3/10/2014 8:26 P.M. ET
Lohse reflects on whirlwind spring of 2013
By Alyson Footer and Tracy Ringolsby / MLB.com
PHOENIX -- A year ago Monday, Kyle Lohse made his spring debut. Agent Scott Boras arranged for Lohse to pitch in a simulated game against the Scottsdale Community College Artichokes.
An unsigned free agent, Lohse needed to face hitters to get his arm in shape so that when his baseball limbo ended, he would be back in the big leagues by the start of the 2013 season.
"I faced Scottsdale and also threw a few times against Grand Canyon," Lohse said. "I think Grand Canyon is the Lopes, short for Antelopes."
Lohse was a free agent who had declined a qualifying offer from the St. Louis Cardinals, and got caught in a situation similar to what Ervin Santana, Kendrys Morales and Stephen Drew are facing this spring.
Lohse finally signed last March with the Brewers.
"March 25," Lohse said. "Of course I remember that date. I'll never forget it."
It was a week before the start of the regular season. He appeared in a spring game two days later, and made his regular season debut 11 days later, in the Brewers' fourth game, a 3-1 loss to Arizona. Lohse had a no decision, allowing one run in six innings.
Lohse, 35, had been around long enough to know how to get himself in shape physically, so he was ready for the start. But he admits there were anxious moments joining the Brewers so late in the spring.
"Mentally, it was more of a grind than physically," Lohse said. "You do all your work on your own. What's difficult is you know guys on the team from playing against them, but you don't know them as teammates. You don't have a personal relationship."
This year, Lohse is one of the guys. There was no offseason drama, thanks to the three-year, $33 million deal he eventually signed with Milwaukee.
"I always felt something was going to happen, but you get into the final week of the spring and you start to wonder," Lohse said. "I wasn't going to sign a one-year deal or two-year deal. I was thinking I might have to wait until [after the First-Year Player Draft in June], so a team wouldn't lose its Draft choice."
Lohse, however, found Spring Training interest from Colorado and the Brewers.
"I thought I might end up in Colorado, but Milwaukee was a better situation in terms of a guarantee, and it was one of the teams I was looking at when free agency started," Lohse said.
Brewers release bullpen candidate Olmsted
PHOENIX -- The Brewers announced on Monday that they released hard-throwing right-hander Michael Olmsted, a non-roster invitee who was one of several candidates competing for a bullpen spot.
The 26-year-old Olmsted, originally a ninth-round pick by the Mets in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft, made two relief appearances for the Brewers this spring. On March 1 at Arizona, he allowed one earned run in one inning. On Sunday at the Cubs, he faced one batter, striking out George Kottaras in the sixth inning.
Manager Ron Roenicke and his staff didn't see a fit for Olmsted in their top two farm teams, and by releasing him now, Olmsted may have a better chance to hook on with another organization with time still left in Spring Training.
"We've talked about it -- we're pretty deep in Double-A and Triple-A," Roenicke said. "For him to get an opportunity, we thought now was a better time rather than putting him on the Minor League side and doing it later."
For Roenicke, Olmsted's biggest hurdle was command and being able to repeat pitches.
"He's got good pitches," Roenicke said. "He's got a good fastball, he's got a good slider. But he has to be able to repeat those pitches. He came into the game yesterday and threw a nice slider to George Kottaras and was able to get him. But [it's] being able to go out there and do that consistently."
K-Rod scheduled to debut on Thursday
PHOENIX -- Reliever Francisco Rodriguez threw a live batting practice session on Sunday and is on track to make his first spring appearance on Thursday, when the Brewers travel to Peoria to play the Padres. He'll also throw a light bullpen session on Wednesday.
Despite reporting to Spring Training two weeks later than his teammates, Rodriguez has never worried about not being ready for Opening Day, especially since he doesn't usually pitch in more than six games in a typical spring.
"I was 10, 12 days behind, but that's pretty much the program I always do," Rodriguez said. "I usually come into games around this time. So I'm not that far away. The good thing is, I don't feel behind schedule and I haven't had any setbacks. Just normal soreness."
Rodriguez didn't play a lot of winter ball, but worked out regularly at the Aguilas club's facility in Venezuela.
"I threw a lot of bullpens, so I came here in pretty good shape," Rodriguez said.
• Following their game on Monday, the Brewers made several roster moves. Five were returned to Minor League camp: outfielder Kentrail Davis, infielder Hector Gomez, infielder Taylor Green, outfielder Mitch Haniger and right-hander David Goforth.
Four were optioned to Triple-A Nashville: first baseman Hunter Morris, first baseman/outfielder Jason Rogers and right-handers Jimmy Nelson and Ariel Pena. Two were optioned to Double-A Huntsville: right-handers Brooks Hall and Kevin Shackelford.
• The Brewers continue to be impressed with Rule 5 draftee Wei-Chung Wang, who has turned in three solid outings this spring. Over five innings, he's allowed one unearned run and no walks while logging four strikeouts.
The 21-year-old left-hander could be projected as a starter in the future, but for now, his best shot to make the 25-man roster is out of the bullpen.
"He's throwing strikes," Roenicke said. "If you've got some stuff, which he does, and you can throw strikes, you can get Major League hitters out. As long as he keeps doing that, we'll keep looking at him and talking about him and trying to figure if he's a fit for us."
• The Brewers are off on Tuesday, the first of two scheduled off days they will enjoy this month. Roenicke said he plans to attend the Bob Uecker Front Row Classic golf tournament, benefiting the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Several Brewers players are also expected to attend the event.
The Brewers other off-day falls on March 24.
Alyson Footer is a national correspondent for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter. Tracy Ringolsby is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.