Through Sunday, March 15, Chris Duffy leads all Brewers’ players in Cactus League AB’s with 40…partly due to regular center fielder Mike Cameron pulling a rib muscle last Wednesday. Duffy, however, has done his job, hitting .325, and leading the Crew in RBI’s as well with 8.
Speaking of injuries, Ryan Braun left Team USA’s game against the Netherlands on Sunday…also with a pain in his side. All indications are that he is fine…but if the Crew goes precautionary, Duffy will get more opportunities to show his stuff.
Good news on the injury front–Bill Hall has returned to action, going 1-for-3 against the Dodgers on Saturday, including a stolen base. That means Hall, barring a setback, is in line to face Tim Lincecum in the Brewers’ opener on April 7…unless Macha goes to a platoon right away. To do so, he’d need to keep lefty Mike Lamb–who is 6-for-30, .200, in Cactus League play over righty Casey McGehee, who is 12-for-30, .400, so far in Arizona play. Of course, there is always Craig Counsell, a lefty, who is 13-for-26, .500, so far this spring. Neither McGehee nor Counsell has fanned yet in Cactus League play, while Lamb has struck out 6 times.
On the mound, Jeff Suppan and Yovani Gallardo have now made 4 starts apiece…with Suppan compiling a 7.36 ERA over 11 innings versus Gallardo’s 5.19 mark over 8.7 IP. Dave Bush and Manny Parra have eached made 3 starts, each pitched 10 innings, and each have 2.70 ERA’s in Arizona, making Ken Macha’s rotation decision harder by the day. Macha could, theoretically set the rotation so Gallardo is the #4 starter, and would get the home opener start against division rival Chicago. Macha will realize that the Cubs’ game follows a night game on the west coast, so there would be a chance that the bullpen could be sparse for the first game against Chicago, as anyone who pitches on Thursday night would be pitching on less than 24 hours rest after a long flight home.
Braden Looper has yet to take the mound for the Crew in Arizona, which would likely push him back in the rotation. Seth McClung and his 11.57 ERA this spring could lead to Mark DiFelice getting the #5 spot. DiFelice, fresh off his World Baseball Classic stint with the Italians, is maintaining his 0.00 ERA, with no walks over 5 IP in Cactus League action.
The next few weeks should prove to be very interesting and will no doubt help new skipper Ken Macha determine his 25-man roster.