03/03/2013 8:48 PM ET
Escobar's spring debut cut short by hand issue
By Adam McCalvy / MLB.com
MESA, Ariz. -- After four years away, it was not Kelvim Escobar's long-troublesome right shoulder that gave him trouble. This time it was his something else.
Escobar trotted onto the field at HoHoKam Stadium at 3:01 p.m. MT for his first Spring Training appearance since 2009 and only his second appearance in any Major League game since he won 17 games for the Angels in 2007. Fifteen minutes later, he was walking off with Brewers head athletic trainer Dan Wright at his side.
"Out there, he didn't say what hurt," catcher Blake Lalli said. "He just said, 'Not today."
The Brewers announced during the game that Escobar was suffering from a sore elbow, but manager Ron Roenicke said following Milwaukee's 4-3 victory over a Cubs split squad that the trouble spot was Escobar's right hand.
"He didn't feel good strength in his hand, and the ball was coming out funny," Roenicke said. "No elbow, no shoulder. He said it was hand."
Escobar entered for the bottom of the sixth inning and threw ball one to a pinch-hitter, Darnell McDonald, but came back to strike McDonald out looking at a split-fingered changeup, a pitch Escobar would come back to again. Nate Schierholtz followed and took a walk in a six-pitch at-bat that included two balls over Schierholtz's head and two in the dirt, but Escobar moved to within an out of a scoreless inning when Wellington Castillo popped the next pitch to shallow right field.
Scott Hairston followed and worked another walk that included a pair of close pitches inside. Brett Jackson took a first pitch to the ribs and loaded the bases.
When Escobar threw ball one to shortstop Javier Baez, he gave what Lalli termed "the look," and his day was done. Brewers pitching coach Rick Kranitz visited the mound, had a word and immediately signaled to the bullpen. As Escobar walked toward the bench, Wright met him at the foul line.
Earlier in the inning, how was Escobar's stuff?
"It was OK," Lalli said. "What I noticed was that when he was in the zone, they didn't take good swings. But if you ask him, he's probably used to being really good. So he's probably got very high standards."
Said Roenicke: "He threw some good fastballs, but not consistent."
Escobar was transported back to Maryvale Baseball Park while the clubhouse was still closed to reporters.
He has plenty of teammates rooting for a successful comeback.
"I think guys are rooting for him just because they know how good he can be," Lalli said. "You want to win, so yeah, you're rooting for him to be that good. I'm sure he didn't want this to be the outcome today."
MRI clean, but Aramis to miss time with knee injury
MESA, Ariz. -- An MRI scan of third baseman Aramis Ramirez's left knee on Sunday confirmed the Brewers' best-case scenario: no structural damage.
But he will still be sidelined for some time, manager Ron Roenicke said.
"The MRI was good. It showed what we thought it was," said Roenicke, alternatively describing the injury as a strain and a sprain. "But it won't probably be day-to-day. He's pretty sore today, so whether it's a week or a little more than that, that's probably what we're looking at."
This qualified as good news, Roenicke said.
"I think so, and he was really happy," he said. "I saw him before he left, and he was concerned."
Ramirez was hurt when his knee hit the dirt sliding into second base on Saturday against the Angels. He was moving very gingerly as he prepared to depart Maryvale Baseball Park on Sunday morning for Chandler, Ariz., where he underwent the MRI.
"I'm not feeling too good right now," Ramirez said.
Could this be bad?
"I don't know," Ramirez said. "I've never had a knee problem before. I don't know what to expect. It doesn't feel good right now, but the good thing is it's not swelling right now. It's just sore, so that's good. We'll see -- hopefully it's OK.
"I talked to [Alex Gonzalez, who tore his ACL last season], and it's not the same thing because he told me his knee swelled up right away, and even the next day it got real big, and mine isn't. He told me he couldn't put his pants on, it was so big. [Ramirez's own injury] is not that bad."
The Brewers' medical staff told Roenicke as much on Saturday after examining Ramirez's knee. They did not find signs of structural damage.
Milwaukee is off Monday before returning to host Canada's World Baseball Classic squad on Tuesday at Maryvale Baseball Park. With Taylor Green playing for Canada in the Classic, Jeff Bianchi on Team Italy and Ramirez likely sidelined a few days, the Brewers will cover third base with a combination of Donnie Murphy (who started there Sunday against the Cubs), Bobby Crosby (expected to debut Tuesday after missing time with a quadriceps strain) and Alex Gonzalez (who has played third in Venezuela). The Brewers will also borrow former Oriole Blake Davis from Minor League camp, Roenicke said.
Braun departs for Classic, says left knee is fine
MESA, Ariz. -- Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun called his bruised left knee a non-issue and said he would be ready to go the distance for Team USA when Pool D of the World Baseball Classic gets under way later this week.
Braun did not play for the Brewers after taking a foul tip off the inside of his left knee on Thursday against the White Sox. The swelling had mostly subsided by Sunday, when he packed his belongings and moved to Team USA's temporary home in Scottsdale, Ariz.
"I think the plan is to play nine innings all three days," Braun said, referring to Team USA's opening-round play. "I'll be good. I'll be fine."
The U.S. team starts with a primetime matchup against Mexico on Friday at Chase Field.
• Monday will bring something rare for Spring Training: A true day off. Typically, Maryvale Baseball Park is buzzing even when the team doesn't play, with Minor League intrasquad games or Major League pitchers working in Minor League camp to stay on schedule. But given the length of this year's camp, a side-effect of the World Baseball Classic, the Brewers are shutting things down on Monday. Farm director Reid Nichols organized a golf tournament for players, coaches and staff.
• Manager Ron Roenicke said there was no update on the two pitchers -- Jairo Asencio and Miguel De Los Santos -- who remain delayed in the Dominican Republic by visa issues.