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No shortage of praise for Hoffman in Brewers clubhouse

September 9, 2010 Comments off

Following last night’s thriller, which featured career save No. 600 for Trevor Hoffman, we had a sidebar on his Brewers teammates’ reactions to the moment.

While that story captured the emotions and feelings in the clubhouse, there was far too much to fit in after the game. With a guy like Hoffman who’s frequently described as the “best teammate,” there was hardly of lack of things to say in the home clubhouse.

Braun: “Like we were going to the playoffs”

According to left fielder Ryan Braun, the emotion following the final out of the game was far greater than the meaningless early September game that it starter out as.

“It felt like we were going to the playoffs,” he said. “It was exciting. I think it was exciting for all of us to have something to celebrate, for all of us to have been a part of something so special. That’s something that we might not ever see again. Who knows if anybody else ever gets to 600 saves.”

Coffey: “I was 100 percent spectator”

Perhaps most excited about the achievement — more so even than Hoffman himself — were Hoffman’s bullpen mates.

Reliever Todd Coffey described his feelings as “beyond goosebumps” as he become more of a spectator than a teammate. After that, he went on for a few minutes about the emotions he felt both when Hoffman entered the game and recorded his 600th save.

“As soon as he walked out of the bullpen, the entire bullpen was up and I think we were all clapping louder than the fans, we were hollering louder than the fans,” Coffey said. “I don’t think any of us actually realized we were in the bullpen. We were all out there with Hoffy.

“We were hanging over, we even thought about, ‘let’s just jump the wall and go. Then we thought, ‘we better not jump the wall.’

“I think me, Zach [Braddock] and Kam[eron Loe] all hit the pile at the same time. I think I felt the whole pile moving when we hit it. It’s an experience that I’ll never forget. He’s always there for every one of us. For us to be there for him, it’s amazing. He cares less about himself and more about his teammates than anything else.”

Davis: “Just incredible”

Others had less to say, but their thoughts were no less insightful.

Veteran left-handed starter Doug Davis recalled being part of a similar moment early in his career.

“Definitely the most exciting thing I’ve ever been a part of,” Davis said. “My first win was John Wetteland’s 300th save. I thought that was impressive, but this, twice as many saves, it’s just incredible.”

Bush: “An amazing number”

Another Brewers starter, right-hander Dave Bush, took particular notice of the number of people in the dugout during that final inning, as everyone wanted the best view they could get of Hoffman’s historic save.

“It’s an amazing number, one that nobody’s ever gotten to before,” Bush said. “I can’t even fathom at all what it takes to reach that.

“It was exciting. Probably the most people I’ve ever seen in the dugout in the ninth inning. Everybody was coming down here because they wanted to be as close to it as they could. As a player, moments like that are few and far between. To be his teammate and to be around for something like is just awesome.”

Lucroy: “I’m totally lucky and blessed”

After beginning the season at Double-A Huntsville, catcher Jonathan Lucroy called the game Tuesday night, including Hoffman’s thrilling ninth.

As he waited on the mound for the all-time saves leader, with “Hell’s Bells” blaring from the stadium speakers, Lucroy said he had goosebumps and began to shake from the nerves.

He stayed relaxed behind the plate, though, and didn’t change a thing. Until the final out as he ran down toward first base.

“It’s something that I’ll remember for the rest of my life and cherish,” Lucroy said. “To be able to remember something like that, it’s a blessing for me to even be able to experience it.

“To see him achieve a goal like that is just something that every baseball player lives for. It couldn’t have happened to a better guy. He totally deserves it. It’s an honor for me to even be here and just experience it.

“I was jacked up and excited. I told myself I was going to sacrifice my life to get an out for him if I needed to. I was going to go everything I could to get an out, no matter what I had to do, I was going to sacrifice everything for him.

“For somebody like that, to put in the kind of work he has, to play for as long as he has, and have the kind of character that he has, and for something like that to happen to him, and for me to even be there and be a part of it, it’s an unbelievable feeling.

“I was the first one [to the mound]. Usually I run down to first base and back up on ground balls, but I cut it off halfway. I was going to go get there first as fast as I could. I grabbed him and he grabbed me in a headlock and then everybody else hit and we went at it.

“It’s not very often you see grown men crying out there and there were grown men crying on the field. It was very emotional, I was trying to hold back as best I could. It’s just the payoff for so much hard work and just shows you that if you work hard and be a good person in this game there’s a lot of good things that happen to you.

“I’m totally lucky and blessed to even be here. To experience that, I don’t even deserve that. I don’t even deserve to be on the same field as that guy.”

Axford: “My heart was racing the entire time”

Of course, no story about Hoffman’s historic accomplishment would be complete without some mention of his replacement, rookie John Axford.

