2/19/2014 3:54 P.M. ET
Injury prevention a high priority for Brewers
By Adam McCalvy / MLB.com
PHOENIX -- After being dogged by leg injuries last season, particularly hamstring injuries to pitchers, the Brewers are taking steps to bolster their already extensive injury prevention initiative.
The team is consulting with a company called Move 2 Perform to better analyze measurements taken during Spring Training physicals. Brewers medical officials underwent training last week in software that collects data from a series of tests and produces reports, as medical director Roger Caplinger put it, "That can say, 'These players are at potential risk of injury because of X, Y and Z.'"
"We will be able to use this in conjunction with the biomechanical analysis that Dr. [William] Raasch does as well as a stretching program, our range of motion program, our rotator cuff program," Caplinger said. "We have all of these programs in place to keep our guys on the field."
The Brewers have been collecting some of the raw data for years, Caplinger said, but were looking for better ways to put it into practice. Move 2 Perform staff was on hand for this year's physicals, but in future years, the Brewers will be able to collect and analyze data themselves.
"What it has given us is some additional information that may not have been readily apparent to the eye that we can focus on," assistant general manager Gord Ash said. "A lot of it is based on core strength and flexibility, and hips are always a big issue. All of that has been addressed. We have been a lot more actively involved in trying to do that."
The Brewers are also bringing in a speed specialist for about 10 days beginning next week who will focus "more about form of running," Ash said. "We're not trying to produce track stars here. We're just looking for improvements in form."
Other initiatives are ongoing, including Raasch's biomechanical analysis program in partnership with Milwaukee's Froedtert Sports Medicine Center. Raasch uses eight cameras and 42 electronic markers to measure a pitcher's throwing motion, then analyzes the results to identify strengths and weaknesses. This year, Brewers pitchers will be measured later in Spring Training, from March 17-23, to see how the results compared to past tests early in camp.
This will be the 10th year of Raasch's program.
Brewers manager Ron Roenicke has noticed a big change on the medical front over the years.
"It didn't used to be that you came into camp thinking, 'Well, what do we do if we have these injuries?'" Roenicke said. "You used to feel that everybody was going to be healthy, and it was going to be a surprise if somebody got hurt. It's not a surprise anymore. It's going to happen. For a staff to go through a whole season and not have any injuries, it's so rare now that you'd better have alternate plans for it."
Aramis won't be game-ready; Crew not concerned
PHOENIX -- Brewers third baseman Aramis Ramirez underwent surgery in December to remove a non-cancerous polyp from his colon and will not be game-ready when Cactus League play begins late next week, club officials said. Ramirez is expected to arrive in camp on time ahead of Saturday's first full-squad workout.
"My understanding from [head athletic trainer] Dan Wright, who followed this closely, is that there were no [long-term] issues to be concerned about or alarmed with," said Brewers assistant GM Gord Ash. "He's just behind, and what's the rush? If he's a week to 10 days behind [it is not a problem].
"Part of the problem in giving you updated information is we haven't seen him. This is all word of mouth. Until we see him -- I expect him to be here for the physical on the weekend -- then we'll know more. ... But our understanding is this will be a question of days. There are no problems."
Brewers manager Ron Roenicke spoke to Ramirez on Tuesday and was told Ramirez has been doing some hitting lately in the Dominican Republic. The 35-year-old is entering the final season of his contract and coming off a 2013 marred by a nagging left knee injury.
Ash also provided an update on reliever Francisco Rodriguez, who has been delayed because he signed so late in the offseason. Rodriguez has an appointment at the U.S. consulate in Caracas, Venezuela, on Feb. 26 to acquire a work visa, Ash said, and the Brewers hope to see him in camp several days later.
It is unclear whether the recent violence in the Venezuelan capital will impact Rodriguez's plan.
Crew's plan for Green includes focus on third
PHOENIX -- Brewers manager Ron Roenicke wants versatile infielder Taylor Green to concentrate on third base this spring in an effort to regain his footing in the organization.
Green, a two-time winner of Milwaukee's Minor League Player of the Year Award (in 2007 and 2011) missed the entire 2013 season following surgery for a torn labrum in his left hip. He is a career .289 hitter in the Minors, but has batted just .207 in 140 Major League at-bats since '11.
"I'm glad he's healthy," Roenicke said. "He's actually in a really good spot right now mentally. He's really happy with how he feels physically, and I think [we need] to get him there, to get back to the type of player that he was before. He needs to do that. … Taylor is a guy that we know needs to be at a position a little longer to get confident at it again, and [after] missing a year, I think it's important to do."
Green can also play first base and second, and might have helped the Brewers cover for injuries suffered by first basemen Corey Hart and Mat Gamel last season. Instead, Green was injured himself.
"It's hard, injuries are really hard to stay positive [about]," Roenicke said. "Where he's at is trying to break into the big leagues, you know he comes up, but he's trying to establish himself there, and then an injury sets him back. It's hard to stay positive through all of that."
• Players and staff expressed sadness Wednesday as word spread about Gamel, the former Brewer who was released by the Braves the day before. Gamel was Milwaukee's starting first baseman before he suffered a season-ending ACL injury in 2012, then re-tore the same ligament during the Brewers' first full-squad workout of 2013 and missed another full season. The Braves released him after Gamel re-injured the knee during a workout before the start of Spring Training.
Nobody deserves that much pain, Roenicke said.
"No, they don't," he said. "To not have a chance to play in the Major Leagues … because of an injury, it's tough."
• Some Green trivia: His mother is best friends with actress Kim Cattrall, best known for her roles in 1980s films like "Mannequin" and "Big Trouble in Little China," and for her role as Samantha in HBO's "Sex and the City." "Aunt Kim," as Green knows her, was a neighbor of Green's mother, Jackie.