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7462
MDR Blog - 7/27
07-27-2014
07:57 AM ET (US)
Aramis Ramirez doesn’t consider himself an “elder statesman” or “role model” for the younger Brewers, especially his fellow Dominicans Carlos Gomez, Jean Segura and Wily Peralta.

At 36, however, the veteran third baseman is looked to for leadership by the younger players, as well as for his production over 14 years in the big leagues.

“He’s been doing it for a long time,” said Gomez this spring. “You have to look up to him and learn from him.”

Ramirez says, “I don’t see myself that way. I just try to come here every day and do what I can to help my team win. I had some guys who really helped me when I first came up (with Pittsburgh in 1998) and showed me some of the differences between the big leagues and the minors.

“I will help them in that way. If they are doing something I think they shouldn’t, I’ll talk to them. I’m not a real vocal guy though. I’m not going to get on a guy’s case. I like to lead by example.”

Ramirez has been doing that, first with the Pirates, then the Cubs and now since 2011 with the Brewers. Going into this season, he had a .285 lifetime average with 354 home runs and 1,276 RBIs.

He’s had an All Star year this season. In fact, fans voted him to the National League All Star team as the starting third baseman.

“That was an honor,” Ramirez said. “I’ve been an All Star before, but to be voted in by the fans was something special.”

Ramirez had two hits in the game, as did Jonathan Lucroy, who started at catcher for the NL. “I think as a group we represented the team well,” Ramirez said.

For a full feature on Ramirez, check out an upcoming edition of Game Day, the Brewers’ program.

White Sox-Twins series

The Twins will try to avoid a sweep by the White Sox later today.

In the series opener on Thursday, Hector Noesi pitched shutout ball into the eighth inning and Adam Eaton had three hits and two RBIs as the White Sox defeated the Twins, 5-2, at Target Field.

The Sox beat the Twins, 9-5, on Friday night as Jose Abreu hit his 30th homer, Dayan Viciedo had four hits and John Danks pitched well.

Chris Sale improved his record to 10-1 with a 7-0 shutout on Saturday. Alexei Ramirez hit his 10th homer.

Player of the Week

The White Sox’s Jose Abreu hit his MLB-leading 30th homer on Friday and extended his hitting streak to 16 games on Saturday. In his last 35 games, Abreu has been held hitless only once. For these facts, he is the MDR Player of the Week.

Other MDR teams’ Players of the Week included:

** the Brewers’ Jonathan Lucroy, who hit two homers, including a walkoff game-winner on Tuesday night, and became a main cog in the offense once again.

** the Cubs’ LHP Travis Wood hit his third homer of the season and is tied for the most among MLB pitchers. He also has 10 RBIs, making him the first Cubs’ pitcher to hit double figures since Carlos Zambrano had 11 in 2009.

** the Twins’ Danny Santana, who brought a five-game hitting streak into Saturday, including a three-hit game against the Indians on Thursday.

Updated Notes

Brewers

** 1B Mark Reynolds, who had not hit a homer for a month, hit his third in a week on Saturday.

** RHP Yovani Gallardo allowed just four hits over 7 2/3 scoreless innings Friday, but again failed to get a win after closer Francisco Rodriguez blew a save. Gallardo has not won since June 19, a span of six starts.

** 2B Scooter Gennett, who has battled a quad problem lately, was expected to start Sunday.

Cubs

** RHP Jake Arrieta posted his ninth straight quality start Saturday, but the Cubs lost to the Cardinals.

** OF Ryan Sweeney drove in four runs Friday, including three on his second homer of the season. Sweeney also homered Saturday.

** The Cubs have attempted to deal starter Edwin Jackson, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, but initial efforts have not been promising. Jackson, signed before the 2013 season, is playing on a $11MM annual salary this year and is owed the same amount for each of the next two campaigns.

Twins

** The Twins dealt 1B/DH Kendrys Morales last week because the veteran had not been productive since he was signed earlier this summer.

** An event honoring former Twin Chuck Knoblauch was cancelled after he was arrested for assault on his ex-wife.

** 1B Joe Mauer has been hitting some soft toss, but not live pitching yet as he comes back from a strained right oblique.

White Sox

** The Sox have had 42 hits in the last three games.

** LHP John Danks gave up four earned runs on six hits, walking nobody and striking out five to reach nine wins for the first time since 2010

** White Sox starters as a group have the second-best ERA in the American League since June 23.

Henderson Bobbler On DL

Milwaukee Brewers reliever Jim Henderson is on the disabled list, and so is the truck delivering his bobblehead.

Today is the "All Fan Jim Henderson Bobblehead Day," but due to mechanical issues, the truck may not arrive in time for the items to be distributed. If the items are delayed further, fans will need to hold on to their ticket stub to pick up their bobblehead on a later date. Specifics on the delayed distribution will be announced today, if necessary.

"We are hopeful that the Bobbleheads will arrive in time, but we wanted to communicate in advance the issues with the transportation so that fans are prepared when they arrive at the game tomorrow," said Brewers Chief Operating Officer Rick Schlesinger. "We appreciate everyone's patience and apologize on behalf of the transportation personnel who are bringing the Bobbleheads to Milwaukee."

Elsewhere in Baseball

Viroqua’s Mitch Stalsberg struck out 18 in a perfect game, 2-0, win over Westby in regional action of the state American Legion tournment. The lefthander, who will attend Winona State, is the same guy who struck out 21 in a state prep tournament game this spring.

What’s Ahead

MDR will be well-represented later today when the Hall of Fame induction ceremony is held in Cooperstown. Greg Maddux, Frank Thomas, Tony La Russa, Bobby Cox and Joe Torre all have ties to teams covered by the MDR web site for nine years and now the MDR Blog. You can watch coverage of the inductions on MLB Network and MLB.com.

Next weekend, the White Sox and Twins will do it all over again at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago, with a three-game series that starts Friday.

The Brewers travel to Tampa Bay Monday to take on the Rays, who have been hot the last couple weeks.

The Keltner chapter of SABR will hold a meeting at Goolsby’s in downtown Milwaukee on Saturday, Aug. 9. A research presentation on Henry Killilea will be made by Dennis Pajot.

Tours of the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame. located outside the UWM Panthers Arena, will be conducted by Bob Buege, Gregg Hoffmann, and Rick Schabowski.

##

The MDR Blog can be found at the locations below:

** http://www.quicktopic.com/31/H/bcq8WpiTHm8eC
** http://midwestdiamondreport.mlblogs.com
** www.onwisconsinsports.com
7461
MDR Blog - 7/20
07-20-2014
09:10 AM ET (US)
Jean Segura and the Brewers have served as shining examples of how to deal with a tragedy.

Just before the All Star break, Segura lost his 9-month-old son Janniel, who died after a brief illness in the Dominican Republic.

The Brewers rallied to him as a true family does to a loved-one. Segura, who returned to the Dominican on a bereavement leave, demonstrated he appreciated his teammates’ response by coming back to the club in time for the first game after the break.

"I'm doing pretty good right now," said Segura told the media on Friday afternoon at Nationals Park. "I'm happy to get back to the team and enjoy the team, and get back to work.

"These guys give me support. We are like a family. For me, I feel I need to go back to work and do what I'm supposed to do. God helped me to get through this, my family, my friends, my teammates, the organization.

"This is something you can't control. I just prayed to God to get me through it the right way, and whatever he gives to us is the best way in life."

Segura told the Journal-Sentinel his family agreed with his return to the Brewers.

"It's important to me and members of my family," he said. "It was a tough moment for me and my family, but it's also important being in the locker room with my teammates and see the support they give to me.

“Even the Cardinals, when I heard about that (support when St. Louis was in Milwaukee last weekend), that they cared about me, too, I feel pretty good. I feel strong to compete and be here to do the best I can to help the team."

Carlos Gomez is probably Segura’s closest friend on the club and also a father. “I told him, 'Remember you have a friend. You can speak and talk if you need it. Whatever you need, I'm available any time,'" said Gomez.

"I didn't ask him what happened, nothing like that. I told him, 'If you need support, we're going to be on your side. Don't think too much about this‘.

"He seemed really strong. It was unbelievable, the way he looked. I think it's good for him (to be playing). The worst thing is to sit in the hotel and all those thoughts come through your mind. Here, he is more concentrating on playing the game. It's impressive for him to do this."

In fact, Segura is serving as an inspiration for the entire ball club. The Brewers need that after limping into the All Star break. Wins and losses seem trivial when tragedy strikes, but for Segura and the Brewers moving on with the effort to compete and win can serve as therapy.

Player of the Week

Jonathan Lucroy had two doubles and two RBIs as the starting catcher in the All Star Game to earn the MDR Player of the Week honor.

