8/26/2014 8:25 P.M. ET
Taylor headlines Crew's AFL picks
By Adam McCalvy / MLB.com
SAN DIEGO -- Top prospect Tyrone Taylor and Rule 5 Draft pick Wei-Chung Wang were among the eight Brewers farmhands named Tuesday to preliminary rosters for the upcoming Arizona Fall League.
Taylor, 20, an outfielder who ascended to the top of MLB.com's list of the top 20 Brewers prospects when Jimmy Nelson graduated to the Majors, was one of four Brewers position players picked to play for the Glendale Desert Dogs.
The others are infielder Hector Gomez, first baseman Nick Ramirez and catcher Shawn Zarraga, who will be a taxi squad player eligible to play on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Wang, a 23-year-old left-hander who made only 13 appearances in four months with the Brewers before he was placed on the disabled list, will be joined by right-handers Brooks Hall, Ariel Pena and Tyler Wagner on the Desert Dogs' pitching staff.
The AFL bills itself as a stepping-stone to the Major Leagues, with about 60 percent of participants reaching baseball's big stage. The six-team league, owned and operated by Major League Baseball, plays six days per week in five Cactus League stadiums in the Phoenix area. Players from the Brewers, Dodgers, Orioles, Tigers and White Sox make up the Desert Dogs' roster.
"I think it should be a confidence-builder, being selected by your organization," said current Brewers outfielder Khris Davis, who played in the AFL in 2012.
Most AFL participants are coming from Double-A or Triple-A, but each organization is allowed two exceptions for Class A players. That's how Taylor made the cut; he entered Tuesday with a .275/.327/.396 slash line at Class A Advanced Brevard County.
For Wang and Hall, the AFL will offer an opportunity to make up for time lost to injuries. Hall, who is on Milwaukee's 40-man roster, has not pitched since April because of attached bone spurs in his pitching elbow, but assistant GM Gord Ash said Hall has had no recent setbacks and should be ready to pitch competitively in the AFL.
Gomez has been on the DL with a hamstring injury, but the Brewers hope he'll be back in action for Triple-A Nashville by Sunday or Monday.
The Fall League openers are scheduled for Oct. 7.
Rehabbing Garza ready to face hitters
SAN DIEGO -- After what pitching coach Rick Kranitz described Tuesday as a "superb" bullpen session, Matt Garza was ready to face hitters.
Whether those hitters are stepping to the plate in a simulated game, a Minor League game or a Major League game remained to be revealed, but the bottom line for Garza was another big step toward the end of his stint on the disabled list for a rib-cage strain.
"It was superb. It was high intensity," Kranitz said. "It was exactly what we needed to see."
Said Brewers manager Ron Roenicke: "I'd say he's ready to go out somewhere. I'm pretty confident in what I saw today, but we'll wait and see [Wednesday], talk to him. … We've had different discussions on which way to go with it, whether you do a simulated or a rehab [assignment]. We've run them all by [Garza], and talked to Doug [Melvin, Milwaukee's GM] about it. We think we've come up with a good plan."
Garza has been sidelined since feeling a muscle grab along his left side during an Aug. 3 start in St. Louis. He took two weeks off from throwing before beginning an accelerated program that brought him to Tuesday's 35-40 pitch mound session.
"I've done it before so I know when not to push and when you can push it," said Garza, who was on the DL at the start of last season with a similar injury. "Right now, we're not at a time where we have to push it, so that's a positive thing. The guys [athletic trainers] are doing a great job, and it's just, come back healthy and strong and ready to go."
Because Garza's return coincides with the expansion of rosters, the Brewers have the option of restoring him to the rotation more quickly than they could at earlier stages of the season. Even if Garza is on a limited pitch count, the team will have plenty of bullpen reinforcements.
Garza will have all of September to work back to full strength before what he and the Brewers hope is a run into the postseason.
"I'd rather have all of August and September," Garza said, "but I'll take what I can get."
• Right fielder Ryan Braun was back in the lineup Tuesday after suffering a bruised left thigh in a collision at first base the night before.
"He's still sore today, but he said he was fine to go," Roenicke said. "Hopefully we can get this game in and it doesn't get worse on him. I tried to get him out a couple innings yesterday; I didn't have to, but just to make sure."
• The "selfie" snapped by center fielder Carlos Gomez on Brewers photo day adorns the front of T-shirts unveiled Tuesday for Social Media Night at Miller Park on Sept. 8. Gomez will take part in a pre-game "Tweet-up" that night at Miller Park. For ticket information, visit Brewers.com/SocialMediaNight.