Could Melvin and Yost be thinking “Lucky 13?”

Brewers’ GM Doug Melvin has been trying to deal one of his extra starting pitchers for a solid, everyday, preferably left-handed hitting outfielder. Tom Haudricourt, of JSOnline.com, in his blog, quoted Melvin as saying the Brewers are content with their existing personnel. If so, then the Brewers would go into Opening Day with 13 pitchers: Sheets, Suppan, Gallardo, Capuano, and Vargas as the starting rotation; Gagné, Turnbow, Riske, Torres, Mota, Villanueva, Bush and Shouse in the bullpen…with Parra starting the year in Nashville. This, of course, would only leave 12 position players–and only 4 pinch-hitters off the bench: the backup catcher–either Munson or Rivera–Craig Counsell, IF/OF Joe Dillon, and the non-starter among Tony Gwynn, Jr. and Gabe Gross. This may work, at least in the short-term, as Yost could platoon the right-handed hitting Dillon and either the Gwynn or Gross as the third outfielder, while Dillon could also fill-in as a backup corner infielder. If Rivera is the backup catcher, the Brewers would have 2 right-handed and 2 left-handed pinch hitters against right-handed starters, but 1 right-handed and 3 left-handed pinch hitters versus southpaws. If Munson makes the squad, then the mix would be 1 right-handed and 3 left-handed hitters vs. righties, but 0 righties and 4 lefties vs. southpaws (as Dillon would start in the OF, making the bench Munson, Counsell, Gwynn, and Gross–all lefties). Tony Graffanino or even Hernan Iribarren could be added in May or June, if necessary, to replace a struggling or injured pitcher. Graffanino, based on his experience in the outfield, may have a slight edge, assuming his rehab goes as planned. Was the Brewers’ pitching so erratic last year that a 13-man staff is warranted?

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