Other MDR teams’ Players of the Week included:

** the Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo, who hit .333 with two homers.

** the Twins’ Trevor Plouffe, who his .385 with a homer, triple and two doubles.

** C Tyler Flowers was 4-for-6 in his first two games back from the break and 6-for-9 in his last three games.

Updated Notes

Brewers

** RHP Matt Garza made his shortest start Saturday, giving up five runs in only 1/3 inning.

** RHP Jim Henderson has moved to Triple A in his rehab assignment from shoulder problems.

** LHP Will Smith said he was feeling better after suffering back spasms.

Cubs

** LHP Tsuyoshi Wada and RHP Dan Straily are options for the No. 5 starter spot.

** 3B Mike Olt leads all National League rookies with 12 home runs, but entering Saturday, he was batting .144.

** 1B Anthony Rizzo’s 22 homers are one shy of his season total in 2013.

Twins

** 1B Joe Mauer took some grounders, but has no timetable for return to action from an oblique strain.

** Josh Willingham, rumored to be on the trading block. went 0-for-3 on Friday night, and has hit just .118 in his past 27 games.

** OF Byron Buxton. ranked as the No. 1 prospect in the minors by MLB.com, went 2-for-5 with a solo home run on Thursday night, and has now hit safely in four straight games for Fort Myers in A ball.

White Sox

** Avisail Garcia continues to take batting practice and work out with the team, but had no minor league rehab assignment as of Sunday.

** The last time the White Sox bullpen threw four perfect innings, as it did Friday night, was June 24, 2004, against the Indians.

** Infielder Carlos Sanchez was optioned to Triple-A Charlotte following Saturday's 4-3 victory for the White Sox over the Astros. Sanchez played in just one game after being recalled on July 13, starting at shortstop that same day in Cleveland.

What’s Ahead

The White Sox travel to Target Field for a four-game series with the Twins, starting Thursday.

The Brewers return to Miller Park for an important series against the Reds, who have had Milwaukee’s number so far this season.

##

The MDR Blog can be found at the locations below.

** http://www.quicktopic.com/31/H/bcq8WpiTHm8eC
** http://midwestdiamondreport.mlblogs.com
** www.onwisconsinsports.com
7460
DDD
07-13-2014
09:33 AM ET (US)
Friday was the 100th anniversary of Babe Ruth's first major league ball game;
appearing as a pitcher and getting his first W. Below is an interesting fact
from David Vincent the SABR HR guru.

From: David Vincent
Subject: Babe Ruth

Friday, July 11, is the 100th anniversary of Babe Ruth's major league debut.
There are many interesting and amazing facts about the Babe but this is my
favorite.

In 1920, Ruth became the first batter to hit 30, 40, and 50 home runs in one
campaign - and he did this all in one season! The Babe out-homered all seven
other American League teams and seven of eight in the National League in
1920.

DDD

Dennis D. Degenhardt
7459
Gregg HoffmannPerson was signed in when posted
07-13-2014
09:25 AM ET (US)
Midwest Diamond Report Blog - 7/13

The Twin Cities and Target Field are in the final stages of getting ready for the All Star Game.

Of course the big event is the All Star Game itself, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday. There are many other events, however, some of which have started and some which are ongoing throughout the five days.

On Monday, the Gatorade All-Star Workout Day at Target Field will feature the Gillette Home Run Derby.

Today, Sunday, the Taco Bell All-Star Sunday will be held at Target Field. The SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game will be held at 4 p.m. followed by the Taco Bell All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game.

The MLB All-Star Summer Pepsi Block Party is being staged at the Minneapolis Butler Square Sunday through Tuesday.

The T-Mobile All-Star FanFest started Friday and also will be held Monday and Tuesday at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

On Saturday, the Target All-Star Concert, presented by Budweiser, was held, featuring Imagine Dragons with musical guest Atmosphere.

This five-day celebration is a big deal for the Twin Cities. It’s expected the economic impact on the area could reach $75 million. About 160,000 visitors to the area are projected because of the events.

In case you missed it, the Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo and White Sox’s Chris Sale won the Final Vote to earn selection to their respective teams.

Brewers’ All Star Swoon

We warned of it in last week’s Blog, and it happened. The Brewers have virtually collapsed in the last week before the All Star break.

A loss to the Cardinals on Sunday will put them in second place at the break, after once holding a 6 game lead in the NL Central. At best, they will hold a one game lead.

This isn’t the first time the Brewers have done this. For example, in 2007, they went 3-7 in the last 10 games before the break. In 2009, they lost consecutive series to the Cubs, Cardinals and Dodgers before breaking There are other examples.

Of course, it looks somewhat inconsequential right now after the news that Jean Segura’s child died suddenly Friday in the Dominican Republic.
But, the season will go on and so must the Brewers. Their slide doesn’t look like something that can be solved internally. Calling up RHP Jimmy Nelson, for example, didn’t help, at least not short term. (See the results of his first start in Updated Notes).

It looks like GM Doug Melvin is going to have to make a big move, ala CC Sabathia, if the Brewers are going to stay in the race. Perhaps dealing for David Price or another front line pitcher, or acquiring a first baseman that could add some consistent offensive production, are types of deals he needs to make.

Player of the Week

Cubs rookie Arismendy Alcantara was 7-for-18 with three RBIs after being called up from the minors to play second base and the outfield. For that, he earned the MDR Player of the Week honor.

Other MDR teams’ Players of the Week included:

** the Brewers’ Matt Garza, who had two quality starts during the Brewers’ slump.

** the Twins’ Sam Fuld, who has had at least one hit in 11 of his last 12 games.

** the White Sox’s Jose Abreu, who hit his MLB-leading 29th homer Saturday and upped his RBI total to 73.

Updated Notes

Brewers
 
** RHP Jimmy Nelson gave up eight runs on eight hits in 4.1 innings in his first start on Saturday.

** Elian Herrera was called back up to replace Jean Segura, who was put on the bereavement list because of the death of his child.

** Jonathan Lucroy will start at catcher for the NL in the All Star Game, replacing the Cardinals’ Yadier Molina, who is on the DL.

Cubs

** RHP Edwin Jackson gave up nine runs in 3.2 innings on Saturday.

** Emilio Bonifacio went 3-for-4 with three singles as the designated hitter in his rehab debut with the Arizona League Cubs.

** Justin Ruggiano's walk-off single gave the Cubs a 5-4 victory over the Braves on Friday before a packed house of 39,544, the largest crowd of the season at Wrigley Field.

Twins

** RHP Kevin Correia went at least six innings in his seventh consecutive start Saturday and dropped his ERA to 2.30.

** Catcher Kurt Suzuki was scheduled to get a day off Saturday, even before he fouled a ball off the back of his left heel on Friday night. Suzuki stayed in the game and said he was fine Saturday.

** The Twins will end their road trip on Sunday, which will mark their 20th game in 20 days leading up to the All-Star break.

White Sox

** SS Alexei Ramirez and winning pitcher Scott Carroll left Saturday’s game with back stiffness.

** OF Adam Eaton was out of Saturday's lineup against the Indians and probably won't play during the first-half finale on Sunday because of a sore right ankle.

** The Sox signed LHP Carlos Rodon, the club's first-round pick (third overall) in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft, to a minor-league contract with a $6.5-million signing bonus.

Landmark Decision

The Cubs won a big decision last week which will allow them to expand the bleachers in Wrigley Field. For a full statement by the club, go to Midwest Diamond Report Blogs message board at http://www.quicktopic.com/31/H/bcq8WpiTHm8eC.

What’s Ahead

The biggie for the week is the All Star Game at Target Field. After the break, the Brewers will try to get back on track against the Nationals in Washington D.C.

A countdown to the trade deadline also will start, as the Brewers are likely to be buyers and the Cubs, Twins and White Sox could be sellers in the market.

##

The MDR Blog can be found at the locations below.
** http://www.quicktopic.com/31/H/bcq8WpiTHm8eC
** http://midwestdiamondreport.mlblogs.com
** www.onwisconsinsports.com
7458
Gregg HoffmannPerson was signed in when posted
07-11-2014
07:58 AM ET (US)
Statement from Cubs

Cubs Win Landmarks Approval

After more than a year of robust dialogue with community stakeholders and city officials while gaining several of the required approvals to begin the historic restoration and expansion of Wrigley Field, we have crossed our final hurdle with the City of Chicago as the Commission on Chicago Landmarks today approved our revised bleacher expansion. Today’s affirmative vote means we are much closer to achieving our goals of winning a World Series, preserving Wrigley Field and being a good neighbor by investing in our community.
 
The revised bleacher expansion includes our original proposal of seven outfield signs, which are an integral part of the overall planned development. The revised plan also includes additional seating and open spaces in the Budweiser Bleachers, new group terraces in right and left field, enclosed hospitality areas and new outfield lighting. All of these features will be a tremendous source of revenue to fund parts of the restoration project and put more resources on the field.
 
In the coming weeks, we will submit permit applications and prepare to get construction started in areas around the ballpark.
 
