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Hart powers Crew past Cards; Greinke brilliant in 2012 debut

April 7, 2012 Comments off

Corey Hart's second-inning home run was estimated at 447 feet, landing at about this spot.

 

MILWAUKEE — So much for easing Corey Hart into the regular season.

After a knee injury in Spring Training required surgery, it was unclear whether Hart would be ready to go on Opening Day for the second year in a row.

Through two games, Hart appears to be in midseason form.

Following a 1-for-2 performance Friday, Hart blasted two no-doubt home runs Saturday as the Brewers picked up their first win of the season, 6-0, over the Cardinals.

“I think it was big for us to come back today and show that we’re still a good team,” Hart said. “I think we did that.”

Hart’s first homer went deep into the second deck in left, while the second was a two-run shot to center field. Between the two, Hart had an estimated 860 feet worth of home runs on the day.

Not bad for a guy with a knee that is not yet at 100 percent.

“He’s really seeing the ball well,” said manager Ron Roenicke. “Hopefully he’ll come in tomorrow feeling well and we can get him back in there.”

Rickie Weeks also homered in the game, while Aramis Ramirez had a key RBI double in the sixth inning for his first hit in a Brewers uniform. Add in a 2-for-3 day by Ryan Braun — with a pair of doubles, a walk and a run scored — and the Crew showed just how good the offense could be this year, even without Prince Fielder batting cleanup.

All they really needed Saturday was the one run, which Hart provided with his second-inning blast that nearly went over Bernie Brewer’s slide beyond the left field bleachers. That’s because Zack Greinke delivered one of his best outings since coming to Milwaukee last offseason.

Greinke had everything working in his 2012 debut, facing the minimum through 4 1/3 innings. Had it not been for three singles in the fifth and sixth innings — two of which were nearly outs — Greinke may have been on his way to a complete game. Instead, he turned in a stellar seven frames, giving up just four hits and striking out seven batters without a walk.

After starting the season without both Hart and Greinke a year ago, the Brewers already are enjoying what each of them brings to the table just two games in. Full seasons out of both All-Stars could go a long way toward making up for the lost production of Fielder.

“It makes a difference,” Roenicke said. “Last year, we didn’t have those two guys together for quite a while.”

Marlins, Sanchez struggle in loss to Brewers

September 24, 2010 Comments off

MILWAUKEE — It was a rough night for Marlins starter Anibal Sanchez. Things weren’t much easier for his teammates at the plate against Brewers ace Yovani Gallardo.

Sanchez (12-11) allowed five runs over 5 1/3 innings of work, while surrendering a season-high 10 hits to the Brewers as the Marlins lost, 8-3, on Thursday night at Miller Park.

Through four innings, however, things didn’t look so bad for Sanchez, as he looked to be putting together a strong outing and his team trailed by just one run.

All-Star right fielder Corey Hart got things started for the Brewers with a first-inning home run — his 30th of the season — while adding a pair of singles in the third and fifth innings, as he put together a 3-for-5 night with two RBIs.

That run would be the only one allowed by Sanchez through four innings. He surrendered two more in the fifth, but his manager still thought he was pitching well at that point.

“Anibal, I think he was good in the first five innings,” Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez said. “Then he ran into bad luck with bloopers and then a soft line drive, and then he got himself in trouble. When you’re facing an offensive team like Milwaukee, they take advantage of everything.”

The Brewers did just that in the sixth. Casey McGehee led off with a single and Sanchez hit Mat Gamel with a pitch, putting two on with none out. Following a flyout to left, Luis Cruz blooped one in for a single to center, loading the bases for Gallardo.

Despite Sanchez’s best efforts against the Brewers starter, he added a single to left, which drove in two runs and proved to be the end of the night for the Marlins right-hander.

“[Gallardo’s] a pretty good hitter, too,” Sanchez said. “My slider’s my best pitch. I threw it to him and he made contact.”

Sanchez did not escape a single inning without allowing a hit, despite holding the Brewers to just one run through four. The loss was the third in Sanchez’s past four starts, as he’s posted a 6.95 ERA, while allowing 17 runs on 26 hits in 22 innings of work.

When asked about Sanchez’s poor numbers in September, Rodriguez attributed them to Sanchez being “overworked,” while adding his thoughts about Sanchez’s season as a whole.

“If the season is over today, I would say Anibal Sanchez had a great season,” Rodriguez said. “He’s been pitching very, very well. Just for the fact that he’s healthy and he’s throwing — that’s good news.”

