4/13/2014 6:33 P.M. ET
Brewers execute rare double play against Pirates
By JR Radcliffe / Special to MLB.com
MILWAUKEE -- One night after a rarely seen 2-6-1 double play smothered a huge scoring chance for Pittsburgh in the eighth inning of a tie game, Brewers manager Ron Roenicke noted that the play the Pirates attempted frequently comes up in Spring Training exercises but seldom sees the lights of game play.
"No matter how you set it up and where your players are supposed to line up, they never go that way," Roenicke said. "I probably saw that play happen 10 years ago, maybe it was 15 years. It never happens. If everyone is in tune with it, it's a good play. But how do you get in tune with it? That's the hardest part, because it comes up so rarely that you usually aren't ready for what happens."
Pittsburgh tried to sneak a run across after Andrew McCutchen popped out behind home plate with runners at the corners and one out. Travis Snider tagged and began advancing toward second, so catcher Jonathan Lucroy gunned to Jean Segura covering the bag. But Segura took the throw and returned it home, where pitcher Jim Henderson was waiting to tag out a charging Starling Marte.
"If Marte is off [third base] farther and he's down the line, he scores," Roenicke said. "It's a tough play to defend and it is a tough play offensively, because you aren't sure what the guy at first is going to do. It's a hard play everywhere."
With as many moving parts as there were, Roenicke was impressed with one aspect that might have gone unnoticed in the Saturday aftermath.
"I don't know if anyone saw the replay, but did you see where [center fielder Carlos] Gomez was?" Roenicke said. "That was impressive. Gomez is 10 feet behind 'Seggy' ready to get the throw and telling 'Seggy' where to throw the ball. It was really cool."
Brewers to celebrate Jackie's Day at Miller Park
MILWAUKEE -- Tuesday is Jackie Robinson Day around Major League Baseball, and the Brewers will universally wear No. 42 when they host the St. Louis Cardinals at Miller Park.
Khris Davis, operating as the everyday left fielder for the first time in his career, is one of two African Americans on the Brewers' roster.
"My dad would tell me he used to play at Jackie Robinson Field as a kid and how special that is," Davis said. "I still hear stories that [Brewers hitting coach] Johnny Narron tells me about Branch Rickey and an uncle that Johnny had, just what they went through as a team."
Davis followed in his father's footsteps. Rodney Davis played professionally as an outfielder in the Minor Leagues with the Dodgers and later scouted for the D-backs. Khris Davis attended Cal-State Fullerton, not far from UCLA, where Robinson began to craft his legacy by becoming the first Bruin to win varsity letters in four sports.
Brewers add Wooten to bullpen from Triple-A
MILWAUKEE -- With news that relief pitcher Brandon Kintzler would be the first in-season addition to the 15-day disabled list late Saturday, the Milwaukee Brewers recalled Rob Wooten, who played a large role on the 2013 squad and narrowly missed breaking camp this time around.
"Obviously you're always excited to come back to the big leagues, but to come back to this team is pretty fun," Wooten said. "Last night, I knew before the game [at Triple-A Nashville], so I watched the whole [Brewers] game. I was pretty pumped, and as I heard, the whole crowd was into it, too."
Wooten's numbers were greatly impacted last year by three bad outings, including consecutive appearances against the Angels in which he surrendered two runs and three runs, netting his lone blown save and loss in the latter. He also allowed five earned runs against St. Louis in just two-thirds of an inning Sept. 21, but his other 10 appearances after the Angels series were scoreless outings.
"I've played this game long enough to know that things are not going to be easy," Wooten said. "I got off to a great start here, knowing that wasn't going to last like that. But I didn't change anything. I kept doing what I was doing. I learned from it, built off it and finished off the season pretty strong. I came into Spring Training with the most confidence that I've ever had, and I still have it."
In all, 22 of his 27 outings in 2013 were scoreless appearances. He finished the season at 3-1 with a 3.90 ERA and 18 strikeouts (to eight walks) in 27 2/3 innings.
