Saturday, October 30, 2010

Brewers Six-Pack: Mike McClendon

At some point, Brewers right-hander Mike McClendon will gladly trade his spikes for a pair of flip-flops, his glove for a fishing pole -- but not yet. He's still hard at work in the Arizona Fall League, a prospect-rich showcase that represents a terrific opportunity for McClendon to state his case for a spot in the Brewers' 2011 bullpen, but it also continues a long 2010.
Consider how far he's come this year: He pitched all of one inning in big league Spring Training games -- the last inning of the Cactus League, no less -- then shot through Double-A Huntsville and Triple-A Nashville to Milwaukee, where McClendon held his own to the tune of a 3.00 ERA in 17 appearances. His spot in the Fall League was set before he arrived in the Majors, and McClendon was given the option to skip it.
Instead, he reported for duty. He pitched his fourth consecutive scoreless appearance for the Surprise Rafters on Monday after allowing two runs in his AFL debut.
"I think it's a great honor to go," McClendon said. "It's a chance to see if I can handle it -- going long into the season. We'll see what happens."
In the first of what will be an offseason-long series of "Six-packs," McClendon answers six questions about his long year and what he's looking forward to when it's over:
1. You're pitching by far the longest season of your life. How does the arm feel?
McClendon: So far, I feel strong -- stronger than I usually feel at this time of the year. Usually, there's some kind of fatigue, but I feel like I'm still going well. It's definitely the work I've put in. I didn't know what to expect when I got up to the big leagues.
2. When you arrived, what did you find?
McClendon: Trevor Hoffman's routine. We were running out there every day. That's really helped, and it's something I decided I was going to stick with through the Fall League. I had no idea what I was in for when I showed up in Milwaukee the first day, running on two-hours' sleep trying to get out there. Boom, right away we were out there running around.
3. Do you remember what that first "Camp Hoffman" workout entailed?
McClendon: Distance running, around the parking lot in Milwaukee. We're usually out there for an hour total, and it's a mixture of everything -- some running long, some sprints, some ab work, some other drills. It was kind of surprising because usually, late in the season, you tone things down, and those guys were almost building up again. It really helped.
4. How much do you think those workouts are a part of Hoffman's longevity?
McClendon: He was probably more in-shape than all of us. He does those workouts without breaking a sweat. Watching him definitely gets you going and makes you work harder.
5. Did you surprise yourself with your success this season?
McClendon: I never would have thought the year would go like it did. Starting off in Nashville and then being a [Minor League] All-Star halfway through the year, and things just kept on rolling. Everything fell into place. I've shown them a little bit of what I can do, but I think I have a lot more to prove, to be honest. But they know my face now.
6. When you finally put down the baseball, what are your offseason plans?
McClendon: I'm going to spend most of the offseason [at home in Corpus Cristi, Texas] fishing out on the bay. It's real nice down there all winter. I didn't know anyone down there when I moved last winter, but I made some connections and ran into (Padres reliever) Mike Adams, who is from the same area. I'll give him a call when I get back to town and we'll get out there. I'm looking forward to it.

Uecker goes home eight days after surgery

Brewers broadcaster Bob Uecker was released from Milwaukee's Froedtert Hospital on Wednesday, eight days after undergoing surgery to fix a tear in one of his heart valves.
"I want to thank the doctors and staff at Froedtert again for the terrific care throughout the surgery and recovery," Uecker said in a statement released by the team. "I am encouraged to be going home, and I appreciate the kind wishes from Brewers fans as I continue to recuperate."
The surgery was performed by Froedtert & The Medical College of Wisconsin Cardiothoracic Surgeon Alfred C. Nicolosi, MD. Nicolosi also operated on Uecker in late April, when he replaced Uecker's aortic valve, aortic root and part of his ascending aorta and also performed a coronary bypass.
Weeks later, Uecker developed a staph infection at the surgical site, which doctors believe led to the tear that was repaired Oct. 19.
"We're pleased that Bob's doing well and can continue his recovery at home," Nicolosi said.
Uecker is planning to meet with reporters at Miller Park at some point during his recovery.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Brewers Rumors: Bobby Valentine to Be Next Milwaukee Manager?