On the mound for the Brewers, Gallardo delivered 6 2/3 innings, surrendering three runs on seven hits while walking two and recording nine strikeouts.

The Marlins’ No. 1-6 hitters particularly struggled, combining to go 3-for-19 against Gallardo, with six strikeouts and one RBI.

“The main thing for me is getting ahead — starting off with strike one,” Gallardo said. “That opens everything up for you to throw your slider, curveball, and it gets them to swing early.”

“We’re still trying to figure out what pitch that was,” Rodriguez said of the pitch that got rookie Logan Morrison to swing and miss. “It was either a changeup or a split-finger. Morrison came into the dugout saying, ‘I had no chance on that pitch.’

“That’s why he’s one of the best in the league.”

Gallardo (14-7) was shutting out the Marlins through six innings while limiting them to just four hits. In the seventh, the bottom of the order sparked a rally, as Mike Stanton and Brad Davis recorded back-to-back singles and scored on a Cameron Maybin single which was misplayed by Brewers center fielder Lorenzo Cain for an error.

Morrison proved to be the final batter faced by Gallardo, who walked the Marlins left fielder. Capping off the inning, Dan Uggla added the Marlins’ third run with a single off reliever Kameron Loe, scoring Maybin from third base.

Right-hander Sandy Rosario made his Major League debut in the seventh inning, and the Brewers welcomed him with back-to-back homers. On his first pitch in the big leagues, Rosario surrendered a solo homer to Rickie Weeks. Two pitches later, Prince Fielder went deep with his 31st of the season.

An inning after the offense managed to pull the Marlins back within two runs, Rosario’s rough debut put the game out of reach.

With the seventh-inning rally proving to be for naught, the highlight of the game for the Marlins ended up being Morrison’s walk. With the free pass, Morrison extended his streak to 42 consecutive games in which he has reached base safely, tying him with Mark Teixeira for the longest such streak in the Majors this season.

Afterward, though, Morrison was more disappointed about the team’s loss and less interested in talking about his own personal accomplishments.

“It would’ve felt better if we won the game,” Morrison said. “I don’t really know what to say about that. We didn’t win the game today, and I didn’t make a play for Anibal I needed to make that kind of blew the game open, and we weren’t able to come back from it.”

Playoff return highlights 2000s turnaround

August 28, 2010 Comments off

MILWAUKEE — Along with the turn of the century and the start of a new millennium, the 2000s marked a new era of Brewers baseball, one that included a playoff appearance.

It began in 2001 with the opening of Miller Park, the Brewers’ new state-of-the-art, $400 million home. The changes continued in 2002, when Doug Melvin was named general manager of the club. In 2004, the Brewers had new ownership, as Mark Attanasio took over the club from Commissioner Allan H. “Bud” Selig.

All that set the stage for the team’s return to the playoffs, 26 years after losing the 1982 World Series.

Brewers alumni Geoff Jenkins and Bob Wickman are scheduled to participate Friday in a pregame autograph session to celebrate the 2000s as part of the Brewers’ 40th Anniversary season. On Sunday, all fans will receive a collectible Brewers Bobble Head doll, featuring CC Sabathia securing the final out of the regular-season finale, playoff-clinching game in 2008, compliments of Palermo’s Pizza and Piggly Wiggly.

Inaugural Season
After a one-year delay due to a fatal crane accident, Miller Park finally opened its doors to the public on April 6, 2001. Among those in attendance were President George W. Bush and Selig, both of whom threw out ceremonial first pitches.

With his 435-foot home run in the bottom of the eighth, first baseman Richie Sexson sent the crowd of 42,024 home happy, as the Brewers secured the first win at Miller Park, 5-4, over the Cincinnati Reds.

The Brewers’ new ballpark got rave reviews, to say the least.

“There’s no comparison,” said former Brewers infielder Jim Gantner. “This is an awesome building and a great place to play. You miss County Stadium, but when you see this, you forget about it real quick.”

“I did play in County Stadium and know what it was like to play there,” Sexson said. “This is definitely 10 times better than County Stadium.”

While much of the credit for getting the ballpark built goes to Selig, and deservedly so, the Milwaukee native, along with his daughter, credited the fans on Opening Day 2001.

“There are many people that played a role in building this magnificent park,” Selig told the fans. “But none are greater than all of you.”

“You’re the best fans in the world,” added then-team president Wendy Selig-Prieb. “Enjoy this wonderful ballpark. You deserve it.”

