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News » Milwaukee Brewers Roster Report 2009-03-01

Milwaukee Brewers Roster Report 2009-03-01

Milwaukee Brewers Roster Report 2009-03-01
The Brewers reversed course just before spring training, signing free agent RHP Braden Looper to strengthen their rotation. Thus, they made two significant pitching moves over the winter, including the signing of free agent closer Trevor Hoffman, the career saves leader.

ARRIVALS: RHP Trevor Hoffman (free agent from Padres), RHP Jorge Julio (free agent from Braves), LHP Chase Wright (trade with Yankees), OF Trot Nixon (free agent from Mets), OF Chris Duffy (minor league free agent from Pirates), RHP Eduardo Morlan (Rule 5 selection from Rays), INF/OF Jason Bourgeois (minor league free agent from White Sox), RHP Braden Looper (free agent from Cardinals), RHP Nick Green (waiver claim from Angels).

DEPARTURES: LHP CC Sabathia (free agent, signed with Yankees), RHP Ben Sheets (free agent, unsigned), OF Gabe Kapler (free agent, signed with Rays), LHP Brian Shouse (free agent, signed with Rays), RHP Salomon Torres (retired), RHP Guillermo Mota (free agent, signed with Dodgers).

SPRING FOCUS: The addition of RHP Braden Looper eases the burden on new manager Ken Macha during spring camp. Before the signing of Looper, the Brewers had only five established starting pitchers, and one of those -- RHP Seth McClung -- was a swingman who also had pitched out of the bullpen. The Brewers must align the bullpen in front of new closer Trevor Hoffman. The backup outfield spots are up for grabs.


1. RHP Yovani Gallardo

2. LHP Manny Parra

3. RHP Braden Looper

4. RHP Dave Bush

5. RHP Jeff Suppan

The addition of Looper allows the Brewers to move RHP Seth McClung back to a long-relief role. He would remain the sixth option should anything happen to one of the starting five. LHP Chris Capuano, who missed all of the 2008 season after undergoing Tommy John elbow surgery last May, probably won't be ready until a month or two into the season.

Gallardo missed most of last season after undergoing knee surgery but has the best stuff on the staff, so he's No. 1. Parra hit the wall hard at the end of his first season in the rotation and must prove he can pitch effectively until the end. Suppan was totally out of gas at the end of the year, a point of concern.


RHP Trevor Hoffman (closer)

RHP Carlos Villanueva

RHP Eric Gagne

RHP David Riske

RHP Todd Coffey

RHP Jorge Julio

LHP Mitch Stetter

RHP Eduardo Morlan

Signing Hoffman to a free agent deal filled a huge void for the Brewers, who were left without a closer when Salomon Torres retired. All that was left was aligning the pitchers in front of Hoffman. Gagne, who was such a disappointment last season, was re-signed (but to a minor league deal) and will get a chance to be a setup man.

With Brian Shouse leaving via free agency, Stetter figures to inherit the role of left-handed specialist. Morlan is a Rule 5 pick from Tampa Bay, so the Brewers have to keep him all season or offer him back. Riske was sidelined most of last season with elbow problems that eventually required surgery, so the Brewers are looking forward to having him back healthy.


1. 2B Rickie Weeks

2. SS J.J. Hardy

3. LF Ryan Braun

4. 1B Prince Fielder

5. RF Corey Hart

6. 3B Bill Hall

7. CF Mike Cameron

8. C Jason Kendall

Weeks has had his problems in the leadoff spot, but there is no other leadoff-type, so he'll probably stay atop the lineup. One real problem for the Brewers is a lack of balance. Fielder is the only left-handed hitter expected to be in the regular lineup.

Hall has had problems hitting righties in the past (.174 last season), so he might share time at third base with left-handed-hitting Mike Lamb. Hart, Hall and Cameron all are prone to striking out, so it might be dangerous to line them up together at the bottom of the lineup.


C Mike Rivera

INF Craig Counsell

OF Tony Gwynn Jr.

OF Trot Nixon

Rivera started only 11 games last season, a ridiculously low number. Counsell provides backup at third base, shortstop and second, which makes him very valuable. Gwynn is out of options and will have to be kept or sent through waivers.

The Brewers hope Nixon can stage a comeback in the fashion that Gabe Kapler did a year ago. There probably will be room for one more bench player, perhaps INF/OF Jason Bourgeois.

TOP ROOKIES: SS Alcides Escobar would get the call if anything happened to J.J. Hardy. He is the top prospect in the organization, a superb fielder who has improved dramatically at the plate. 3B Mat Gamel has had defensive issues in the minors (85 errors over the past two seasons), but he will be given a shot in spring camp to prove he can play the position at the big-league level. RHP Tim Dillard got his feet wet with a couple of stints with the Brewers last year, and he will get a shot to earn a spot in the bullpen.


OF Tony Gwynn Jr. (right shoulder impingement) might miss most of spring training.

3B Bill Hall (left calf tear) is expected to miss most of spring training while undergoing therapy and rehab.

LHP Chris Capuano (Tommy John surgery in May 2008) missed all of last season and is expected to start this year at Class AAA Nashville to work his way back.

2B Rickie Weeks (left knee surgery in September 2008) was injured in the NL Division Series against Philadelphia but is expected to be full-go at the start of camp.

RHP Mark Rogers (two shoulder surgeries) was the Brewers' first-round draft pick in 2004 but missed the past two seasons in the minors. Rogers is on the 40-man roster for the first time but probably won't pitch in the Brewers' camp.

RHP David Riske (right elbow surgery in September 2008) was being brought along slowly on a throwing program at the outset of spring training.

RHP Braden Looper (left oblique tightness) was scratched from his Feb. 28 start. The extent of the injury was not immediately known.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: March 1, 2009

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