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Brewers beat 6/22

June 22, 2010 Comments off

Macha confident Hoffman can close again

MILWAUKEE — With the way Trevor Hoffman has been pitching lately, the possibility of the all-time saves leader closing for the Brewers again still exists, manager Ken Macha said Tuesday.

Hoffman’s most recent outing entering Tuesday, a scoreless eighth inning during a 1-1 ballgame on Sunday in Colorado, earned him the decision in the Brewers’ eventual 6-1 victory. It was Hoffman’s fifth consecutive scoreless appearance.

Since he gave up three runs and took the loss on June 1 against the Marlins, Hoffman has allowed only three hits.

“After that outing, I’d feel pretty good about him coming in now,” Macha said. “I thought the other day was his best outing. … He certainly threw the ball well enough to close the game.”

Macha was quick to point out that the decision was not an easy one to make, especially considering the criticism that would come along with replacing current closer John Axford, who began the series against the Twins a perfect 4-for-4 in save opportunities.

“It puts you out on the plank,” Macha said. “But I think he’s done real well, so let’s just see. I’ve got that amongst the other pressures that are placed on me when I come to the ballpark every day.”

As for whether he would remove Axford from the role, Macha said it would “work itself out.”

At the same time, however, Macha recognizes what it would mean for Hoffman to get the four saves he needs to reach the 600-save mark.

“I certainly would like Trevor to reach his goal,” Macha said. “If that’s getting 600, I’d like to get that done for him, or 610, or whatever he wants.

“He hasn’t given up an earned run since June 1. The game was on the line the other day; we had a tie game with the heart of their order coming up. It’s a good inning for him.”

Edmonds returns to lineup in opener

MILWAUKEE — After he was unavailable to play over the weekend due to a shoulder injury, veteran Jim Edmonds was back in center field on Tuesday for the Brewers.

According to manager Ken Macha, the shoulder was fine.

“He said he’s fine, yeah,” Macha said. “He texted [trainer] Roger [Caplinger] and said he’s ready to go, so he’s in there.”

Edmonds, who will turn 40 on Sunday, got the start against Minnesota over former Twins center fielder Carlos Gomez, who was acquired by the Brewers during the offseason in a trade that sent shortstop J.J. Hardy west.

Since returning from the disabled list on May 21 at Target Field for the Brewers’ first Interleague series, Gomez has struggled at the plate.

After collecting five hits in Minneapolis, including a 2-for-4 night with a three-run homer in his first game back, Gomez is 12-for-80 (.150) since May 23.

Over the same stretch, Gomez has picked up five RBIs, stolen two bases and walked four times, while tallying 12 strikeouts.

“He’s struggling a little bit,” Macha said. “I think he has the tendency to over-swing a bit. He wants to hit it by them hard. He’s in a little bit of a funk.”

Fourth-rounder Morris works out with Brewers

MILWAUKEE — With his team off until Friday, first baseman Hunter Morris, the Brewers’ fourth-round pick in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, joined the club on Tuesday at Miller Park.

Morris, a 6-foot-2, 200-pound first baseman from Auburn University, has been busy since leaving home for Wisconsin early last week. He was assigned to the Class A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, located in Appleton.

“I left my house on Sunday afternoon of last week and drove almost all the way to Milwaukee,” Morris said. “I got my physical Monday morning, got up to Appleton Monday night, and then 7:30 the next morning, I’m on a four-hour bus ride to Clinton, Iowa.”

Morris has not spent much time in Appleton yet, but he said that “it’s a nice place.” He added that he was excited to be there, but “more excited about the opportunity to play baseball.”

For Morris, who worked out at Miller Park as a high school senior, as well, the week has been filled with many unfamiliar places.

“That was the first time I’ve ever been to Clinton, Iowa,” Morris said. “And I know for a fact it won’t be the last. I’ve been all across the country but never to Clinton, Iowa.”

Morris, selected 129th overall by the Brewers earlier this month, was among the first Draft picks to sign with the club.

He said that he had no interest in prolonging the signing process.

“I was ready to start playing,” Morris said. “I didn’t have any interest in missing the whole summer negotiating and all that stuff. So I’m excited about getting out there and playing.”

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

Morris, Brewers surprised by fall to 4th round

June 8, 2010 Comments off

MILWAUKEE — Hunter Morris didn’t expect to still be on the board in the fourth round. The Brewers, who selected Morris with their fourth-round pick, didn’t either.

With his name not being called through the first three rounds, Morris began to worry a bit.

“I was on the phone with my dad,” Morris said, “and we were kind of sitting there with raised eyebrows, saying, ‘What’s going on?’”

Morris, who said he was driving to his apartment at the time, got his answer shortly thereafter. As they were talking, his dad interrupted to congratulate him. After the wait, Morris was thrilled with the news and relieved for the process to be over with.

With the 129th overall pick, just 11 slots after teammate Trent Mummey was taken by the Baltimore Orioles, the Milwaukee Brewers took Morris, a first baseman from Auburn.

“He was too hard to pass up,” said Bruce Seid, scouting director. “We liked him a lot out of high school. We’ve known him a long time. … He fits the profile of what a first baseman should look like.”

Morris, who was previously drafted by the Red Sox in 2007, has an above-average bat all around with impressive raw power as a left-handed hitter. On the basepaths, he’s said to have better-than-expected speed.

Defensively, Morris has improved at first base and is considered athletic enough, with a good enough arm as well, to play a corner outfield spot.

Physically, he’s drawn comparisons to Brad Hawpe of the Colorado Rockies. And while he was a little overweight early in his college career, he has lost some weight recently and changed his body significantly.

Morris’ hometown, Huntsville, Ala., also happens to be the home of the Brewers’ Double-A affiliate in the Southern League, the Huntsville Stars.

But after waiting longer than expected to hear his name called Tuesday, the Huntsville native didn’t have his sights set on his hometown Minor League club.

“I would like to everything I can to not spend too much time in Huntsville. I’d like to get to Milwaukee as fast as possible,” Morris said. “I think I can bring a lot to that part of the organization.

“There are a lot of people in Huntsville that have followed me and my baseball career. Hopefully, I’ll get to play in front of those fans here in the next year or so.”

Jordan Schelling is an associate reporter for MLB.com.