After becoming the final cut during Spring Training, when he allowed five earned runs in 11 2/3 innings, he also started out hot at Nashville, setting down all nine men he faced and securing three saves in three appearances.
He walks into a bullpen that entered Sunday leading the league with a dominant 0.83 ERA. Kintzler had been among those to not allow a run yet this season.
"I saw it coming, to be honest with you," Wooten said of the bullpen's success. "The first series here didn't go how they wanted, but I was looking at it [thinking] they were going to shock some people, and sure enough."
With Kintzler going down, Wooten was the obvious replacement.
"Coming out of spring, he easily could have been on this team," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "He's throwing well, he's on the [40-man] roster, he has options, there's a lot of reasons. But we want him here, that's the main reason. … I'm comfortable bringing him into any situation -- left-hander, right-hander. He showed he could get lefties out last year. It's a lot different than bringing a guy up and being unsure in what he can do for you."
Added Wooten, "I wanted to get off to a really good start in Nashville. If that opportunity presented itself, I wanted to make sure that I was one of the guys they'd consider."
Roenicke feels out recent implications of replays
MILWAUKEE -- Ron Roenicke doesn't really know what to say.
When the Brewers manager jumps out of the dugout to "stall" for time while Brewers personnel examine whether to ask for a replay challenge, he said he legitimately feels uncomfortable.
"I'm used to running out there, saying my piece and then going back," he said. "Now I have to stall -- and I'm not a big yapper anyway -- so it's really uncomfortable. I need to do a better job of it. … I really do. I don't like the way it is right now. I don't like that I have to go out there on every close play. That's not what we wanted to do when we were setting this whole replay thing up; we just wanted to get the plays right. But because there's no easy way to do it, it forces me to go out there on every close play. I really don't want to do that."
Pirates manager Clint Hurdle emerged from the dugout in both the eighth and ninth inning Saturday after close plays, one that resulted in a challenge and one that did not. Umpires and managers alike have made no bones about the intent of those conversations.
Roenicke said eventually Major League Baseball will establish a system of evaluation for the expanded replay system implemented in 2014. In the meantime, he prefers the players do the stalling, because the manager staying in the dugout would minimize the length of delay.
"I don't want to stall this game, I want the games to go quicker," Roenicke said. "It's a big concern with baseball and it's a concern with me. I don't like three-plus-hour games, so the quicker we can do this, the better. That's probably the main thing that's going to happen -- how can we do this thing right and still keep the game flowing?"
Roenicke said replay has worked its intended result in Brewers games, but he has witnessed outcomes he doesn't like.
"I was watching a replay of the game last night with the Yankees," Roenicke said. "They didn't overturn a call and [MLB] said they should have. For me, I don't think they should have. The runner is clearly safe."
He was referring to a play against the Red Sox when Yankees shortstop Dean Anna doubled and slid over the bag at second and into a standing position. Boston shortstop Xander Bogaerts kept the tag on when Anna's foot momentarily left the bag. The call stood as safe, but MLB later said the conclusive video angle was not immediately available and the play should have been overturned.
"We're teaching guys now to keep a tag on a guy because we have replay," Roenicke said. "Make the tag on the guy and if he's safe, he's safe. If you want to go by the rules, you call him out, but come on. To me, he's safe. It's just like outfielders who catch the ball, take a few steps -- they've clearly got possession of the ball -- and they go to take it out of their glove and drop it, and he's out. That's the stuff I don't want to see happen, and it can now because of the rules. I don't like that. Again, that's not why they put this in."
• With a win Sunday, the Brewers would match a nine-game winning streak recorded in April 2013. That was the longest winning streak since a 10-game run in 2003, the highlight for a Brewers team that finished 68-94 that year.
• Francisco Rodriguez, with saves in both of the first two games in Milwaukee's series against the Pirates, needed two more to catch Goose Gossage for No. 20 on the all-time saves list. K-Rod has 308 for his career.
• The Brewers elected to wear their retro white jerseys once again Sunday. They wore the uniforms for all three games of the series against the Pirates.
JR Radcliffe is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.