As has been the case all season, Axford had nothing but positive things to say about his mentor in the Brewers bullpen.

“He’s meant everything to my development because he carries about his business perfectly. He does everything right,” Axford said. “That’s been the best mentor for me. I just try to watch him and see what he does and see how I can build upon that. Every time I go out there I just try and do right by Trevor. I just want to do basically what Trevor would do and do things the right way.

“My heart was racing the entire time once the ‘Hell’s Bells’ started. My heart was going and it didn’t stop the entire time until we’re actually here right now and I’m still talking a mile a minute. I still feel the emotion and the rush from it. I think it was absolutely unbelievable.”

“It’s a cool kind of turn around. At the beginning of the year, I got my first save and Hoffy went in and got a hold for me. Now I got to go in and save that game for him, which is probably going to be the best hold of my entire life right there. I’m definitely glad I was in that game for sure.”

McGehee: “The ultimate professional”

Third baseman Casey McGehee admitted he was nervous when Hoffman entered the game. In fact, he was just hoping the ball wasn’t hit to him.

Once the final out had been recorded, however, McGehee was thrilled to be a part of such a big moment and to have played with someone who is the all-time leader in any category.

“I think the reaction of all the guys kind of let everybody see how important to this team and to us he is,” McGehee said. “You couldn’t have asked for it to happen to a better guy. He’s the ultimate professional with everything he does.

“There’s not too many people you played with that you can say you played with the all-time best anything. When my career is over and I’m sitting around telling stories at a bar somewhere, that’s going to be one of the ones I tell.

“You can’t block that out, we all knew what was going on. Most of us, we’re huge fans of the game. Coming up, we remember watching Trevor Hoffman when he was in his prime and he was virtually unhittable. To be any small part of it, it’s pretty special.

“Some of these guys that got called up today, first day in the big leagues, not a bad way to start your big league career.”

Fielder: “Happy to be a part of it”

The final out was recorded by Prince Fielder, as veteran shortstop Craig Counsell fielded a ground ball and fired to Fielder at first.

As Fielder closed his first-baseman’s mitt on the ball, he joined McGehee and Lucroy as the first three players to embrace Hoffman on the mound.

“It was awesome,” Fielder said. “Coming into this year, you knew he was close to getting it. Everything he had to go through to get to it and he finally got it, I’m really happy for him. It’s really awesome.

“It [ranks] up there just because it’s your teammate and it’s a really special moment and something that nobody else has ever done. That’s what makes it even more special and I’m just really happy to be a part of it.

Narveson: “Pretty amazing”

But none of it would have been possible had it not been for an impressive seven-inning performance by lefty starter Chris Narveson.

His brilliance on the mound was lost in the shuffle, but everything was set up by one of Narveson’s best starts of the 2010 season.

“That was pretty amazing,” Narveson said. “To be able to witness it and be the guy that started that game, was pretty special.”

Hoffman’s teammates take pride in 600

September 8, 2010 Comments off

MILWAUKEE — Judging by their reaction after the final out in Tuesday night’s 4-2 victory over the Cardinals, you might think the Brewers had just won the World Series.

While that may not have been the case, what they experienced certainly ranks up there pretty close. As shortstop Craig Counsell fired to Prince Fielder at first, all-time saves leader Trevor Hoffman recorded career save No. 600.

“To have that final out hit to Milwaukee’s own, sure-handed Craig Counsell, that was rather fitting,” said Hoffman.

As Fielder caught the feed from Counsell, the Brewers mobbed Hoffman on the mound.

“To be a part of it was great because of how much admiration we all have for Trevor,” Counsell said. “That’s what makes it special. Hopefully, that came out [in the celebration]. The way he does his job is the way we all try to do ours.”

For rookie John Axford, the moment presented a fitting role reversal.

When Axford entered with one out in the eighth, he appeared to be in line for the five-out save and his 21st of the season. Instead, the historic moment finally arrived for Hoffman.

“We all understood that this was a moment for him,” Axford said. “I was just hoping inside that he was going to go out there. I know he deserves it and I knew he could get it done.”

After the emotional on-field ceremony that ensued, Axford was reminded by teammate Zach Braddock of an interesting relationship between Hoffman’s save No. 600 and the first of the 2010 season for Axford.

On May 23 at Target Field, after Hoffman had surrendered the closer’s duties, he delivered a scoreless eighth for a hold with the Brewers leading, 4-2, over the Twins. Three months later, it was Axford who delivered the hold in front of Hoffman.

“I felt like I had a big stake in it, too,” Axford said. “It really is unbelievable. It’s probably the best hold I’ll ever have in my entire life right there.”