In their first season playing at Miller Park, the Brewers had high hopes, but weren’t any better than previous seasons. In fact, they were worse, finishing 2001 in fourth place in the National League Central with a 68-94 record as injuries decimated the team in the second half.

One year later, the ballpark, with its unique fan-shaped roof, was host to the first 100-loss season in Brewers history, as the Crew finished 56-106, good for last in the division. With that came more changes for the Brewers, this time in the front office.

Melvin gets a second chance
In April 2002, the Brewers fired manager Davey Lopes after just 15 games as Milwaukee skidded out to a 3-12 record in Lopes’ third season at the helm. Five months later, general manager Dean Taylor was cut loose as well, as the Brewers shook up their front office.

Doug Melvin was tabbed for the job, given a second chance to show what he could do running a Major League club. Melvin, the former Texas Rangers general manager who led that franchise to three division titles in four years during the 1990s, was named the eighth general manager in Brewers history on Sept. 25, 2002.

“I don’t believe in rebuilding plans,” Melvin said in a spirited press conference. “If there was a three-year plan, I would wait and buy a ticket in, what, 2005? I don’t believe in that, I want people to be a part of this process to get to where we want to go.

“We’ll enjoy it a lot more if we do it together.”

Melvin brought in former Jays general manager Gord Ash as his assistant GM and hired manager Ned Yost, who brought along with him a new coaching staff. But Melvin’s best move in his first days as general manager now appears to have been keeping amateur scouting director Jack Zduriencik in place.

Under Zduriencik, the Brewers put together some of the best Drafts in club history, restocking their system with top-level talent, and building one of the best cores of young players in the Major Leagues.

Among those draft during Zduriencik’s tenure are former first-round picks Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder, second baseman Rickie Weeks, former Brewers shortstop J.J. Hardy, right fielder Corey Hart, staff ace Yovani Gallardo, catcher Jonathan Lucroy and center fielder Lorenzo Cain.

As well as building from within, one of Melvin’s best moves as general manager came in 2008, when he traded highly rated prospects Matt LaPorta, Michael Brantley and Zach Jackson to the Indians for Sabathia, who would help carry the Brewers to the Wild Card.

New Ownership
Along with Melvin, Ash and Yost, the organization brought in another new face in 2004, as Mark Attanasio, a Los Angeles investment banker and New York native, took over the club from the previous ownership group, which included Selig-Prieb.

When introduced at a news conference on Oct. 4, 2004, as the Brewers’ owner-elect, Attanasio said he was “up to the challenge” of turning around the ballclub. He also admitted he had dreamed as a child of owning a Major League baseball club.

“As a kid, I lived, breathed and died with the Yankees forever,” Attanasio said. “Once I realized that I wasn’t going to be able to hit a curveball, I gave up dreams of playing Major League Baseball, and when I got a little older thought maybe one day I could own a team.”

One of Attanasio’s biggest impacts upon taking over as the team’s principal owner was a commitment to raising the payroll to make the Brewers more competitive, despite playing in the smallest market in baseball.

After the payroll dipped as low as $27.5 million in 2004, it was raised to $39.9 million in Attanasio’s first season as owner. A year later, the Brewers’ payroll was up to $57.6 million, and by Opening Day 2007, it reached $71 million. When the Brewers reached the playoffs in 2008, the payroll was up to $80.9 million, and in 2010, the Opening Day payroll was up to $90.4 million.

Even with the financial commitment of Attanasio’s ownership group, he acknowledged in his first news conference at Miller Park that he had a lot to do to match the legacy of the Selig family in Milwaukee.

“The Attanasio family feels it has big shoes to fill here,” Attanasio said. “But that being said, we know that we can be the stewards of baseball in Milwaukee for the next 35 years.”

With Melvin, Ash, Yost and Attanasio in place, the Brewers were just a few years away from ending their playoff drought.

The Wait Is Over
When the Brewers returned from St. Louis in 1982 having lost to the Cardinals in the World Series, no one could have guessed it would take 26 years for the club to return to the playoffs. After all, they were expected to be back the following season.

But time after time, the Brewers’ best ballclubs came up short in 1983, ’88, ’91 and ’92. Even in ’07, when the Brewers led the division for much of the season, they came up just two games behind the Chicago Cubs.

Finally, in 2008, it was the Brewers’ turn.

