednesday, then a simulated game over the weekend in St. Louis before heading out for a rehab assignment. He is eligible to return from the 60-day disabled list on Aug. 14. Moving a starting pitcher or two before the end of the season would make sense for the Brewers, because they want a look at some of the young arms who will figure into the 2013 rotation.
Roenicke, Narron ejected in ninth inning on Tuesday
MILWAUKEE -- So much for enjoying a rare blowout win. Manager Ron Roenicke and bench coach Jerry Narron were ejected on Tuesday night with three outs to go in a 10-1 game.The trouble began when reliever Francisco Rodriguez, getting work in a rout because of his recent struggles, appeared to strike out Astros outfielder Justin Maxwell with a curveball. At least Maxwell believed he'd been struck out; he turned toward the dugout. But wait -- plate umpire Brian Knight's call was ball two. Narron voiced his displeasure from the bench and was ejected. Roenicke went toward home plate to hear Knight's explanation and was ejected, too. "He told me it was high," Roenicke said. "It wasn't even close to being high." Rodriguez did get a called strike three on the next pitch, a fastball that even he admitted might have been a bit low, and he went on to close the game with a 1-2-3 inning. Roenicke, whose only other ejection this season came on July 7 at Houston -- after Sam Holbrook tossed Zack Greinke for spiking the ball in frustration after a play at first base -- was uncharacteristically upset. "[Knight] says, 'You're yelling at me in a 10-1 ballgame?'" he said. "I said, 'I don't care what the score is. I've got a pitcher out there that's working as hard as he can. You blow a call and you throw my guy out?' "And he throws me out for that. That's a poor job by him."
Left fielder Ryan Braun returned to the lineup on Tuesday after missing Monday's game to receive treatment for multiple deep blisters on his left hand, a problem that has been dogging Braun for some time. Left-handed reliever Manny Parra said that the discomfort in his throwing shoulder is a familiar problem, caused by weakness in the joint, which leads to impingement and pain in his rotator cuff. He predicted he would only be sidelined a couple of days. "I've had it before, so we kind of know what we have to do to deal with it," Parra said.
The Brewers' favorite Trade Deadline deal didn't even involve them. It was the Cubs sending Ryan Dempster, who has long given the Brewers trouble, to the Rangers."That was a good move for us, not having to face him," Roenicke said.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. Jeremy Warnemuende is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.