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Tag:Zack Greinke
Posted on: March 13, 2011 4:10 pm
 

Astros' Rodriguez sidelined

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Wandy RodriguezAnother day, another injury to a National League Central starter.

Sunday's victim is Astros left-hander Wandy Rodriguez, who was diagnosed with what the team is calling "a mild case of shoulder tendinitis."

Rodriguez has been scratched from his start on Tuesday. He singed a three-year, $34 million contract this offseason, avoiding arbitration. He was 11-12 with a 3.60 ERA last season.

Rodriguez joined Adam Wainwright of the Cardinals, Zack Greinke of the Brewers and Johnny Cueto of the Reds as NL Central starters to miss at least part of the spring with injuries. Wainwright is out for the season, Greinke will miss the beginning of the season, while there's no timetable yet for Cueto or Rodriguez.

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Posted on: March 10, 2011 1:29 pm
 

Gallardo named Brewers' opening day starter

By C. Trent Rosecrans

In what would have been an upset a couple of weeks ago, but was now a foregone conclusion, Brewers manager Ron Roenicke officially named Yovani Gallardo his opening day starter.

Yovani Gallardo"With [Zack] Greinke and Gallardo, if you look at their last three years, they're both No. 1 [pitchers]," Roenicke told reporters Thursday morning (via the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel). "Gallardo is also our ace."

The Brewers will follow Gallardo, 25, with Shaun Marcum, Randy Wolf and Chris Narveson. The fifth starter spot is still undecided. Because of an off day in Cincinnati the day after the opener, the Brewers could have Gallardo pitch again on regular rest instead of using a fifth starter.

"We may wait and see what Yovani does in the opener," Roenicke said.

Narveson is scheduled to start the home opener on April 4 against the Braves.

While Gallardo doesn't have the name recognition of Greinke, he's a quality starter and has done plenty on his own to earn the opening day nod on his own merit. An All-Star last season, Gallardo started on opening day last season for the Brewers, going 14-7 on the season with a 3.84 ERA. He recorded 200 strikeouts in 185 innings. His xFIP (fielding independent pitching, normalized for park factors) last season was 3.42 last season. Greinke was 10-14 with a 4.17 ERA last season, along with an xFIP of 3.76.

Gallardo lost his opening day assignment last season, but was matched up against Ubaldo Jimenez of the Rockies. Gallardo did struggle last season against the Reds, going 0-2 with a 9.22 ERA in three starts against the NL Central champs. Greinke faced the Reds once and threw a complete-game five-hitter in a  win.

Gallardo will face off against Cincinnati's Edinson Volquez in the opener at Great American Ball Park.

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Posted on: March 9, 2011 3:08 pm
Edited on: March 9, 2011 3:08 pm
 

Rogers could be Greinke replacement

By Evan Brunell

RogersDespite being slowed by shoulder tightness, Brewers manager Ron Roenicke believes Mark Rogers a candidate to replace Zack Greinke in the rotation, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports.

The right-hander has yet to pitch in a game in spring training, but that could come as soon as this weekend. Rogers was picked with the No. 5 overall pick back in 2005, has been set back by two shoulder surgeries. The first came in January 2007 when he needed his right labrum repaired in the shoulder. A year and a half later, Rogers underwent surgery again to clean up scar tissue. That caused him to miss all of 2007 and 2008, but he returned in 2009 with a sterling campaign, albeit at high-Class A.

Rogers took another step forward in 2010 as a 24-year-old, making 24 starts at Double-A with a 3.71 ERA. He also made one start in Triple-A and then was called up to the majors where he contributed 10 innings, coughing up just two earned runs and three walks against 11 strikeouts. Rogers' injury is still enough of a concern that his future is considered to be a reliever, but it's too early to make that permanent switch, as his talent is still high despite struggling with control as his 5.6 BB/9 mark in the minors last season indicates.

Related

The Brewers have virtually no depth behind the front five for the rotation, partly a casualty of all the money and players invested in Greinke and fellow newcomer Shaun Marcum. Rogers, along with Manny Parra, should be considered the front-runners to replace Greinke. Parra is a failed starter who profiles better in the bullpen, but could be asked to fill in until Greinke returns. Past that, the Brewers could ask 21-year-old Wily Peralta to fill in, but he has just eight starts in Double-A as his highest level reached.

Amaury Rivas is a better bet as the 25-year-old posted a 3.37 ERA in 25 starts for Double-A last season. Still, the choices here are lacking. Milwaukee will certainly be on the prowl for starters that become available later on in spring training, but don't expect a deal for someone like Kevin Slowey. After all, whoever the Brewers acquire will be bumped from the rotation upon Greinke's arrival. That limits the Brewers to internal options who either have options or would move to the bullpen or externally, those Milwaukee wouldn't mind parting with after only a few starts.