Milwaukee entered the 2008 campaign with high expectations after the ’07 season saw the Brewers post their first winning record since ’92. In an effort to bolster their playoff hopes, Melvin brought in Sabathia just before the All-Star break on July 7. Sabathia was so dominant over the final three months of the season for the Crew that he even garnered a few votes for the NL Cy Young Award.

In 17 starts for the Brewers in 2008, Sabathia went 11-2 with a 1.65 ERA, tossing seven complete games, including three shutouts. Aside from a near no-hitter against the Pirates in Pittsburgh, the most impressive of those seven complete games was Sabathia’s last.

On the final day of the regular season, Sabathia made his third consecutive start on three days’ rest and worked all nine innings in the most clutch pitching performance in Brewers history. In front of 45,299 fans, Sabathia threw 122 pitches, struck out seven, scattered four hits and allowed only one unearned run.

“It’s unbelievable what he has done for the guys on this team, this organization and this city,” left fielder Ryan Braun said. “He’s revived baseball in Milwaukee. He took whatever expectation we had and destroyed it.”

Braun played a pretty big role in the club’s run as well. On that night, Braun made the difference at the plate, as he blasted a tie-breaking, two-run home run with two outs in the eighth inning, which gave the Brewers the 3-1 win.

Just days earlier, Braun delivered a grand slam in the bottom of the 10th inning for a 5-1 Brewers win.

“It doesn’t get any better than that. It’s difficult to describe,” Braun said. “The grand slam the other night, that was pretty special, but this one was pretty meaningful.”

With the Brewers finally returning to the postseason, Miller Park hosted the first two playoff games in its history on Oct. 4-5, 2008. The first game, Game 3, was the Brewers’ first win in the postseason since that 1982 World Series. Game 4 was a different story, however, as the Phillies secured a trip to the NLCS with a 6-2 win.

They came up short of winning their first playoff series since 1982, but for fans in Milwaukee and across the state of Wisconsin, the ’08 season was one to remember, and one 26 years in the making.

For the first time since 1982, the Brewers played games in October that mattered.

Jordan Schelling is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Frustrated Hart out with tight hamstring

August 24, 2010 Comments off

MILWAUKEE — He hasn’t spent a day on the disabled list this season, but the minor injuries continue to pile up for Corey Hart. If it’s not his hand, it’s his back. If not his back, his leg.

Hart added to that list of injuries on Friday night, leaving the Brewers’ 10-6 win over the Padres for precautionary reasons with tightness in his right hamstring. On Saturday, the pain kept Hart out of the Brewers’ starting lineup, and manager Ken Macha said he “could be in the lineup” on Sunday.

“It’s one of those things that I think we’re just kind of nervous to play and go out there and make it really bad and miss a lot of time instead of taking it easy for a few days,” Hart said. “I think it’s trying to play cautious and that way I don’t push it and miss more time than I need to.”

Hart, who had missed time earlier this month with back stiffness, did not think the two injuries were related.

Hart speculated that the hamstring tightness may have occurred on his first-inning triple to right field. Eventually, he realized the issue was significant enough to force him out of the ballgame in the eighth inning.

“I felt something kind of pull,” Hart said. “It just gradually kept getting tighter. After I went first to third on [Ryan Braun’s sixth-inning single], I came in right away and I was trying to wrap it up, trying to get away from it stiffening up on me.”

A few more inches on his triple, and Hart’s hamstring may never have become an issue. Hart’s ball hit high off the wall in right field, narrowly missing a home run.

Now, it’s another waiting game for Hart, something he’s grown accustomed to this season.

“It’s crazy — one after another,” Hart said. “My thumb was, like, five days, my back was a couple. It’s tough. I could go out there and try to play today, but if I do it, I might end up making it really bad and missing two or three weeks instead of a couple of days.”

Astros beat 8/7

August 8, 2010 Comments off

Mills thinks Hart was out on game-winner

MILWAUKEE — While the Brewers were celebrating a thrilling walk-off victory Friday night, the Astros and manager Brad Mills weren’t so sure about the game’s final run.

As right fielder Corey Hart scored the winning run Friday night, Mills was convinced he was out. His opinion remained the same Saturday afternoon.

Unfortunately, the ensuing celebration made it tough for Mills to voice his opinion.

“That is the toughest way to argue a call,” Mills said. “To go out there when everybody is running around — the umpires want to leave, they’re trying to get off the field, and I’m trying to state my case as he’s walking off. It’s a bad place to be.