The initial phase of construction will include our surface parking lots and two-story parking lot on Eddy Street. First, we will begin demolishing the Brown Lot later this month. The new Brown Lot will be expanded by 100 parking spaces to accommodate gameday parking and guests staying at the new Sheraton Hotel. As the season concludes, we will begin work in the Gold, Red and Purple Lots. The Gold Lot will be the home of our new broadcast center for home and visiting television networks. Currently, broadcast teams are located in the Red Lot adjacent to the ballpark, which will be the site of the new western gate and plaza. The most significant work will occur in the Purple Lot. We will begin excavation of the Purple Lot to lay the foundation for the sub-basements which will house the Levy commissary space and the new clubhouse for Cubs players.
 
The City of Chicago also will be closing portions of Waveland and Sheffield to relocate underground water and sewer infrastructure in preparation of the team moving the ballpark walls out onto Waveland and Sheffield this fall.
 
Much of this work won’t impact fan access and gameday operations, so construction will occur throughout our remaining homestands. Following the conclusion of the season, we will immediately begin the Budweiser Bleacher expansion and anticipate completing the installation of new seating, group terraces, outfield signs and lighting, including the new left field video board, by Opening Day 2015.
 
Finally, as we begin work to restore beautiful Wrigley Field, we hope to avoid litigation and will continue to talk with rooftop businesses to determine if there are opportunities to broker a final settlement. If not, we are prepared to defend our right to expand Wrigley Field.
 
This is a long time coming and we want to thank you for your support in helping us preserve the greatest ballpark in baseball while investing to build a championship ballclub. There will continue to be challenges and hurdles along the road ahead and we look forward to your continued support.
 
As we begin this historic restoration and expansion, we will continue to provide important updates related to the construction process and schedule as the project moves forward. For news and updates, please visit www.wrigleyfield.com.
Edited 07-11-2014 07:58 AM
7457
MDR Blog - 7/6
07-06-2014
08:19 PM ET (US)
The success the Brewers have had in the first half of the season was reflected in their number of All Star selections Sunday night.

Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Gomez were voted in as starters at 3B and in the outfield. Jonathan Lucroy was selected as a reserve at catcher, and Francisco Rodriguez as a reliever.

Ramirez probably should have been a reserve, if for no other reason the fact he was on the DL for a considerable amount of time. But, in some ways his first selection as a starter can be seen as a career honor, since he has been one of the most productive third basemen in the game for several years.

“The All Star break has given me a chance to be with my family for a few days in the past, but it is an honor to be selected,” Ramirez said several days ago in an interview before he knew the outcome of voting.

Gomez has become one of the most dynamic players in the game. Some will argue that Giancarlo Stanton should have started ahead of him, but the Marlins’ star can serve as DH since the game is at Target Field, an AL location.

Lucroy should have been the starter, but is undoubtedly fine with his selection as the backup to the Cardinals’ Yadier Molina. As reported last week, Lucroy was a bit embarrassed by a Fox Sports Wisconsin promo that hyped him over Molina.

For Rodriguez, his selection marks a comeback for the guy who once earned the nickname K-Rod. Just a couple years ago, he was considered done by many.

The Brewers could make an argument for Kyle Lohse and Will Smith to be selected as pitchers, but both have struggled somewhat in recent outings.

Instead, the Brewers should probably concentrate on not taking a dive in the week left before the ASG. In years past, after getting off to a good start, they somewhat stumbled right before the break. They’ve lost five of their last six and should concentrate on finishing strong.

The other MDR teams All Stars include the Cubs’ Starlin Castro, Twins’ Glen Perkins and Kurt Suzuki and the White Sox’s Jose Abreu and Alexei Ramirez.

Jeff Samardzija actually was picked an All Star before he was traded by the Cubs to Oakland and could still make an appearance. The Sox probably have the most legitimate beef with Chris Sale not on the AL team.

Two-For Deal

Most people expected the Cubs to trade RHPs Samardzija and Jason Hammel, but not necessarily to the same team in the same deal. The pair was sent packing to Oakland in exchange for prospects SS Addison Russell and OF Bill McKinney, and veteran pitcher Dan Straily.

The deal comes at a time when the Cubs were playing much better, and tells fans they have to wait until next year or beyond. Russell and McKinney are considered top prospects, but also are a couple years away.

Russell also is a shortstop which gives the Cubs Castro and prospect Javier Baez at the same position. It makes it very likely Castro could be traded in the future, or he or Baez could change positions.

Player of the Week

The White Sox’s Abreu extended his hitting streak to 19 games. He also hit his MLB-leading 27th homer. That gave him the MDR Player of the Week honor.

Other MDR teams’ Players of the Week included:

** the Brewers’ Ryan Braun, who hit .368 for the week with six RBIs.

** the Cubs’ Justin Ruggiano, who had consecutive three-hit games and drove in seven runs in those two games.

** the Twins’ Suzuki, who hit .350 in a six game stretch.

Updated Notes

Brewers

** RHP Matt Garza retired the first 12 Reds he faced and allowed only two hits over all nine innings of the Brewers' 1-0 win Saturday.

** Braun suffered from back spasms over the weekend. OF Logan Schafer was called up and started in LF for the injured Khris Davis. Utility player Elian Herrera was sent down to make roster space. Davis returned to the lineup when Braun had to be removed from Saturday’s game.

** The Brewers have agreed to sign international prospect Gilbert Lara, reports Enrique Rojas of ESPNDeportes.com (via Twitter). Lara will receive a $3.2MM bonus, according to colleague Dionisio Soldevila (via Twitter).

Cubs

** The trade of Samardzija and Hammel left Edwin Jackson, Jake Arrieta and Travis Wood in the rotation. Tsuyushi Wada will be called up from the minors to start Tuesday and could stay in the rotation. Carlos Villanueva made a spot start Saturday and was the loser in a 13-0 decision to the Nationals.

** Before departing to Oakland, Hammel held the Nationals to two runs and five hits in six innings of a 7-2 win on Friday.

** Rooftop owners apparently have decided to accept the Cubs' plan of installing two outfield signs at Wrigley Field, including a video scoreboard in left, and drop their threatened lawsuit.

Twins

** RHP Mike Pelfrey, who underwent elbow surgery in early June, isn't expected to start throwing again until September and could miss the rest of the season, Twins general manager Terry Ryan said.

** 1B Joe Mauer was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right oblique. First baseman Chris Colabello was recalled from Triple-A Rochester to take his place on the roster.

** The Twins have reached agreement on a $800K bonus with righty Huascar Ynoa. The younger brother of record-holding international signee Michael Ynoa, the Dominican landed at 17th among available prospects on the MLB.com list and 14th in the eyes of Baseball America, which credits him with outstanding stuff but streaky control.

White Sox

** Dayan Viciedo, who is involved in trade rumors with Seattle, went 4-for-4 in a 7-1 win over the Mariners, and belted his 10th home run of the season.

** The White Sox have made several big-dollar signings: shortstop Ricardo Mota has signed for $750K, second baseman Felix Mercedes will receive a $950K bonus, and catcher Jhoandro Alfaro (brother of Rangers’ prospect Jorge) will get $750K

** The Sox have claimed righty Angel Sanchez off waivers from the Rays. He will join the club’s Class-A affiliate.

What’s Ahead

The Brewers will host their closest NL Central rival, the Cardinals, in a three-game series next weekend before breaking for the All Star Game.

Northwoods League teams have started their second half. Willmar won the first half North Division title, and the Lakeshore Chinooks took the South Division.

The Keltner Chapter of SABR will meet at Major Goolsby’s on Aug. 9 and take a tour of the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame. More details will follow.

##

The MDR Blog can be found at the locations below.
** http://www.quicktopic.com/31/H/bcq8WpiTHm8eC
** http://midwestdiamondreport.mlblogs.com
** www.onwisconsinsports.com
7456
MDR Blog - 6/29
06-29-2014
08:12 AM ET (US)
Jonathan Lucroy doesn’t need any extra help to make the National League All Star team. The Brewers’ catcher deserves selection because of his play in the first half of the season.

But, some TV spots on Fox Sports Wisconsin, created in part as a parody of political ads, boosted Lucroy while taking satirical aim at the Cardinals and their perennial All Star catcher, Yadier Molina.

Brad Weimer, the Fox Sports Wisconsin producer who created the spots, said he thought the ad was funny, “The Internet likes funny things,” he added.

Cardinals manager Mike Matheny, who played catcher for the Brewers, wasn’t as amused. "I think you have to take it in the nature in which it was meant and it was meant to be geared toward their fan base," Matheny said. "It was just amazing that it was that much directed at our organization. I think that part probably caught me off-guard the most."

As for Lucroy, he said, “I had no idea what direction they were going to take. I just said the line about approving this message and they shot me nodding my head. When I saw it, I understood where they were going, but I also see where the Cardinals could be put off by it.

“As for myself, I would never single out an individual like that. I’m more about trying to make myself better and helping this team win. He (Molina) is the best overall catcher in baseball, has been for a while. I have nothing but respect for him and the Cardinals as a team.”