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Posted on: March 8, 2011 9:47 pm
Edited on: March 8, 2011 9:54 pm
 

3 up, 3 down for 3/8: End of line for Ollie?

BeckhamBy Evan Brunell

3 UP

1. SP Kyle Davies, KC: 3 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K. An impressive outing for Davies, who lowered his spring ERA to 2.57. This from a guy with a career 5.49 ERA, but he's just 27. The Royals could really use a leap ahead by Davies, as the rotation looks downright frightful in what is going to be a very long season for Royals fans as they await the new guard. In the same game, Dontrelle Willis hurled two perfect innings and is shaping up nicely to claim a spot in the Reds' bullpen.

2. CF Chris Young, ARI: 4 AB, 2 R, 2 H, 4 RBI, 1 HR. Young has 30-homer power, but has yet to truly break out into being a star. He doesn't necessarily need to to provide value to the Diamondbacks, especially given his strong defense, but what's holding him back is batting average with a career .241 mark. Even after Tuesday's explosion with a two-run homer, Young's at a .250 batting average. He is what he is at this point in his career, and as long as he keeps boppin' them homers, he'll do just fine.

3. 2B Gordon Beckham, CHW: 4 AB, 1 R, 3 H, 1 RBI. Great day for Beckham, who is now batting .412 on spring training. Beckham got 2010 off to a brutal start before recovering down the stretch, but his season was already ruined statistically. A great sleeper as someone who could break out into a star.

3 DOWN

1. SP Zack Greinke, MIL. The Brewers' new ace will have to wait to make his debut, as bruised and fractured ribs will sideline Greinke for the first couple weeks of the season, if not longer. Milwaukee should be very concerned about its depth, of which it has none to replace Greinke. Manny Parra is a failed starter, and going with Mark Rogers is fraught with risk. By the way, in Tuesday's game, Brewers third baseman Casey McGehee took exception to the Dodgers' Roman Colon fist-pumping after a strikeout. Benches cleared, but no punches were thrown.

2. SP Oliver Perez, NYM: 3 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 1 K. Perez had two scoreless innings to finish his outing, but that underscores how bad he got the first inning started by allowing the first four batters to reach. This figures to be the end of the line for the experiment doomed to fail with Ollie as starting pitcher. Never fear, Perez fans: the Mets will continue to give lip service toward the lefty making the team as a reliever. 

3. SP Brandon Dickson, STL: 3 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 2 K. Dickson can't be too pleased with this outing as there's a job up for grabs that he's in the running for: Adam Wainwright's replacement. The righty is battling with several other candidates, but there are no clear-cut ones, so every outing counts, even if people are still working out the kinks this early in the spring training schedule.

HONORABLE MENTION

Brian Wilson, for making his beard even more legen -- wait for it -- dary, courtesy MLB.com.

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Posted on: March 8, 2011 6:05 pm
Edited on: March 8, 2011 8:40 pm
 

Greinke out for beginning of season

By Evan Brunell

GreinkeSlated to be the Brewers' Opening Day ace, Zack Greinke will instead miss the beginning of the season after a MRI revealed a bruised rib and hairline fracture, which the right-hander said was suffered while playing basketball.

"I've been [playing basketball] for a couple of years now and people always said, 'You're going to get hurt,'" Greinke told reporters at the Brewers' spring-training complex. "It finally caught up to me, playing basketball. I was going up for a rebound and fell on the side. I was hoping it was just bruised. I had a lot of fun doing it, but it wasn't worth it."

Greinke is expected to miss the first few weeks of the season -- about three starts worth. That's a rather optimistic prognosis, as the bone will take four to six weeks to heal, with two weeks already out of the way. Four weeks from March 8 is April 5, otherwise known as the day before Greinke's slated second start of the year. 

Ah, but then factor in needing to build his arm back up and throw some simulated games  -- if not rehab starts in the minors -- and Greinke could be out a lot longer. CBSSports.com's Scott Miller pegs a full month of missed time as a realistic target.

"He won't be ready for Opening Day," manager Ron Roenicke said. "How far we go past that, we don't know. He'll have one week with no throwing. Then, they maybe he can play some catch. We want to make sure we get him 100 percent. That's what we're going to do."

Anyone remember how much Jacoby Ellsbury struggled to return from hairline fractures in his ribs? Ellsbury appeared in just six games prior to the injury and then 12 the rest of the way. Even Jeremy Hermida, who suffered a similar injury with Boston but to a lesser extent, missed more time than originally anticipated. Add in how much torque and rotation is heaped upon the upper body of a starting pitcher, and the outlook isn't so rosy for Greinke.