The rumors seem to be piling up on a day-to-day basis nowadays.
Yes, the Brewers are currently looking for a new manager, and Bobby Valentine seems to be the sure-fire candidate to succeed Ken Macha.
Doug Melvin has reportedly denied the reports, writes correspondent Adam McClavy.
Asked by the newspaper whether he had been at least offered the job, Valentine said, "We have met but there is nothing ongoing and no follow-up meeting is scheduled."
Valentine, 60, is currently an ESPN baseball tonight analyst.
Valentine managed the Mets from 1996 to 2002, including a trip to the World Series in 2000.
The up-beat, high-tempo managerial style Valentine has displayed throughout his career would be a great fit to an already powerful, enthusiastic offense such as the Brewers.  Hopefully Valentine brings a positive energy that former Brewers manager Ken Macha never quite brought to Milwaukee.
It remains to be seen how well the team will function under Valentine, however I can see the team welcoming him and his knowledge of the game.
After just two seasons as the Brewers' skipper, Ken Macha is gladly leaving a disappointing legacy behind him. 
Managing Milwaukee to only a 157-167 total record, along with two straight 3rd-place NL Central finishes, Doug Melvin had no choice but to end Macha's reign.
Valentine has been rumored to become the next manager for several Major League clubs so far this off-season, but Milwaukee has been the most 
Should this deal go through, Milwaukee fans would anxiously await the beginning of the 2011 season.  
Fans would start to believe once againsomething that we haven't seen since the 2008 wild-card season under former manager Ned Yost.
All in all, this deal just makes sense.  The Brewers desperately need a manager who knows how to win, and Valentine brings that to the table.
Alec Dopp is a contributing writer for, covering the Brewers with great pursuit, and dignity.  You can follow also follow him on twitter: @doppler9000

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Wallach out of running to be Brewers' skipper

Tim Wallach said he is no longer a candidate for the Brewers' managerial job and remains the most likely candidate to be third-base coach for new Dodgers manager Don Matttingly.
Wallach was notified Monday by the Brewers that he was out of the running to replace Ken Macha. Wallach, who managed the Dodgers' Triple-A Albuquerque affiliate the past two years, recently signed a two-year deal with the Dodgers to be on the Major League coaching staff. The deal allows him to interview for managing jobs with a limited number of teams.
The Brewers were one of those teams. Toronto was refused permission to interview Wallach for its manager's job because the Blue Jays are not on the list of teams Wallach submitted. He said he is "not interviewing anymore."
Wallach, who was the Dodgers' big league batting coach from 2004-05, is likely to be the third-base coach, replacing Larry Bowa. Former Kansas City manager Trey Hillman is expected to be bench coach after Bob Schaefer told Mattingly he would not return.
Jeff Pentland, Chili Davis and Manny Mota are expected to handle hitting-coach duties with Rick Honeycutt returning as pitching coach. Ken Howell will return as bullpen coach.
The decision on first-base coach is not clear. Mariano Duncan, after five years at the spot, was told he could look for a Major League job elsewhere, but club officials would not rule out the possibility of Duncan returning. He recently underwent surgery on his Achilles tendon.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Parra has surgery to repair labral tear in left hip

Brewers left-hander Manny Parra underwent surgery on Thursday to repair a small labral tear in his left hip.
Doctor William Raasch performed the operation in Milwaukee. Parra is to rehab from his home in Roseville, Calif., and is expected to be ready for Spring Training.
Parra went 3-10 with a 5.02 ERA in a career-high 42 appearances this season, 16 of them starts. He didn't allow a run over his final nine appearances.
Parra turns 28 later this month.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Dale Sveum to be hitting coach in 2011, sources confirm

The Brewers don't have a new manager yet, but they do have a hitting coach.
Dale Sveum told Milwaukee's 1250-AM WSSP on Saturday that he had agreed to a two-year contract to return as hitting coach, a position he's held since the start of 2009. Sveum's status with the team was in limbo while he interviewed for the Pirates' managerial opening.
The Brewers confirmed Sveum's extension on Saturday night.
"I was informed last night by the Pirates that I won't be considered for their job, so that was a little disappointing," Sveum told the radio station. "But on the good side, I am coming back as the hitting instructor for the Brewers for the next two years. So that's good.
"I love Milwaukee, and hopefully we can get a manager in here pretty quick and can get that sealed and done and we can get back to playing some real aggressive-type baseball, the way our players really want to play -- get back to running the bases and doing some things."
That last comment was a bit of a critique of former Brewers manager Ken Macha, who took more of a station-to-station approach over the past two seasons and was formally let go on Oct. 4.
Sveum and Macha had an interesting relationship because they both interviewed for Milwaukee's managerial opening following the 2008 season. Sveum finished that year as the Brewers' interim manager but Macha got the full-time job. Sveum, who had previously served as the bench coach, agreed to stay on as hitting coach.
Sveum expressed interest in the managerial post again this fall but was not a candidate. Brewers general manager Doug Melvin is currently preparing for second interviews with four candidates.
The Brewers have yet to announce any of the 2011 coaching assignments, and probably will not do so until a new manager is named. But Sveum appears set for the next two years, and pitching coach Rick Peterson has a year left on his contract.
"We are glad to have Dale returning," Melvin said in a statement from the Brewers. "His work ethic and passion for the role he has with our hitters has not gone unnoticed. The managers we have interviewed also recognize what Dale has accomplished with our hitters."
Sveum, 46, has been on the coaching staff since 2006. He served as third-base coach ('06 and '08) and bench coach ('07) before he was named hitting coach on Nov. 4, 2008.
Brewers hitters ranked among the top five in the National League during the 2010 season in home runs (second, 182), slugging percentage (third, .424), runs (fourth, 750), batting average (fourth, .262), on-base percentage (fourth, .335) and walks (fifth, 546).