The bottom line is Lucroy deserves selection. He has spent much of the first half ranked in the top five in hitting in the NL.

He made the transition into the cleanup spot when needed, then into the third spot when manager Ron Roenicke shook up the order, with Ryan Braun batting second.

Lucroy thinks he played better than ever in the first half because the team played so well. “It takes four wheels to move a car,” he said. “If you only have one or two working, the machine doesn’t work well. We’ve had all four wheels working and the machine has run well. It’s easier to contribute when the guys around you are playing so well.”

While Lucroy could have done without the All Star ad, he has become more of a team spokesman and leader in recent years. He often is sought out by reporters after games and serves as the Kwik Trip spokesman for the Brewers.

“It’s not something I seek out,” he said. “I prefer to make my statements with my play on the field, but I try to be cooperative and will speak up when I think it‘s right.” For a full length feature on Lucroy, see Game Day, the Brewers’ program magazine, after the All Star break.
Worth Noting

We can’t let this accomplishment pass without noting. Viroqua’s Mitch Stalsberg set a new WIAA state tournament record for strikeouts in one game with 21 in a 2-1 win over Ripon, breaking the mark of Eau Claire's Hud Gelein, who struck out 20 in a WIAA Division 1 state tournament game in 1958.

Stalsberg sat down 21 of the 37 batters he faced by strikeout. His performance came in the semi-final game of the tournament. Viroqua went on to lose 10-0 in the championship game.

The senior lefthander will attend Winona State this fall.

Player of the Week

The Twins have been slumping, but Joe Mauer has been hot with a .417 average and five RBIs in his last six games. For that, Mauer is the MDR Player of the Week.

Other MDR teams’ Player of the Week are:

** the Brewers’ Jonathan Lucroy, who his .360 with four RBIs for the week.

** the Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo, who hit .313 with two homers.

** the White Sox’s Alejandro De Aza, who hit .368 in his last six games.

Updated Notes

Brewers

** The Brewers became the first MLB team to 50 wins.

** RHP Matt Garza won his first game since June 7 on Saturday.

** CF Carlos Gomez was day-to-day with a sore neck after colliding with Ryan Braun Saturday. SS Jean Segura was expected to return to action after suffering leg cramps.

Cubs

** The Cubs played a doubleheader Saturday and will be off Sunday to accommodate the big Pride Parade in Chicago.

** Dallas Beeler did not allow an earned run in six innings and got a hit in his MLB debut on Saturday.

** RHP Jeff Samardzija dropped to 2-7, but continues to be a hot commodity on the trade rumor market.

Twins

** The Twins lost their 10th straight road game Saturday.

** The bullpen has a combined 2.04 ERA and has allowed opponents to hit only .196 in the last 11 games.

** INF Pedro Florimon is hitting .093 in 31 games.

White Sox

** LHP Chris Sale improved to 7-1 with the win in a 4-3 decision over the Blue Jays on Saturday.

** Zach Putnam earned the save Saturday, as the Sox have gone to the closer by committee approach for now.

** OF Adam Eaton returned to the lineup after suffering leg soreness.

What’s Ahead

All Star selections will be announced later in the Week. The Brewers could have 4-5 players selected.

The first half Northwoods League season ends this week. Races remained tight in the closing days. The Willmar Stingers and Lakeshore Chinooks held leads going into the last couple games. Winners of the first and second halves of the season meet in the divisional playoffs in August.

##

The MDR Blog can be found at the locations below.

** http://www.quicktopic.com/31/H/bcq8WpiTHm8eC
** http://midwestdiamondreport.mlblogs.com
** www.onwisconsinsports.com
7455
MDR Blog - 6/22
06-22-2014
07:57 AM ET (US)
A MDR matchup between the White Sox and Twins is being staged this weekend at Target Field, and the Twins are kicking butt.

The Twins snapped their five-game losing streak with Thursday's 4-2 win against the White Sox. Joe Mauer tied the game in the third inning, and then doubled in the eighth to score the go-ahead run for his first multi-RBI game since May 3, and third total this season.

On Friday night, closer Glen Perkins blew his third save by allowing two runs in the ninth inning. But, Perkins got out of a bases-loaded jam by getting an inning-ending double play, and Brian Dozier came through with a walk-off RBI single off Ronald Belisario with two outs in the ninth to give Minnesota a 5-4 win.

Kevin Correia settled down after a rocky start to throw six strong innings, and Mauer laced a go-ahead two-run double in the fifth to lead the Twins to a 4-3 win on Saturday.

Sunday’s game will be played after this was posted. Results will be added to the Facebook posting of the MDR Blog.

Player of the Week

The Brewers’ CF Carlos Gomez extended his on-base streak to 34 games and his hitting streak to a career-high 17 games. For that, he gets the MDR Player of the Week honor.

Other MDR teams’ Players of the Week included:

** the Cubs’ Starlin Castro, who surpassed his home run and RBI totals for the entire 2013 season during the week.

** the Twins’ Joe Mauer, who had multi-hit games and some clutch hits against the White Sox.

** the White Sox’s Conor Gillaspie, who continued to hit at a .340 pace.

Updated Notes

Brewers

** The Brewers had 26 road wins through Saturday, the most in the big leagues. They stood at 16 games above .500 after Saturday’s win over the Rockies.

** Playing in his 1,000th game in a Brewers uniform Friday, RF Ryan Braun finished his day 3-for-6 with two runs, two RBIs and two doubles.

** Five Brewers finished Friday’ 13-10 game with three hits with the team matching a season high in hits, 19, and setting a new season high in runs.

Cubs

** The Cubs are 18-14 since May 17, tops in the National League, and 11-8 in the month of June. Those 11 victories match their win total from May.

** With a three-run home run to left off Charlie Morton in the third inning of Friday's 6-3 win over the Pirates, SS Starlin Castro surpassed his homer total (11) from all of last season.

** Cubs catcher Welington Castillo went 1-for-5, hitting a single in the sixth, in his first Minor League rehab game with Triple-A Iowa on Friday night.
 
Twins

** Twins starters have a 2.41 ERA over their last 11 outings.

** Kendrys Morales made his first start of the season at first base on Saturday against the White Sox with Joe Mauer getting a break and starting at designated hitter.

** 3B Trevor Plouffe said his rib injury is feeling better, and he remains hopeful he'll be ready to be activated from the 15-day disabled list on June 30.

White Sox

** Andre Rienzo allowed four runs on seven hits over 4 1/3 innings, striking out three and walking two, on Saturday. Over his last five starts, Rienzo has yielded 35 hits over 22 1/3 innings, along with 11 walks.

** The White Sox rank fourth in the American League with 23 multi-homer games and are 18-5 in those efforts.

** With two runs scored off of Twins closer Glen Perkins in Friday's 5-4 loss to the Twins, the White Sox increased their Major League-leading ninth-inning run total to 46.

What’s Ahead

The first place Brewers return to Miller Park for a three-game series with the Nationals and then a rematch against this weekend’s opponents, the Rockies.

The Cubs, who have been up-and-coming in the NL Central, will host another division rival in the Reds at Wrigley Field.

After wrapping up their series with the Sox, the Twins head for the West Coast to take on the Angels. The Sox head east to meet the Orioles.

At a different level, the Northwoods League enters the final week of the first half of the season with completive races in both divisions. The winner of the first half plays the winner of the second half in the divisional playoffs.

##

The MDR Blog can be found at the locations below.
** http://www.quicktopic.com/31/H/bcq8WpiTHm8eC
** http://midwestdiamondreport.mlblogs.com
** www.onwisconsinsports.com
7454
MDR Blog - 6/15
06-15-2014
08:43 AM ET (US)
Miller Park already had the Walk of Fame, Autograph Alley, the Milwaukee Braves Wall of Honor and other reminders of baseball history in Milwaukee.

On Friday, the historic monument representing the largest group of Brewers yet was unveiled with the Brewers Wall of Honor.

The Wall of Honor commemorates Brewers players that meet a set criteria based on service to the club. That included: 2,000 or more plate appearances, 1,000 or more innings pitched, 250 appearances as a pitcher, winner of a major award (MVP, Cy Young, Rookie of the Year, or Fireman of the Year), manager of a pennant-winning team, individuals recognized with a statue on the Miller Park Plaza and members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame who have played for the Brewers.

A total of 36 former Brewers players attended Friday’s ceremony, marking the largest single gathering of Brewers alumni in team history, surpassing the 31 players who came in for the final game at County Stadium in 2000.

Craig Counsel, former player, current front office executive and a guy who grew up watching the great Brewers’ teams of the early 1980s, reportedly spearheaded the idea of the Wall.

The Wall of Honor will be a permanent display outside of Miller Park on a wall on the North side of the ballpark. Players on the Wall of Honor will each have a plaque with their photo and a brief synopsis of their playing career. The plaques are designed by Matthews International, designers of the plaques for the National Baseball Hall of Fame as well as the plaques on the Milwaukee Braves Wall of Honor.

