Some clues in today’s line-up

Saturday’s line-up against Jake Peavy and the Padres had some hints of things to come a week from Monday:
1. Cappy got the nod…with an every 5th day start, he’d get one more warm-up next Thursday, making him eligible to start the season as the #2 starter a week from Tuesday.
2. Damian Miller was behind the plate…could be just to get him more work, but also to see if having Miller call Cappy might be the route to go–Cappy only allowed 2 ER over 5 IP (plus 4 batters in the 6th); it would seem that Estrada will be catching Sheets (as he’s the #1 guy); Vargas (as Estrada caught him last year) and probably Suppan (due to the investment and Miller has no advantage in catching Soupy). Bush was successful last season with Miller, so his catcher is likely TBD as well.
3. Weeks and Hardy were 1 and 2 in the batting order, as projected for the start of the regular season; Gross was put in the #3 spot and started in RF, probably to get Gross some more reps and give Hart a day off. Hall batted clean-up, as expected for the regular season, and Jenkins was in the 5-hole, suggesting that Jenkins recent success may lead to a higher spot during the regular season, at least against righties.
4. Mike Rivera was at first, suggesting that Rivera could make the Opening Day roster as a C/1B, now that Closser is a lock to make the Nashville roster. Either Rivera or Vinny Rottino could start the season as the sixth IF, as #5 starter Claudio Vargas can be used as a reliever until the start of the Cubs’ series on Friday…then get sent down for another middle reliever. Chris Spurling, who had a few appearances with the Brewers late last season, could start in Nashville, then join the Brewers at the end of the first week. Why not Jackson or Villanueva? Everything I’ve read is that Doug Melvin and Gord Ash still want both of these guys developed as starters, and having them sit on the bench to pitch an inning every other day won’t help their development. If so, then the Nashville rotation becomes an issue, as Dennis Sarfate, Ben Hendrickson, and Yovani Gallardo are also starters for the Sounds at this point–one of them with have to be the #5 starter, pitching less frequently that the other four…and, at this point, Sarfate, Gallardo, Jackson, and Villanueva still have solid shots at earning a spot in Milwaukee’s rotation…Hendrickson, at this point, might be turned into a reliever/part-time starter.
David Hannes
Copyright 2007

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