Marcum Good, But Uecker Shines in Spring Opener

The Brewers went 1-1 in spring training games today, but that’s not what’s really important. The biggest news of the day came as the first pitches were being thrown — Corey Hart went from needing a couple days to heal his oblique strain to needing a couple weeks. That’s two members of the starting lineup that will now need to miss significant time this spring.

You know how some were still being cautious with their optimism for this season because of depth concerns? Now you can see why. Unlike Jonathan Lucroy, Hart should be back in the lineup in plenty of time for Opening Day, but losing two weeks’ worth of at-bats could mean it takes a little while longer for him to shake off the rust.

On the field today, the game against San Francisco got most of the attention, and for good reason.

New starter Shaun Marcum pitched two innings — typical for a first spring start — and threw nearly every pitch around the strike zone. A total of 16 of his 17 pitches were for strikes, and he struck out three without walking a batter. Marcum’s going to be efficient with his pitches all year, but to be this sharp this early in camp was a nice surprise.

San Francisco starter Barry Zito struggled to find the strike zone, so it’s hard to get a grip on the progress of the Brewers’ bats, but at least they were able to draw five walks. Rickie Weeks drew two walks, and both times he was able to go first-to-third on singles (hit by Yuniesky Betancourt and Jeremy Reed, respectively). It was a little thing, but perhaps it’s already a sign of Ron Roenicke’s more aggressive approach coming up.

For the most part, though, the best part of the day was just having Uecker and Provus back on the radio (although beating the Cubs is always nice, too). Some of the best lines from Ueck over the course of the afternoon:

On Pablo Sandoval losing 38 pounds in the offseason: “There are some taco stands in San Francisco going out of business.”

After Marcum made Sandoval look silly on a swinging K: “He’ll have to go back to the taco stands.”

On using the DH today (deadpan): “It’s a National League game, but they can do whatever they want in Spring Training.”

After Zito tried to pick off Rickie Weeks at first: “That’s about the best pitch he’s thrown today. An 83 mph fastball to first.”

After listing a slew of substitutions in the middle innings: “In case you score with us…you shouldn’t.”

After Cory got him worked up: “I shouldn’t get upset. I’m on medication.”

On the Giants’ eccentric closer: “Last thing I heard about Brian Wilson was that he was at a party at Charlie Sheen’s house. True story.”

During the late innings: “How many of you know Jennie Finch? I do. Wish I knew her better.” Provus laughs so hard you can almost hear him fall out of his chair.

In the bottom of the 9th: “Here’s Goldie Hawn’s son, Cody.”

It doesn’t matter if highs in Wisconsin are barely cracking 30 and there’s still snow in the forecast — Bob Uecker on the radio means it’s officially spring.

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