The list of former players on the Wall is impressive: Hank Aaron, Jerry Augustine, Sal Bando, Chris Bosio, Johnny Briggs, Jeromy Burnitz, Mike Caldwell, Bill Castro, Jeff Cirillo, Jim Colborn, Cecil Cooper, Craig Counsell, Chuck Crim, Rob Deer, Cal Eldred, Mike Fetters, Rollie Fingers, Jim Gantner, Moose Haas, Bill Hall, Darryl Hamilton, Teddy Higuera, John Jaha, Geoff Jenkins, Harvey Kuenn, Sixto Lezcano, Pat Listach, Mark Loretta, Davey May. Bob McClure, Paul Molitor, Don Money, Charlie Moore, Jaime Navarro, Dave Nilsson, Ben Oglivie, Dan Plesac, Darrell Porter, Ken Sanders, George Scott, Kevin Seitzer, Allan H. “Bud” Selig, Richie Sexson, Ben Sheets, Ted Simmons, Jim Slaton, B.J. Surhoff, Don Sutton, Gorman Thomas, Bill Travers, Bob Uecker, Jose Valentin, Greg Vaughn, Fernando Vina, Pete Vuckovich, Bill Wegman, Bob Wickman and Robin Yount.

John Axford, Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder, Yovani Gallardo, J.J. Hardy, Corey Hart and Rickie Weeks are the seven active players that, as of today, qualify for induction into the Wall of Honor following their retirement. Active players closing in on the thresholds include Jonathan Lucroy and Carlos Gomez.

Field of Dreams Anniversary
While they celebrated history at Miller Park, another celebration was going on outside Dyersville, Iowa, where the 25th anniversary of the Field of Dreams movie and site was marked.

Kevin Costner, who starred in the film, was back and spending a couple days visiting with old friends, signing autographs and have a catch with his own kids. Others who were part of the film also appeared. Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, who was in the movie, spoke at a ceremony on Friday.

Meanwhile, there is a continuing controversy over the site's proposed redevelopment. Denise Stillman of suburban Chicago heads the company planning All-Star Ballpark Heaven, a youth sports complex that would surround the field.

A newly installed "Save the Field of Dreams on Facebook" billboard stood on the south edge of Dyersville where traffic turns east to drive to the movie site. A coalition of neighboring farmers (known as the Residential and Agricultural Advisory Committee) sued the City of Dyersville, alleging that its rezoning of the Field of Dreams farm from agricultural to commercial ground was illegal. The case awaits a judge's ruling.

Player of the Week

The Brewers’ Scooter Gennett hit .412 and served as a sparkplug when he was moved to the leadoff spot. Gennett also had a game-changing 13-pitch at-bat before doubling off the Reds’ Mat Latos Saturday night. For all this, he gets the MDR Player of the Week honor.

Other MDR teams Players of the Week include:

** the Cubs’ Luis Valbuena, who was 11-for-25 with a homer in seven games.

** the Twins’ Kyle Gibson, who allowed five hits in seven innings in a win.

** the White Sox’s Adam Eaton, who hit .318 for the week.

Updated Notes

Brewers

** The Brewers committed four errors in a loss on Friday. RHP Matt Garza continued to have trouble throwing to bases with two of those errors.

** LHP Tom Gorzelanny was activated Saturday from the DL. Optioned to Triple-A Nashville were outfielder Logan Schafer and utility man Irving Falu, creating space for Gorzelanny to return from the disabled list and for another utility man, Elian Herrera, to come up from Nashville.

** RF Ryan Braun’s two-run homer Saturday was to right field, where Braun has been getting most of his hits lately.

Cubs

** OF Emilio Bonifacio was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Friday with rib cage inflammation after injuring himself during Thursday night's game against the Pirates.

** The Cubs have activated Ryan Sweeney from the 15-day disabled list. Sweeney, who had been sidelined since May 3 with a right hamstring strain, got the start in center field Friday night and was put in the No. 2 spot in the order.

** Mike Olt, Justin Ruggiano and Luis Valbuena homered on Saturday.


Twins

** RHP Kyle Gibson held the Tigers to five hits in seven innings of a 2-0 win on Friday.

** OF Aaron Hicks went on the DL with shoulder problems and OF Sam Fuld was called up from the minors.

** Brian Dozier came back from back problems to homer Saturday.

White Sox
 ** Avisail Garcia played catch on the field Thursday and Friday for the first time since he tore the labrum in his left shoulder and sustained an avulsion fracture diving for a fly ball in right at Colorado on April 9.

** The White Sox have signed RHP Henry Rodriguez to a minor league contract. Rodriguez, 27, will be placed on the Triple-A Charlotte disabled list.

** The Sox acquired OF Michael Taylor from the A’s for RHP Jake Sanchez.

30-0

Turning to a slightly larger ball, the Arcadia high school girls softball team won the Wisconsin state Division III championship with a 30-0 record after a 1-0 win over Laconia on Saturday. It was Arcadia’s fifth one-run win in a row!!

What’s Ahead

The highlight of the week will be a White Sox-Twins series at Target Field from Thursday through Sunday. Pitching matchups will be added to the Facebook posting of this blog.

Target Field will host the All Star Game in July. Commemorate the 2014 All-Star Game with a limited edition print by renowned Minnesota sports artist Terrence Fogarty.

Now available for purchase, the print titled "Our Game" paints a stunning vista of Target Field and the cityscape of the Twin Cities. However, its portrayal of baseball's youth celebrating America's Midsummer Classic is the heart of this commemorative piece.

All net proceeds from the sale of "Our Game" will benefit the Minnesota Twins Community Fund. Visit www.twinsbaseball.com/fogartyprint for more information.

##

The MDR Blog can be found at the locations below.

** http://www.quicktopic.com/31/H/bcq8WpiTHm8eC
** http://midwestdiamondreport.mlblogs.com
** www.onwisconsinsports.com
7453
Gregg HoffmannPerson was signed in when posted
06-08-2014
09:30 AM ET (US)
Let me say right up front, I’ve never really been a draftnik. Until a player gets to the big leagues, and shows he can produce, I don’t get that excited.

But, a brief review of the four MDR teams’ drafts last week certainly is worth doing. Most “experts” gave the Brewers, Cubs and White Sox grades of B+ and the Twins B or B-.

The Brewers’ picks of preps LHP Kyle Medeiros at No. 12 and SS Jacob Gatewood and OF Monte Harrison were termed “high risk” with potential for “high reward.” Many picks out of high school receive high risk ratings because of the longer development time, and also the possibility they will go to college, etc.

For example, Medeiros, a native of Hilo, Hawaii, went 7-1 with a 0.97 ERA in eight games as a senior at Waiakea (HI) High School. He has a commitment to Pepperdine University.

Gatewood had a commitment at USC and Harrison had one with Nebraska, but both players signed with the Brewers Saturday.

The Cubs shocked some people by picking Indiana catcher Kyle Schwarber with the overall fourth pick. The experts liked the pick of Maryland RHP Jake Stinnett in the second round.

Chicago went hunting for pitching in the lower rounds. One interesting pick was Fresno State’s Jordan Brink, who recently moved from the outfield to the mound.

The Sox received at least one rave review from Bleacher Report for their first round picks: The Chicago White Sox made a haul on Day 1 of the draft, despite having only two picks, as they popped LHP Carlos Rodon with the No. 3 pick and walked away with an absolute steal in the second round (No. 44 overall) with high-upside prep RHP Spencer Adams.

After that first round, the Sox’s picks didn’t excite the experts as much. In their own draft recap, the Sox noted they made 40 picks overall, with 33 of the 40 draftees from the collegiate ranks.

The Twins' selected SS Nick Gordon, the top shortstop in this year's class, with the fifth overall pick, followed by Louisville closer RHP Nick Burdi in the second round. Some felt the pick of Gordon was the best on the first day of the draft

Their grade slipped among some experts because of what was considered weaker picks in the later rounds.

In their own draft recap, the Twins noted they drafted 19 pitchers, including 16 collegiate arms, and 21 position players. Of the 21 position players, six are catchers, 10 are infielders and five are outfielders.

Some of the selections had already signed contracts. For more on the draft, and signings of the selections, go to the teams’ web sites.

Player of the Week

The Brewers’ Jonathan Lucroy followed a hot May with a good start in June. He was hitting .375 in the first six days of the month to earn the MDR Player of the Week honor.