Related

In the righty's favor is that part of the injury is simply a bruised rib, which heals a lot faster than fractures. But even if Greinke has just one hairline fracture, that doesn't mean much. After all, Ellsbury had four hairline fractures while Hermida had five, and he missed 47 total days as compared to Ellsbury's 172 days.

"Until the bone heals, there's nothing you can really do except make it worse," Greinke added. "You've just got to let it heal. I'm just going to try to get back as fast as possible, healthy and ready to pitch."

Greinke got spring training off to a poor start before the injury was discovered. In his first start over 1 2/3 innings, he walked three, then followed it up with five hits allowed in two innings Sunday.

Now, the Brewers will have to scramble to find a replacement with no overwhelming candidates to fill Greinke's spot. The Brewers have a few internal candidates, but Milwaukee may opt to scour the waiver wire later on in spring training in the hopes of finding a capable replacement. Manny Parra has proven his inability to start, while Mark Rogers is unproven and may be a better fit for the bullpen.

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Posted on: March 7, 2011 11:01 pm
 

Getting to know the Brewers

By Matt Snyder

TEAM MVP

Making the trade for Zack Greinke was big for the Brewers, but it didn't necessarily mean Greinke himself automatically became the most valuable player for the Brewers. It allowed Yovani Gallardo to move down to the two-slot in the rotation and -- when teamed with the acquisition of Shaun Marcum -- slotted Randy Wolf as the No. 4. That whole chain of events is huge. In terms of the position players, Prince Fielder is a monster bat in the middle of the order, but the heart and soul of the Brewers is Ryan Braun. The 27 year old rarely misses games or makes errors in the outfield. He's a clubhouse leader and is underpaid, comparing him to other perennial All-Stars, but content to stay with the Brewers and concentrate on winning. Oh, he also has a career 140 OPS-plus, which is outstanding, and steals 16 bases a year. For these reasons and many more, the MVP of the Brewers is easily Braun.

PLAYER ORACLE -- Teddy Higuera to Zack Greinke

Teddy Higuera played with Paul Molitor on the 1985 Milwaukee Brewers

Paul Molitor played with Denny Hocking on the 1998 Minnesota Twins

Denny Hocking played with Zack Greinke on the 2005 Kansas City Royals

POP CULTURE

In 2007, J.J. Hardy, Chris Capuano, Bill Hall and Jeff Suppan appeared on an episode of the "Young and the Restless." At the time the Brewers were in first place and the woman in the clip plays a rather enthusiastic fan of the four players. A few of the highlights she mentions were a stretch (Capuano as one of the best left-handed starters in the league? Really?), so maybe it's no surprise none of the four are still in Milwaukee. Seriously, weren't Braun and Fielder available?



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Posted on: February 23, 2011 2:35 pm
Edited on: February 23, 2011 4:21 pm
 

Greinke admits dogging it with Royals

Greinke

In a wide-ranging interview with the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Zack Greinke admitted he "just did what he was asked" the second half of 2010 for the Royals, a tacit admission he wasn't invested in his or the team's production.

"When the games started, I pitched 100% every time," he said. "But in the second half, I just did what was asked."

Why?

"Close to the trade deadline and I was doing all this stuff, the organization wasn’t really doing the same effort. They were doing the same effort the long run but not for that season or the next season. It’s not easy to play 162 games and be focused the whole time. It takes a lot out of you."

No one's denying that it's difficult to be focused for 162 games. After all, it's a marathon, not a sprint. But to admit that he didn't do all that he could have done in the second half is not just a disservice to himself, but a disservice to the game. His frustration doesn't appear to stem from the way the Royals did business -- just how they were approaching the season, which speaks to Greinke's personal motivations.

"They’re probably No. 1 in prospects in all of baseball," he said. (In fact, they are No. 1, and by far.) "When your prospects are that good, it’s hard to ignore it. It had to almost change the path of the organization."

That's exactly what happened in K.C., as the Royals are preparing for a brutal season this year, all in the name of working in their top players over the year and into 2012. That doesn't give Greinke license to take the year off, however. And looking at his first- and second-half splits, it's easy to see the difference. In 18 starts prior to the All-Star break, Greinke posted a 3.71 ERA, whiffing 101 and walking just 22. That's not close to his 2009 AL Cy Young Award season, but still a darn good pitcher.

The second half, however, saw his ERA spike to 4.72 in 15 starts, punching out 80 and walking 33. While his strikeout rate only dipped 0.8 points, his walk rate ballooned. So the statistics back up Greinke's claim that he didn't do above and beyond what was asked of him (which was simply to take the ball every fifth day). 