“They were picking Hart up off the ground as I was running around trying to get to the umpire. That’s a tough situation.”

A closer look at Hart’s slide shows his left leg was several inches off the ground as Astros catcher Jason Castro turned to tag the All-Star right fielder. From the camera angle behind the plate, however, it’s difficult to see whether Hart scores before the tag is applied.

Mills said his catcher could have been better positioned on the play, though he understands the difficulty of catching the throw from right fielder Hunter Pence and making the tag at the plate.

“The ball is always going to travel quicker than the guy is able to get the ball and reach back,” Mills said. “We try to get the guys to straddle the bag and let the ball travel.

“When the ball’s coming from right field, it’s the worst for the catcher. His eyes are on the ball, and he can’t even see the runner out of his periphery. It makes it really difficult.”

Astros like Wallace’s approach at the plate

MILWAUKEE — Like the rest of the National League, the Astros are still learning just what kind of hitter rookie first baseman Brett Wallace could be.

Through five starts and 17 at-bats, early indications have been good.

Wallace showed off one part of his skill set Friday night as he drove a double into the gap in left-center field in the fifth, scoring shortstop Geoff Blum from first base. Hits to left-center field were a common theme for Wallace in the Minors.

In particular, manager Brad Mills also likes the calm approach Wallace seems to have in the batter’s box, regardless of the outcome.

“Isn’t that nice to see?” Mills said. “As a young kid, that sure looks nice.”

Bourn has green light when he feels right

MILWAUKEE — When it comes to stealing bases, it’s up to Michael Bourn to decide when he thinks it’s the right situation to go for it.

When Bourn reached base twice on Friday night, manager Brad Mills reminded his center fielder of that fact more often than usual. With Brewers catcher George Kottaras having thrown out just 16 percent of basestealers this season, the Astros knew they could have an easy time on the bases.

But Mills didn’t want to force Bourn to steal.

“I tried to emphasize him running, but you don’t want to force him to run,” Mills said. “He has to be able to feel it.

“He tried to go a couple times and just didn’t feel it. You can’t force a guy to run when he doesn’t feel comfortable, especially a guy like Michael.”

He finished the night with a pair of stolen bases, but Bourn might have had more if his right foot was feeling 100 percent

Bourn has been slowed since his foot was hit with a pitch Wednesday in St. Louis, though he has not missed any time. Although he was left out of the starting lineup Saturday, it had more to do with Bourn’s numbers against left-handed pitching than his right foot.

“It was sore last night. As he was coming off the field, I think you could [see that],” Mills said. “He said it hurts him more to jog than to run.”

Jordan Schelling is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Teammates applaud Hart’s extension

August 3, 2010 Comments off

CHICAGO — As the Brewers signed right fielder Corey Hart to a three-year extension on Monday, they solidified the corner-outfield spots through at least the 2013 season.

Left fielder Ryan Braun, who’s signed through the 2015 season, was happy for Hart.

“It’s exciting, I’m excited for him. He’s had to overcome a lot,” Braun said. “I think it’s just a sign of his character and his perseverance. I think he’s a great teammate and he’s a great player. He’s a great person to have as one of your core guys to build around for the franchise.”

Drafted by Milwaukee in the 11th round of the 2000 First-Year Player Draft, the 28-year-old Hart is the longest-tenured player in the organization.

Right up there with Hart is left-handed starter Manny Parra, who was drafted in the 26th round in 2001. Having grown close to Hart over the years, Parra was happy to see the Brewers sign him long term.

“I think after people were doubting what he was able to do, it’s great,” Parra said. “Last year was a below-par year for what he’s capable of doing, and he’s proving that this year. For him to redeem himself like that is great.”

Hart’s teammates were especially happy for him considering those circumstances, as Hart struggled in 2009 and in Spring Training this season, eventually leading to his name being left of the All-Star ballot and out of the Opening Day starting lineup.

“Anything could have happened in Spring Training,” said Brewers manager Ken Macha, referring to the uncertainty surrounding Hart at the time. “Now he’s put himself in a position to get this contract.”

Brewers beat 7/27

July 28, 2010 Comments off

Hart likely to remain with Brewers

MILWAUKEE — Right fielder Corey Hart said all along that he wanted to remain with the Brewers. This isn’t exactly the scenario he had in mind.

Hart missed his fourth consecutive start on Tuesday with a sore right thumb and said he’s hoping to return to Milwaukee’s lineup on Friday in Houston.

