7/29/2014 7:32 P.M. ET
Brewers to begin choosing Fall League players
By Adam McCalvy / MLB.com
ST. PETERSBURG -- Now that the Brewers know with whom their Arizona Fall League participants will be teamed, they can begin the complicated process of choosing which prospects will actually play in the circuit, which has long proven a springboard to the big leagues.
The Brewers have been assigned to the Glendale Desert Dogs with farmhands from the Orioles, White Sox, Tigers and Dodgers. Double-A Huntsville pitching coach Chris Hook will serve on the Desert Dogs' staff.
Now comes the tricky part.
"There will probably be conference calls for the first 15 days of August to figure out who is going to play," said Brewers senior director of baseball operations Tom Flanagan, who has been part of those calls in the past with farm director Reid Nichols and other club officials. "It starts with determining priority positions for each team, and then you build around that."
Players at those priority positions are ensured greater playing time. Last year, it was outfielder Mitch Haniger, whose strong performance helped get him to Major League Spring Training camp. This year, it could be another outfielder, Brewers No. 2 prospect Tyrone Taylor, though that has yet to be finalized.
"Pitching is fine, there are enough spots," Flanagan said. "But if another team says, 'Our priority guy is a shortstop,' chances are you don't want to send a shortstop. … There's strategy involved to make sure the guy gets the most out of the experience."
The six-team Arizona Fall League begins play Oct. 7 with one new venue: The Cubs' new Spring Training home in Mesa
Nelson's focus on upcoming start amid trade rumors
ST. PETERSBURG -- As his name churns around baseball's rumor mill, Brewers right-hander Jimmy Nelson insisted he's only thinking about the St. Louis Cardinals.
That's Nelson's scheduled opponent on Saturday at Busch Stadium, assuming none of the proposals being bantered about come to fruition before Thursday's 3 p.m. CT non-waiver Trade Deadline. Every time the Brewers are linked in a report to a notable player -- Tampa Bay's David Price and Boston's Jon Lester chief among them -- the proposed cost seems to start with Nelson.
"That's just one of those peripheral things you can't pay attention to," the right-hander said.
Nelson is a perfectly logical place to start when discussing the Brewers' hopes of attracting an impact player in a trade. He is 25 years old, under club control for at least the next six years, and was 10-2 with a 1.46 ERA at Triple-A Nashville before a promotion to Milwaukee just before the All-Star break.
In his first four Major League starts this season, Nelson is 1-2 with a 4.30 ERA, and appreciates his first extended stint in the big leagues because it's allowing him to settle into a routine for the first time.
Does the Trade Deadline ever come up during the pitchers' afternoon workouts?
"No, not really," Nelson said. "We're in first place right now, and we're trying to put our focus on staying there. We like the group of players we have here."
That attitude was welcomed by Brewers manager Ron Roenicke.
"He's more concerned about trying to pitch the way he wants to pitch. He's pretty focused," Roenicke said. "So I think he's fine. The conversations inside with him are basically the same."
Speaking generally about the Deadline, Roenicke said, "It's good for the buzz and the fans and what's going to happen. [Fans] can get involved more. But it's hard on a player. Really, you think about it, a player has maybe come up through the Minor League system with that team and he's been there a few years, and all of a sudden he's thinking about, 'Wow, I may have to leave here.' That's hard on a player. I think a lot of guys will be relieved when Thursday is over."
• Carlos Gomez took a break from manning center field Tuesday and served as the Brewers' designated hitter instead.
"He's feeling good. He tweaked his back a few days ago, but he's fine for now," Roenicke said. "He's always a concern the way he plays and how hard he swings, even in BP. So I think [it is worthwhile], him getting off his feet for a day. Especially here on the turf, it's a little different."
• Roenicke reported little improvement for infielder Jeff Bianchi, who is on the disabled list with a sore throwing shoulder. Bianchi underwent Tommy John surgery on his right elbow in 2010.