Other MDR Players of the Week included:

** the Cubs’ Junior Lake, who hit two home runs in a win over the Marlins Saturday.

** the Twins’ Danny Santana, who drove in five runs on Saturday.

** the White Sox’s Adam Dunn, who his the 450th home run of his career.

Update Notes

Brewers

** RHP Tyler Thornburg went on the DL with elbow problems. RHP Mike Fiers was called up to take his place.

** LHP Tom Gorzelanny has started a rehab assignment and could be activated if his shoulder responds well.

** RHP Jeremy Jeffress is pitching well at Triple-A Nashville. The Brewers re-signed the former first round Draft pick to a Minor League deal in April


Cubs

** The Cubs carried a five-game winning streak into Sunday’s game.

** RHP Jeff Samardzija recorded his 10th quality start in 13 appearances Saturday.

** LHP Zac Rosscup, on the disabled list since May 10 with left shoulder soreness, was expected to begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Iowa on Saturday. Outfielder Ryan Sweeney, on the DL since May 3 with a hamstring strain, was expected to start a rehab assignment this week with Class A Kane County.

Twins

** The Twins signed free agent Kendrys Morales, who will see most of his time at DH.

** Joe Mauer is batting .206 with 15 strikeouts and one RBI over the past couple of weeks

** OF Oswaldo Arcia returned to action after rolling his ankle on Thursday.

White Sox

** RHP Andre Rienzo will remain on schedule to make his next start despite a rough outing on Friday.

** LHP Chris Sale carried a shutout into the 8th inning Saturday before the Angels’ Mike Trout hit a grand slam.

** Entering Saturday, Sale had allowed one earned run on three hits in 18 innings since his return from the disabled list with a flexor muscle strain.

What’s Ahead

The Brewers travel to New York to take on the Mets before returning home for a brief three-game homestand against the Reds. The Cubs hit the road for a four-game series in Pittsburgh.

Look for Kendrys Morales to make his Twins’ debut, perhaps after a brief warmup in the minors.

Finally, look for announcements on signings of draft picks throughout the week.

##

The MDR Blog can be found at the locations below.
** http://www.quicktopic.com/31/H/bcq8WpiTHm8eC
** http://midwestdiamondreport.mlblogs.com
** www.onwisconsinsports.com
7452
Gregg HoffmannPerson was signed in when posted
06-01-2014
11:40 AM ET (US)
The Brewers go from one series against a MDR rival this weekend in the Cubs to a home-and-away matchup with another rival in the Twins.

Miller Park will host the first two games of that matchup. The venue then shifts to Target Field.

Matt Garza will face the Twins’ Kyle Gibson in the series opener on Monday. The Brewers will send Yovani Gallardo against Sam Deduno on Tuesday.

At Target, Marco Estrada will match up against the Twins’ Ricky Nolasco. Wily Peralta and Minnesota’s Kevin Correia will conclude the series.

Brief results summaries will be posted on the Facebook posting of the Blog.

Brewers-Cubs series

The Brewers pounded out 16 hits, including three hits by Jean Segura, Ryan Braun, Rickie Weeks and Martin Maldonado, to beat the Cubs, 11-5, in the first game of this weekend’s series on Friday night. It was Braun’s first homer at Miller Park this season.

On Saturday, Jason Hammel held the Brewers to four hits in seven innings, and Anthony Rizzo hit two homers, to lead the Cubs to a 8-0 win.

This is being written before Sunday’s game. The results of that contest will be added to the Facebook posting of the MDR Blog.

The Awakening

Since Khris Davis and the Brewers’ offense came under scrutiny in last week’s MDR Blog, there has been an awakening.

Davis has been red shot, improving his average from .220 to .257 in a week, and taking a nine-game hitting streak into Sunday. Did he read last week’s Blog?
 
It’s more likely he is somewhat relieved after death threats against him were investigated by MLB and apparently resolved. Davis also has changed his approach, going to the opposite field with power, rather than trying to pull everything. We don’t take credit for either of those factors.

We also can’t take credit for the overall improvement in the Brewers’ offense. Check out the Update Notes for more on that.

Player of the Week

Khris Davis is the pick here, after the week described above. Davis also upped his homer total to nine -- after hitting dingers in three straight games -- going into the weekend.

Other MDR Players of the Week included:

** the Cubs’ Jason Hammel, who held the Brewers to four hits in seven innings Saturday to post his second win over Milwaukee this season.

** the Twins’ Oswaldo Arcia, who returned from the DL, had a big homer in a win over the Yankees and also threw out a runner at home in that win.

** the White Sox’s Conor Gillaspie, who had two hits Friday and was hitting .356.

Update Notes

Brewers

** The Brewers reached double figures in hits for nine straight games, before managing only four on Saturday. That tied a franchise record.

** 3B Aramis Ramirez could come off the DL and join the team Tuesday.

** CF Carlos Gomez extended his hitting streak to 11 games.

Cubs

** RHP Hector Rondon was placed on the paternity list and reliever Wesley Wright was activated from the list.

** RHP Pedro Strop was activated from the DL Friday.

** The Cubs broke a 22-inning scoreless streak on Friday.

Twins

** RHP Ricky Nolasco pitched six solid innings for his first win in more than a month Friday.

** RHP Mike Pelfrey has an irritated ulnar nerve in his elbow.

** OF Sam Fuld returned to the Twin Cities late last week to deal with concussion syndrome.

White Sox

** LHP Chris Sale’s start was moved up to Sunday, in part since his return from the DL last Tuesday was cut short by a rain delay.

** 1B/DH Jose Abreu could return from the DL Monday.

** SS Alexei Ramirez was hitting at a .326 clip going into this weekend. He ranked third in the AL in batting with that average.

What’s Ahead

In addition to the MDR rivalry series this week between the Brewers and Twins, all four MDR teams will participate on the June draft, starting Thursday. The White Sox have the third pick, Cubs fourth and Twins fifth. The Brewers will wait until the 12th pick.

Tournament action continues in the NCAA Division I and for Midwest high school teams. Highlights of some of that action, as well as Northwoods League play, will be included in future MDR Blogs.

##

The MDR Blog can be found at the locations below.

** http://www.quicktopic.com/31/H/bcq8WpiTHm8eC

** http://midwestdiamondreport.mlblogs.com

** www.onwisconsinsports.com
7451
Gregg HoffmannPerson was signed in when posted
05-26-2014
07:14 AM ET (US)
Check out this article from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Shoe Box owner’s
Kenosha Kingfish prepare for first season - http://on.jsonl.in/1t7tAPI


DDD

Dennis D. Degenhardt
7450
MDR Blog - 5/25
05-25-2014
08:54 AM ET (US)
The giddiness over the Brewers’ hot start is over. They have come down to reality, but by no means have collapsed.

Here are some things this writer believes they have to do to stay on top of the NL Central:

1.) Get healthy. Of course, that’s not completely under their control, but the loss of Aramis Ramirez, even though he was slumping before his injury, and nagging injuries that have slowed Ryan Braun and Carlos Gomez have hurt.

2.) Left field adjustment. Khris Davis gave them legit reasons for optimism last season, and he has shown some pop and clutch ability this year, but he was hitting .222 going into Sunday’s game.

It’s not time to give up on him yet, but perhaps a platoon is better suited. Logan Schafer isn’t the answer since he’s hitting .197, but maybe Caleb Gindl again. He was in a “soft” platoon with Davis last year when the latter produced.

3.) Somehow, cut down on the strikeouts. Going into Sunday, this team had 404 strikeouts in 50 games to rank seventh in baseball. That’s eight per game, which translates into a lot of runners left standing on the bases. Be more selective.

4.) Tied in with No. 3, the Brewers had a .305 on base percentage, which ranked in the bottom half of MLB. Again, to address Nos. 3 and 4, be more selective.

5.) This is a repeat from an earlier MDR Blog, but trade Rickie Weeks while they can. It will open up a roster spot for a player who might contribute at a position other than second base.

Notice that all of the points deal with the offense. The Brewers’ pitching has shown some signs of softening, but still has done well and basically carried the team.

It’s hardly time to panic, but it is time for the first set of adjustments to be made if the Brewers are going to stay on top.

Player of the Week

The Twins’ Phil Hughes turned in his sixth straight quality start and improved his record to 5-1. In those six quality starts, he has a 1.60 ERA with 30 strikeouts and only one walk. For that, he is the MDR Player of the Week.

Other MDR teams’ Players of the Week include:

** the Brewers’ Mark Reynolds, who took over the club’s home run lead with 11, including two in one game.

** the Cubs’ Jake Arrieta, who pitching six strong innings in his best performance yet since coming off the DL.

** the White Sox’s Adam Dunn, who climbed into a tie for second among active players for walkoff home runs with his 10th.

Update Notes

Brewers

** RF Ryan Braun returned to the lineup Saturday, but batted second in the order.

** INF Jeff Bianchi was sent to Triple A Nashville to make roster room for RHP Jimmy Nelson, who made a spot start for Yovani Gallardo on Sunday.

** SS Jean Segura was 5-for-9 since moving to the leadoff spot.

Cubs

** The Cubs’ pitching staff had a 1.40 ERA in six games before Friday’s loss. The Cubs ranked ninth in the league in ERA.

** LHP Wesley Wright has held right-handed hitters to a .154 batting average (6-for-39). That is the lowest lefty-vs.-righty batting average in the National League.