“I felt better throwing today than I did yesterday,” Hart said. “I took some dry swings today because it was feeling better. I’m not quite ready, but it’s a lot of progress from the past couple days.

“I probably still won’t play tomorrow, but I might be able to hit tomorrow. … Then I’m sure I’ll do stuff on the off-day in Houston, and then I’d imagine I can do everything on Friday. I think I’ll be ready on Friday.”

The ill-timed injury has likely cost the Brewers any chance to shop their All-Star right fielder in trade talks ahead of Saturday’s non-waiver Trade Deadline.

Before he was hurt in a collision with the outfield wall last weekend against the Nationals, Hart was reportedly drawing some interest from a number of teams, including the Giants, Padres, Braves and Rays, all of whom possess the kind of young pitching that Brewers general manager Doug Melvin would seek in return for one of his established hitters.

But as the Brewers continue to win, carrying a five-game winning streak into Tuesday night’s contest, manager Ken Macha and the club would like to get Hart back on the field as soon as they can, provided he remains in a Brewers uniform.

“I spoke with him today. He still has some discomfort, but he says it’s getting better every day,” Macha said. “I asked him about the Houston series and he’s feeling good about that.

“He’s still a ways off. I asked him about Houston, he said he hopes so.”

Hawkins eyeing weekend return

MILWAUKEE — After more than 2 1/2 months on the disabled list, veteran reliever LaTroy Hawkins finally has a set date for his expected return to the Brewers.

“He’ll probably be activated during the Houston series,” manager Ken Macha said.

Hawkins, who went on the DL with right shoulder weakness on May 9, pitched two scoreless innings on Monday night for the Nashville Sounds, allowing just two hits, while tossing 21 strikes in 28 pitches.

Most important for Hawkins, a 37-year-old right-hander, he has not had any setbacks since beginning his rehab assignment, and he felt as good on Monday night as he has since going on the DL.

“When you’re injured, you always have to think about, ‘Am I ever going to feel like I felt before I got injured?'” Hawkins said.

Since starting his rehab assignment on July 15, Hawkins has pitched for the Brewers’ Rookie League team in Arizona, as well as the club’s Triple-A affiliate in Nashville.

Hawkins, who is in his 16th season in the Major Leagues, learned a lot during his time away from the field.

“You kind of find yourself when you’re on the DL. You’ve got a lot of time to think and reflect and do a lot of other things that make you not take this game for granted,” Hawkins said. “Going back to the Minor Leagues is definitely a humbling experience, seeing those guys and how hard they work.

“It makes you appreciate where you are and what you have.”

With his return expected this weekend in Houston, Hawkins will be joining the club on the road trip, something that hasn’t happened in quite a while.

How does Hawkins feel to be getting back on the road with the club?

“Good,” Hawkins said, “especially going on the road in the big leagues.”

Brewers take part in community work

MILWAUKEE — The Brewers Community Foundation gave itself a well-deserved pat on the back Tuesday and announced it had raised $1.5 million so far in 2010 for nonprofit groups in Wisconsin.

Prince Fielder, Rickie Weeks, Craig Counsell and Doug Davis attended a press conference at Rainbow Park in West Allis, Wis., to highlight the contributions of 15 Brewers players to various community causes. Those players then took part in mini-clinics with kids at Harvey Kuenn Field, which received assistance from the Brewers’ charitable arm last summer after sustaining flood damage.

Other Brewers were active in the community on Tuesday, too. John Axford, Zach Braddock, Chris Capuano, Kameron Loe and Dave Riske joined a group of former big leaguers that included Jim Gantner and Larry Hisle for a clinic hosted by the Major League Baseball Players Association Players’ Trust. More than 250 local Little Leaguers and members of the Boys and Girls Club took part.

A few hours later, Capuano, Counsell, Weeks, Corey Hart and Trevor Hoffman hosted the Players Association’s “Buses for Baseball” event. The players welcomed 50 students from Our Next Generation, an organization that provides academic support and other services to urban children.

Worth noting

Brewers prospects will be part of the Surprise Rafters in this year’s Arizona Fall League, and Double-A Huntsville manager Mike Guerrero will serve as the team’s skipper. The league announced its club and staff assignments on Tuesday, and the Brewers were paired with the Tigers, Royals, Cardinals and Rangers at Surprise Stadium, the Spring Training home of the Royals and Rangers. Rosters are typically finalized in late August and play begins this year on Oct. 12.

Jordan Schelling is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.