Doug Melvin narrows down search for Managerial spot

Brewers general manager Doug Melvin told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Thursday that he had interviewed eight managerial candidates and was poised to conduct second interviews with four of them in the coming days.
On Saturday, identified two of the finalists as Mets scout Bob Melvin and White Sox bench coach Joey Cora. Another candidate, Pat Listach, told the Journal Sentinel that he had been informed he is not a finalist.
Doug Melvin has been keeping the process under wraps and has declined to name any of his candidates since dismissing manager Ken Macha on the Monday after the end of the season. Besides Bob Melvin, Cora and Listach, other candidates linked to the Brewers in the press include Angels coach Ron Roenicke, Dodgers coach Tim Wallach and former Indians manager Eric Wedge.
Doug Melvin interviewed Wedge before he was hired by the Mariners.
"There are a lot of qualified people out there, guys with Major League experience and some without Major League experience," Melvin told the newspaper.
Melvin told the Journal Sentinel that the process would last another 7-10 days, but would not say whether he had requested permission from Major League Baseball to make an announcement before the end of the World Series. He was not considering any coaches involved with the four teams still alive in the postseason as of Thursday.

Letters to Doug Melvin: Why Brewers Should Pull the Trigger on Felix Hernandez

The time is right; the demand is optimum.
With the apparent need for pitching in the Brew City already amassing to an extraordinary level this offseason, GM Doug Melvin needs to pull the trigger on a premier pitcher worthy of complementing an already explosive offense.
Although Yovani Gallardo is and will be the face of this Brewers pitching staff for many years to come, the need for a second "ace" is absolutely necessary. Fans (like myself) are sick and tired of the same expectations on a year-to-year basis for this pitching staff.
Signing Doug Davis only amounted to a pathetic injury that ended up costing the Brewers so many valuable dollars the Brewers could have used elsewhere.
On the other hand, stud RHP Felix Hernandez's status with the Mariners this offseason has already begun to stir questions and uncertainty within the organization.
Now is the perfect time for Melvin to step up and get this deal done. 
Trading Prince Fielder for Hernandez just makes sense in every fashion. Fielder isn't a free agent yet, and Melvin has vowed not to look into the free-agent market for possible starting pitching.
Hernandez also isn't a free agent. With a 2010 salary of $7.2 million, Hernandez is the perfect fit for a trade involving Fielder.
This is the crucial time when Melvin needs to step up and make a deal. Otherwise, Brewers fans will eventually be fed up with the nonsense (I'm almost at this point).Think about it: Seattle has no talent at the 1B position, and the Mariners are more than capable of picking up Fielder's $11 million salary.
King Felix's stuff is a once in a lifetime talent, and the possibility of that talent being brought to Milwaukee is a superb upgrade that would rejuvenate the outlook on the Brewers.
What's not to love about receiving a Cy Young-type pitcher, along with lowering the payout to the current players? Nothing.
If traded, Fielder would put an immediate "face" to the franchise, allowing Mariners fans to have something to actually cheer for.
We all know that a pitching staff consisting of aging vets such as Dave Bush, Randy Wolf and Chris Capuano isn't what wins championships. Winning was never about sitting back and observing. How do you think the Yankees amounted to the league's most storied franchise? I'll tell you why: because they took chances.
Felix is clearly the front runner for the AL Cy Young Award (13-12, 2.27 ERA, 232 SO, 1.06 WHIP) for his overall performance on a team that doesn't know how to hit the ball. Seattle scored 513 runs this past season, embarrassing enough to be called the worst team at producing runs.
Last season, Milwaukee was second in the NL in HR (182), third in slugging percentage (.424), second in hits (1,471) and fourth in runs scored (750).
Milwaukee is clearly capable of putting runs on the board for Hernandez, who received the worst run support in MLB.
Nonetheless, the city of Milwaukee needs a World Series title. Trading for Hernandez is the best possible move out there for the Brewers this offseason.