** OF Justin Ruggiano could be coming off the DL soon.

Twins

** OFs Josh Willingham and Oswaldo Arcia were ready to come off the DL Monday.

** Twins manager Ron Gardenhire has declared Eduardo Escobar his everyday shortstop.

** Twins rookie catcher Josmil Pinto smacked his seventh home run of the season Saturday. He trails only Evan Gattis (eight) for most runs for a catcher this season.

White Sox

** Robin Ventura was ejected for the eighth time in his managerial career and his first time this season on Saturday, after a call was reversed.

** SS Alexei Ramirez was hitting .325 with an .858 OPS entering play Saturday.

** C Tyler Flowers was hitting .312 in 43 games entering play Saturday.

NCAA Division III

Whitewater was playing St. Thomas Sunday night in the NCAA Division III World Series Championship game at Fox Cities Stadium. You can catch up on all the action at http://www.d3baseball.com/landing/index. Results of that title game will be added to the Facebook posting of the MDR Blog.

What’s Ahead

The Cubs come to Miller Park for a three-game series with the Brewers next weekend. J.J. Hardy returns to Miller with the Orioles before that series.

The NCAA Division II championships had started, and Division I teams were wrapping up their conference tournaments in preparation for their championship tourneys. Keep up on the results at http://www.ncaa.com/sports/baseball.

The Northwoods League summer collegiate baseball league starts action this Tuesday. Periodic updates from that league will be included in the MDR Blog.

##

The MDR Blog can be found at the locations below.

** http://www.quicktopic.com/31/H/bcq8WpiTHm8eC

** http://midwestdiamondreport.mlblogs.com

** www.onwisconsinsports.com
7449
MDR Blog - 5/18
05-18-2014
08:05 PM ET (US)
Rickie Weeks has been hitting lately. That means it’s time to trade him.

The often-injured and underachieving Weeks is making $11 million this season for platooning with Scooter Gennett, who plays a better defensive second base and is a more consistent hitter.

Weeks came up to the big leagues highly-heralded, but has at best turned out to be a grinder, prone to long slumps. He’s always been quiet and has been known as a team player.

But, a recent story by the Wisconsin State Journal, raises some questions about that image. Weeks reportedly refused to even consider a position change, telling manager Ron Roenicke, “I’m a second baseman.”

That indicated a stubborn streak, which insiders will tell you has surfaced before. Hitting coaches have worked with Weeks to simplify his stance and swing for years. He’s made some adjustments, but reportedly has resisted others that might have made him more consistent and also cut down on his frequent hand and wrist problems.

Weeks came up about the same time as J.J. Hardy and Prince Fielder. Hardy reportedly refused to consider moving to third base when the Brewers were hot on Alcides Escobar as their shortstop. That was a factor in Hardy going to the Twins for Carlos Gomez.

Fielder was Weeks best friend and, of course, opted for free agency. Weeks reportedly was affected by the departure of the Prince.

So, Weeks might have picked up on some traits from his peers. He likely could have remained a Brewer for a long time if he had considered moving to first base or third base. The Brewers are going with a platoon of veterans Mark Reynolds and Lyle Overbay at first and know Aramis Ramirez doesn’t have a long time left at third.

But, instead Weeks has made himself expendable by insisting on staying at a position where he is, at best, barely adequate and where a budding star is ready.

In the past, Weeks’ injuries and lack of production made him almost unmarketable. Now that he is hitting that might have changed, especially if the Brewers eat a portion of his salary. It looks like the time to trade him.

Brewers-Cubs Series

If you missed the results of this weekend series, here are nutshells:

After struggling early. Kyle Lohse settled down as the Brewers defeated the Cubs, 4-3, on a chilly Friday afternoon at Wrigley Field. Lohse gave up three runs in the first three innings, then retired the final 13 he faced, Will Smith pitched a perfect eighth and Francisco Rodriguez picked up his 17th save in 18 chances.

On Saturday, Edwin Jackson held the Brewers to four hits in seven innings of a 3-0 Cubs’ win.

Travis Wood settled down after a shaky first inning, rookie Mike Olt continued his hot home run pace, and Hector Rondon picked up his fifth save in as many chances to help the Cubs to a 4-2 win in the series finale on Sunday.

Player of the Week

The Twins’ Brian Dozier became the only MLB player to have double figures in home runs (11) and stolen bases (12). For that, he earned the MDR Player of the Week honor.

Other MDR teams’ Players of the Week included:

** the Brewers’ Jonathan Lucroy, who continued to play well behind and at the plate with a .306 average.

** the Cubs’ Edwin Jackson, who shut out the Brewers for seven innings on Saturday.

** the White Sox’s Conor Gillaspie, who hit .381 for the week and had a five-game hitting streak going into Sunday.

Update Notes

Brewers

** CF Carlos Gomez ended his suspension, but was scratched from the lineup Saturday because of continued lower back stiffness.

** RHP Matt Garza lowered his ERA to 4.83 on Saturday, but is off to a 2-3 and 1.45 WHIP.

** The Brewers enter Sunday's series finale with the Cubs with a 13-7 (.650) record away from home, one of the best road records in baseball.

Cubs

** SS Starlin Castro has batted at least six games at every spot in the order.

** Chicago leadoff man Emilio Bonifacio is batting .349 (37-for-106) with six doubles and 19 runs scored in 24 games against NL Central teams.

• Cubs reliever Hector Rondon needed eight pitches in the 9th Saturday to record his fourth save. He's 4-for-4 in save situations.

Twins

** RHP Sam Deduno earned his first win of the season Saturday.

** RHP Mike Pelfrey had a promising rehab start in his comeback from a groin injuru.

** The Twins had a three-game winning streak snapped Sunday with a loss to the Mariners.

White Sox

** 1B/DH Jose Abreu is having problems with ankle soreness.

** LHP Chris Sale's next start won't completely be decided until the White Sox see how Sale responds to Friday's trip to the mound.

** Adam Dunn, a Houston native, is hitting .308 with six home runs and 24 RBIs in his last 21 games vs. the Astros.

What’s Ahead

J.J. Hardy will make a return to Miller Park when the Orioles come to town Monday for a three-game series.

The Cubs will host the Yankees in an interleague series Tuesday and Wednesday.

The Brewers announced that Miller Park will host its first-ever international soccer match on Wednesday, July 16 when Chivas Guadalajara's annual North American tour heads to Milwaukee. Popular Mexican soccer club, C.D. Guadalajara, affectionately known throughout the world as Chivas, will face off against English Premier League club Swansea City in an international match presented by Miller Lite.

Tickets will go on sale Thursday, May 22 at 10 a.m. and range in price from $25 - $70. Visit brewers.com/soccer for full event details and mark your calendars for this historic event!

##

The MDR Blog can be found at the locations below. Updates are periodically added to the Facebook posting of the blog:

** http://www.quicktopic.com/31/H/bcq8WpiTHm8eC
** http://midwestdiamondreport.mlblogs.com
** www.onwisconsinsports.com
7448
Gregg Hoffmann
05-11-2014
08:31 AM ET (US)
It’s been almost 54 years since the Milwaukee Braves called up a chubby, 19-year-old kid from Brooklyn to serve as their backup catcher.

That kid, Joe Torre, matured into a Hall of Fame player and manager, and now an executive with Major League Baseball. The Milwaukee Braves Historical Association and the Brewers honored him last Thursday in Milwaukee.

“The whole day was great. Getting back here and seeing your friendly, smiling people -- a new generation but still friendly and smiling -- was terrific,” said Torre, who was inducted into the Milwaukee Braves Honor Roll at Miller Park and honored at a banquet at the Milwaukee Athletic Club.

“Seeing that wall and those plaques made me think back to those players who thrilled this city and helped me start my career.”

Torre recalled his first at-bat, against Harvey Haddix. “I singled up the middle,” he said. “The best news for me was seeing Lee Maye come out to run for me because my legs were literally shaking.”

Frank Torre, Joe’s older brother, helped pave the way a bit since he already had been with the Braves for years. “I knew some of the guys from the time I was 16,” Joe said. “Warren Spahn, Lew Burdette, Bob Buhl -- they were all great to a kid just getting started.”

Torre played nine years with the Braves and saw the heartbreak when they moved to Atlanta. He won a MVP with the Cardinals and ended up being a nine-time All Star.

Of course in more recent years, he was known as manager of the Yankees and Dodgers. He will go into Cooperstown this summer along with Tony La Russa, Bobby Cox, Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine. The Yankees also announced they will retire his No. 6.

“This is an emotional year, with this honor and all that is going on,” Torre admitted.

Thursday was a day for emotions, but also levity as fellow MBHA honorees Howie Bedell and Bruce Froemming, and Bob Uecker, traded verbal jabs with Torre.

“When I first met Joe Torre in Eau Claire in the Northern League, he wasn’t a very nice guy and had a lot to learn,” Froemming said. Torre later retorted, “I went to the big leagues the next year. Bruce liked the Northern League so much he stayed there for another five years. So, who had some work to do?”