And yeah, even though the Royals weren't -- and didn't -- win, you don't get paid $7.25 million to jake it.

The Royals may not have put a winning team around Greinke, but to repay this way K.C. for the hoops it jumped through to make sure Greinke got the treatment and time needed to deal with his social anxiety disorder is disturbing. Then-GM Allard Baird was tireless in defending Greinke for walking out as one of the best pitching prospects that had come along in quite a long time. To hear Greinke tell it, he could have sworn he was done with baseball.

Greinke"I was done playing [in my mind]," he said. "I was surprised I came back. They had me see a psychologist. We found out what was going on and why I didn’t like going on a baseball field. I thought it was a 10 percent chance of coming back."

Now that he's admitted how he dogged the second half of the year, it will be a reputation that ends up following him for the rest of his career. Now, teams know to keep him happy and keep the team winning, or he'll check out. And that's not a reputation you want, especially when the team already has to manage keeping him happy, which is clearly difficult to do. 

And what happens if Milwaukee fails after the year? They gave up major pieces of their future to get Greinke, expecting him to pitch at the top of his level for at least the two years he is under contract. But this is a team going for it this year, with Prince Fielder as a free agent. Although Grienke says he expects the Brewers to win beyond 2011, Fielder or not... what happens if they don't win? Does Greinke check out?

As a Brewer, he's been pleased with how camp has gone so far, saying he has fit in easily. But then you hear this: "I like a lot of the guys. I haven't seen anyone yet that's annoying to me. They've all been good."

Now, it's very difficult to judge Greinke for this particular bit, as the fact remains that he has social anxiety disorder and it clearly affects him, and those that don't suffer from it can never truly know what it is like. Still, it's notable that he looks out for people that could be "annoying" -- and given his social anxiety disorder, he could find simple chit-chat annoying. That appears to be why he dislikes talking to the media, because of all the "eyewash comments" he gets when "random people come and waste my time talking every day. It takes eight minutes to get a real question out because they’re like buttering me up," Greinke says. "Then they get to the question and it’s a stupid question. So it’s a waste of 10 minutes, and in that 10-minute time I don’t get to do what I needed to do."

Except that's a cop-out, right? After all, Greinke had plenty of time for the media last year given he wasn't preparing to pitch after the All-Star break.

"To talk to people, I have to spend energy talking to them," he said. "If I expend my energy on talking to people and making friends, it takes away from the energy I could focus on getting ready to pitch. I try to avoid nonsense talk."

Greinke clearly views communicating with people as an expense, and he admits it affects him in meetings with the team or the daily pitcher/catcher meetings prior to each game.

"It wears me out to do stuff like our meetings every day," Greinke admitted. "If I actually listen to the person talking, it’ll wear me out. So I kind of go into a little daze. Then I’m still refreshed from it."

Give Greinke credit for this: he's honest, and he's not afraid to show how he feels. This allows us to understand where he's coming from. It can't be easy to suffer from social anxiety disorder and play a profession that demands constant interaction.

Openly admitting not giving his all, however, is unacceptable no matter the circumstances.

UPDATE: This is important -- Tom Haudricourt wrote a follow-up article later Wednesday that made clear that none of the reporters sensed any "malice" on Greinke's part with regards to the comment about annoyance and the media. "These are simply the daily demons that he deals with," Haudricourt writes.

Let's be clear about one thing. I certainly wish no malice on Greinke's part. In fact, I find it impressive and commendable how far he has come and how successfully he has managed his disorder.

It remains no excuse for dogging it. And Greinke clearly stated that he did. 

-- Evan Brunell

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Category: MLB
Posted on: January 25, 2011 10:51 pm
Edited on: January 25, 2011 11:14 pm
 

Trout leads MLB.com's prospect list

Mike Trout MLB.com unveiled its Top 50 prospect list in a special on MLB Network with Angels outfielder Mike Trout, pictured, leading the list -- you can see the entire list here , plus video highlights for each player.

It's no surprise Trout led the list and even less of a surprise that the Royals had six prospects in the top 50, more than any other team. Tampa Bay had four, while the Braves, Reds, Rockies, Yankees, Mariners and Blue Jays had three prospects on the lsit.

Four teams -- the Mets, Marlins, Brewers and A's -- weren't represented, while 14 teams had one player on the list.

Jake Odorizzi, the right-hander sent to Kansas City in exchange for Zack Greinke, was No. 37 on the list, while Chris Archer, who was sent from the Cubs to the Rays in the Matt Garza deal, was ranked No. 47. Casey Kelly, one of the prospects sent from the Red Sox to the Padres in the Adrian Gonzalez deal, was ranked No. 22.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com