3/5/2013 4:20 P.M. ET
Escobar seeks opinion on hand weakness
By Adam McCalvy / MLB.com
PHOENIX -- Brewers right-hander Kelvim Escobar was eager to meet with the team's head physician on Tuesday morning for an explanation of the mysterious hand weakness that cut short his first Spring Training outing in four years.
Dr. William Raasch diagnosed the problem as a nerve impingement, Escobar said. He will meet on Tuesday morning with manager Ron Roenicke and pitching coach Rick Kranitz to determine the next step.
Escobar said he would spend the next few days "doing exercises, keep throwing, pitch in a game again to see how my hand responds and go on from there. It could have been worse. He checked my shoulder, my elbow, my neck, and everything was fine. He thinks it's a nerve that's not firing."
Escobar worked to six batters against the Cubs on Sunday and said he struggled to grip the baseball from the start. He exited with two outs and the bases loaded after two walks and a hit batsman.
The 36-year-old is a non-roster invitee in Brewers camp who has been limited to one Major League appearance since 2007 because of shoulder injuries. He is trying to win a job in Milwaukee's bullpen.
Injured Bianchi a no-go for Team Italy in Classic
PHOENIX -- Brewers infielder Jeff Bianchi has withdrawn from Italy's World Baseball Classic team after experiencing tightness in his left groin.
The 26-year-old, who was to play shortstop for Team Italy, was disappointed by the development. He said he began to feel discomfort after Saturday's game against the Angels.
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"Absolutely," Bianchi said. "I was looking forward to it, but it's one of those things that happens. Right now, I'm just treating it and getting it better. I would rather be with these guys and getting my work done here. … You can't stress or dwell over it."
Bianchi was the third Brewer to withdraw from the tournament. Pitcher Nick Bucci was unable to pitch for Canada because of a strained muscle behind his shoulder, and outfielder Carlos Gomez opted not to play for the Dominican Republic after appearing on their provisional roster.
Even with those departures, the Brewers had 12 players active in the tournament as of Tuesday morning, including nine members of their 40-man roster. Right-hander Yovani Gallardo was still somewhat in question for Team Mexico because of the right groin strain that bothered him last week, but Gallardo was scheduled to pitch one inning of Mexico's exhibition against the D-backs as a final test.
"We'll have a trainer over here, [pitching coach] Rick Kranitz is going over to make sure he's OK," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "I would think he would be, but just to make sure. Once he throws an inning to see where he is, we'll have a pretty good idea. If he gets through that, I think we're pretty comfortable with his pitching [in the tournament]."
Gallardo's setback -- he has not pitched since Feb. 26, when he felt discomfort in his groin during an outing against the Mariners -- means he will be limited for Mexico. Roenicke said Gallardo would not be stretched out enough to reach the 65-pitch maximum allowed in first-round World Baseball Classic games.
Roenicke was trusting Gallardo to provide an honest assessment after Tuesday's test. Gallardo is in line for his fourth consecutive Opening Day start and by far the Brewers' most established pitcher.
"It's a trust thing, but 'Yo' understands." Roenicke said. "He understands what would happen if it flares up again -- he probably wouldn't be our starting pitcher to start the season."
Aramis to miss extended period of time
PHOENIX -- Aramis Ramirez was happy an MRI scan of his aching left knee revealed no serious damage. But the Brewers third baseman does not expect to play anytime soon.
"A week maybe? Ten days? Two weeks? I don't know," Ramirez said. "We're still in Spring Training, so I guess it's not that big of a deal."
Ramirez jammed his knee sliding into second base on Saturday against the Angels, and was moving very gingerly the following morning before going for an MRI. Before that scan came back negative for structural damage, Ramirez admitted, "I was scared a little bit."
"I didn't know what to expect because I was really hurt," Ramirez said. "After we got the MRI, we now know what we're dealing with, and I guess it's not that big of a deal. We've got two weeks to go. It's a lot better. Two days ago, I was on crutches."
Even if he misses two weeks, Ramirez will have about two weeks of Spring Training games to get ready for the Brewers' April 1 season opener. So much for his plan to increase his spring workload to avoid the sort of slow start he endured last season.
"It didn't work," said Ramirez, who was 0-for-10 before legging out the bloop double on which he was injured.