3/6/2013 7:15 P.M. ET
Fiers working to improve two-seamer
By Adam McCalvy / MLB.com
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Mike Fiers has a clear goal for this season -- 200 innings -- and a new pitch he hopes helps him get there.
The right-handed Brewers starter is trying to incorporate a two-seam, sinking fastball this spring, another weapon to go inside on right-handed hitters and tail away from left-handed hitters. It would be a complement to Fiers' fastball/curveball/changeup/cutter repertoire.
"I think every year I try throwing a new pitch," Fiers said. "I didn't throw a two-seamer all year last year."
He threw a handful of sinkers against the Mariners on Wednesday, but backed off because he was struggling to locate the pitch. Fiers allowed two runs on three hits in 3 1/3 innings.
In three Cactus League starts, Fiers has a 3.24 ERA. He is bidding for one of the openings in Milwaukee's starting rotation and has last year's success on his side. Fiers had a 2.88 ERA in his first 16 starts following a promotion from Triple-A before fading to the tune of a 7.09 ERA in his final six starts.
"I want to get there [to 200 innings]," Fiers said. "I feel like I can get there and still be strong. Last year, everyone was talking about how I fell off in September, but I felt like my best start was actually my last start. I had a couple of rough ones in September, and I just wasn't as consistent. It's not that I was tired, I don't think."
Kranitz approves decision to let Gallardo pitch
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Brewers pitching coach Rick Kranitz was in the stands for Yovani Gallardo's inning for Team Mexico against the D-backs on Tuesday night, and was on board with Gallardo moving on in the World Baseball Classic. Gallardo is scheduled to pitch Friday at Chase Field against Team USA.
Gallardo's status for the tournament was briefly in question when he suffered a minor right groin strain last week.
"We already had a plan ahead of time," Kranitz said. "If he cleared one hurdle, he was going to the next one. We talked to 'Yo.' Everybody's talked. If there was something there, he would have felt it last night after the game, and he said everything was good."
Because of the groin setback, Gallardo will not be stretched out enough to reach the 65-pitch limit for first-round World Baseball Classic games. Kranitz declined to specify Gallardo's personal limit.
Kranitz and Brewers manager Ron Roenicke plan to be among the fans in the stands on Friday. Organizers are expecting a crowd as large as 40,000 for the premiere game of Pool D.
"Better get there early," Kranitz said.
Gamel to undergo second ACL surgery
PEORIA, Ariz. -- After getting a second opinion, Brewers first baseman Mat Gamel will undergo surgery on Friday to repair a torn right ACL for the second time in less than a year.
Gamel had the same procedure last May and missed the rest of the season, then re-tore the same ligament on Feb. 16 and will miss all of 2013.
Gary Waslewski, a team physician for the Arizona Cardinals football team and Phoenix Coyotes hockey team, will perform Gamel's surgery in Scottsdale, Ariz., with Brewers head physician William Raasch assisting. Raasch performed Gamel's surgery last year.
Webb ponders next step after throwing live BP
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Left-hander Travis Webb threw live batting practice to hitters for the first time on Tuesday and was to discuss with Brewers coaches on Wednesday the next step. It could be pitching in a game.
Webb, a non-roster invitee who is new to the organization, has been brought along very slowly because of a muscle strain behind his left shoulder.
"I feel great," Webb said. "I'm going to go out and throw and just see where I'm at. I really want to be out there. I feel like this is an important time for me. But again, I want to make sure that I'm ready to go."
Webb said he no longer feels any discomfort in that muscle.
• The club announced Wednesday a ticket promotion called "Brewers Chance 2 Advance Ticket Plan Presented by Potawatomi," which allows fans the chance to upgrade their seats to the next-highest ticket category every time the Brewers win. The details are at Brewers.com/advance.
• Infielder Bobby Crosby started at third base on Wednesday, a day after making his unofficial Brewers debut at the same spot. He is making up for lost time after suffering a quadriceps strain early in camp.
• Roenicke has been candid in recent days about his assessment of left-hander Michael Gonzalez, who has struggled with command and "stuff" in each of his two appearances so far. Kranitz checked in with Gonzalez on Wednesday morning, Roenicke said.
"Either 'stuff' or command, one or the other, would be nice to see," Roenicke said. "But Rick's plan with he and [fellow veteran lefty Tom] Gorzelanny was they didn't need to pitch early. 'We've got a long ways to go, and let's take them along slow.' Maybe that's the case, [Gonzalez] is just taking a while to build up arm strength. Maybe he goes through this every spring, I don't know.
"We're pretty comfortable that he's going to be the guy that is going to be consistent like we expected. I agree with you -- if you watch what we've seen so far, it's hard to feel that he's going to get to that guy. But it's so early that I'm not concerned right now. If this goes on for a long time, I will be concerned."