The two are good friends now, and in fact, Froemming, who retired from active umpiring, works for Torre who heads a group that works with umpires on, among other things, the new replay system.

Uecker told Torre he was a “major part in my leading the league in passed balls. I remember how helpful you were. As each ball went by me, you would yell, ’Over there. It’s over there.’ That was a tremendous help.”

Torre and Uecker were roommates as players. “That was an experience,” Torre said with a wry smile.

Overall, it was a fun day and night. Kudos to the MBHA for continuing to honor former Braves and keeping the memories of those wonderful years in Milwaukee baseball alive.

Player of the Week

The White Sox’s Moises Sierra hit .412 with four hits in one of the Crosstown Classic games to earn the MDR Player of the Week honor.

Other MDR Players of the Week included:

** the Brewers’ Carlos Gomez, who continued to provide spark from the leadoff spot, including a 462-foot homer in his first at-bat against the Yankees on Saturday, his fourth leadoff homer this season.

** the Cubs’ Mike Olt, who his .,313 with three homers and six RBI.

** the Twins’ Phil Hughes, who won his fourth straight game by out-dueling the Tigers’ Justin Verlander, 2-1.

Update Notes

Brewers

** RF Ryan Braun is expected to return Tuesday from the DL.

** 3B Aramis Ramirez could be headed to the DL with a strained hamstring.

** 2B Rickie Weeks had his first RBI of the season Saturday night.

Cubs

** RHP Jeff Samardzija has failed to earn a win in 14 straight starts. He has received fewer than two runs per game support.

** OF Ryan Kalish was batting .321 (9-for-28) with four runs scored, with all four of his RBIs and three of his five walks in the first and second spots in the order.

** Manager Rick Renteria is unsure how many appearances reliever Jose Veras (left oblique strain) will make before concluding his rehab assignment with Double-A Tennessee that began Tuesday.

Twins

** RHP Kyle Gibson lasted only two innings Saturday, in his shortest start of his young career.

** After missing five games with lower back spasms, Joe Mauer returned to the lineup on Saturday in the Twins' 9-3 loss to the Tigers, starting at designated hitter and batting third.

** Kurt Suzuki led all Major League catchers with 21 RBIs. His .302 batting average also ranked second among backstops.

White Sox

** Paul Konerko is 9-for-22 over his last nine games, including his 59th career Interleague homer.

** Seven of his eight starts have been quality, but LHP Jose Quintana only has received a 2.50 run support average over his last six starts and 36 innings.

** The White Sox purchased the contract of RHP Frank Francisco from Triple-A Charlotte and designated RHP Maikel Cleto for assignment.

Elsewhere In Baseball

The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater claimed the 2014 Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Baseball Championship title with a 17-5 seven-inning victory over UW-La Crosse at Prucha Field at James B. Miller Stadium on Saturday.

The Warhawks won the tournament crown for the fourth time in program history and secured the conference's automatic bid into the NCAA Division III championship.

Facing elimination entering the final day of the two-day event, UW-Whitewater upended UW-Stevens Point, 8-1, and followed with a 6-5 10-inning triumph over UW-La Crosse before the final win. The Warhawks are the first team since UW-Stevens Point in 2006 to win three consecutive games on the final day of the tournament.

What’s Ahead

The Brewers will travel to Wrigley Field later in the week for a weekend series with the Cubs.

The NCAA Division III playoff field will be announced Monday. Whitewater will host the Midwest Regional at Prucha Field in James B. Miller Stadium.

##

The MDR Blog can be found at the locations below.
** http://www.quicktopic.com/31/H/bcq8WpiTHm8eC
** http://midwestdiamondreport.mlblogs.com
** www.onwisconsinsports.com
7447
Gregg Hoffmann
05-04-2014
09:22 AM ET (US)
The Crosstown Classic will be held this week in Chicago. The Cubs and White Sox first play two games at Wrigley Field and then move to the South Side to play at the Cell.

Jeff Samardzija will open the series against the Sox’s Jose Quintana on Monday. Edwin Jackson will face the Sox’s Hector Noesi on Tuesday.

When the series moves south, the Cubs will send Travis Wood against John Danks. Jake Arrieta and the Sox’s Scott Carroll will wrap up the Classic on Thursday.

No matter what the records of the two team are the Classic generates interest. The long histories of both franchises and crosstown rivalry spark enthusiasm.

As mentioned in a previous MDR Blog, the Cubs’ fans fervor has cooled as the team has struggled the last couple seasons. The Cubs were 11-17 as of Sunday. But, they had won three straight going into Sunday’s game.

Both teams will bring losing records into the Classic as the Sox were 14-17 going into Sunday’s game.

But, again the records don’t matter much. This Classic is for bragging rights for the next year in the Windy City.

A web site called http://www.crosstownclassic.com is maintained and has many interesting facts about the Classic. The Sox lead it, 49 wins to 45. This does not include the 1906 World Series in which the two teams met.

The most lopsided score was a 12-2 win by the Sox in 2005. The most runs in a game were 26 in a 15-11 Sox’s win in 2006. The facts go on and on.

Perhaps the best recalled Classic game was when the Sox’s A.J. Pierzynski and the Cubs’ Michael Barrett fought after a collision at home plate.

Even President Barack Obama follows the Classic. The avid Sox fan said in 2013, “I'm not a Cubs hater, I'm just saying, I think the Sox will win." He no doubt lost some votes on the North Side.

Results of the four games will be added to the Facebook posting of this Blog.

Player of the Week

The White Sox’s Jose Abreu was selected the AL Rookie and Player of the Month for April. That also makes him good enough to get the first MDR Player of the Week honor for May.

Other MDR teams’ Players of the Week included:

** the Brewers’ Francisco Rodriguez, who moved to 14 of 14 in save opportunities and a still has not let up a run.

** the Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo, who homered in his third straight game and is hitting .400 in his last 15 games.

** the Twins’ Joe Mauer, who homered and drove in four runs Saturday and raised his average to near .300.

Update Notes

Brewers

** Caleb Gindl was called up to replace Ryan Braun, who went on the DL. Gindl started in right field and went 0-for-3 on Saturday. Braun, who has a strained rib cage, will be eligible to come off the DL on May 12.

** OF Logan Schafer was activated from the DL. RHP Jim Henderson went on the DL.

** Righty Tim Dillard has signed with the Brewers, reports Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com. The 30-year-old played independent ball most recently, but does have 73 MLB relief appearances under his belt, all with Milwaukee. His career ERA stands at 4.70.

Cubs

** RHP Jake Arrieta made a successful debut as the Cubs won their third straight, 3-0, Saturday over the Cardinals.

** LHP Zac Rosscup was optioned to Triple-A Iowa to make room on the roster for Arrieta.

** OF Ryan Sweeney went on the DL with a hamstring strain. The Cubs selected the contract of outfielder Chris Coghlan from Triple-A Iowa to take Sweeney's spot.

Twins

** The Twins made it official on Saturday, as they placed RHP Mike Pelfrey on the 15-day disabled list with a left groin strain and recalled shortstop Danny Santana from Triple-A Rochester.

** RHP Sam Deduno will replace Pelfrey in the rotation.

** CF Aaron Hicks was placed on the seven-day disabled list Friday with concussion-like symptoms. The Twins called up left-hander Logan Darnell to take Hicks' place on the roster.

White Sox

** LHP Chris Sale did some light throwing as he comes back from DL with a flexor strain.

** CF Adam Eaton was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right hamstring.

** RHP Nate Jones Jones will undergo a microdiscectomy outpatient surgical procedure on his back on Monday at Rush University Medical Center.

Torre Dinner

The Milwaukee Braves Historical Association will honor former Braves catcher Joe Torre on Thursday, May 8, at the Milwaukee Athletic Club. Former Braves player Howie Bedell will also be honored. Contact Rick Schabowski at 414-322-4997 for further details.

Coverage of the Torre event will be included in the May 11 MDR Blog.

Golf Benefit

Chicago White Sox Charities invites you to join White Sox team members as well as other Chicago sports celebrities for a great day on the links at Field of Greens Celebrity Golf Outing, presented by Miller Lite.

Join former Sox greats Carlton Fisk and Bo Jackson along with current White Sox coaches and players, team broadcasters Hawk Harrelson, Steve Stone, Ed Farmer and Darrin Jackson and other Chicago sports notables as we tee it up at Harborside International Golf Center on Monday, June 16. Each foursome will be paired with a celebrity.

What’s Ahead

While the Crosstown Classic is the big event of the week, the Brewers will face the Yankees in inter-league play at Miller Park next weekend.

Midwest college and high school teams will soon enter their playoff and tournaments. Look for some coverage of those results in future MDR Blog.

##

The MDR Blog can be found at the locations below:

** http://midwestdiamondreport.mlblogs.com
** www.onwisconsinsports.com
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