Not only was it likely the most memorable hold of Axford’s career, it was also the most exciting win to date for Brewers starter Chris Narveson.

“You can’t beat starting a game with Hoffy coming in and getting 600,” Narveson said. “That will be one of the best games I’ll ever be a part of.”

When Hoffman began to warm in the bullpen during the bottom of the eighth, fans and players alike began to take notice.

In the dugout, teammates were asking Axford if it would be him or Hoffman in the ninth. As the Miller Park speakers began to play “Hells Bells,” their questions were answered. With that, they became spectators along with everyone else in attendance.

“I had beyond goosebumps,” reliever Todd Coffey said. “I was completely removed from the bullpen and everything. I was 100 percent spectator at that point.”

For the players on the field, however, the moment was more nerve wracking than anything before Counsell and Fielder recorded the final out.

“The one thought that kept going through my mind was, ‘Don’t hit the ball to me,'” said third baseman Casey McGehee. “I think I probably was more nervous than he was.”

Once save No. 600 was in the books, celebration ensued. From all directions — the outfield, infield, dugout and bullpen — Brewers players and coaches sprinted to the mound.

First among them was rookie catcher Jonathan Lucroy, who embraced Hoffman after playing an integral role in the historic moment.

“It’s something that I’ll remember for the rest of my life and cherish,” Lucroy said. “I got goosebumps standing on the mound waiting for him to get in there.

“I’ll never forget it the rest of my life.”

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

Hudson shines in D-backs’ homerfest

August 12, 2010 Comments off

MILWAUKEE — While the numbers certainly are impressive, Daniel Hudson really showed what he could do on the mound after a couple mistakes.

He’s made just eight career starts, but Hudson displayed composure like a veteran, bouncing back from a terrible start to the second inning to lead the D-backs to an 8-2 victory over the Brewers on Wednesday.

After striking out the side in the first, Hudson surrendered back-to-back home runs to Prince Fielder and Casey McGehee to open the second.

“I got 3-0 on Fielder, and I know he swings 3-0 all the time, but I know I didn’t want to walk him either the first time through the lineup,” Hudson said. “I just got lucky the scoreboard didn’t fall over after he hit it.

“Then McGehee kind of ambushed me next pitch. You’ve just got to push through that.”

Hudson did, in fine fashion.

Much like fellow young starters, Ian Kennedy and Barry Enright did in the first two games of the series, Hudson shut down the Brewers from then on — retiring 16 of the final 20 batters he faced.

“I thought he showed good composure coming back,” D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. “He was in a couple situations there, where you can see again he has great composure. He makes his pitches when he has to and he gets out of it.”

Hudson went seven innings, allowing just the two runs on seven hits while walking one to go with a career-high nine strikeouts. It was the third straight start of seven or more innings for Hudson since joining the D-backs on July 30.

In the fourth, the offense rewarded Hudson for his composure.

With one out, four D-backs belted consecutive home runs off Brewers starter Dave Bush, tying a Major League record and making Arizona the seventh team to homer in four straight at-bats.

First baseman Adam LaRoche started the run of homers and was followed by Miguel Montero, Mark Reynolds and Stephen Drew, all in the span of 10 pitches.

“It was pretty cool to be a part of it,” Reynolds said. “Rochey and Miggy got things going there and tied it up. [Bush] hung me a curveball, so I was able to put a pretty good swing on it. Stephen came up and hit it in the bullpen, and it was pretty cool.”

It was the second time in as many seasons that the D-backs hit three or more home runs off Bush in an inning at Miller Park. On May 3, 2009, Reynolds and Justin Upton went back-to-back to lead off the seventh inning, and Montero added a third with two out in the D-backs’ 4-3 loss.

Fielder went back-to-back leading off the second inning in that game as well, with Mike Cameron following him against Yusmeiro Petit.

In the sixth, Bush was chased from the game after loading the bases with two walks and a hit batsman. With one out, Hudson ripped an 0-1 fastball from reliever Todd Coffey to the gap in right-center field for a bases-clearing double, putting the game well out of reach.

With the double, Hudson upped his batting average to .222 and he has five RBIs in just eight at-bats. Those numbers certainly don’t make it look like a guy who hasn’t hit since high school.

“He’s got some athletic ability,” Gibson said. “He swings the bat good and that’s just another plus of him. As it goes on he’s going to become a better hitter, and it’s a weapon.”

Hudson (3-0) has dominated since being acquired from the White Sox. Over 22 2/3 innings with Arizona, the 23-year-old right-hander has allowed just four runs on 13 hits, while striking out 17 and walking four.

His performance marked the third straight strong start from the D-backs’ three young starters — Kennedy, Enright and Hudson — in which they have pitched a combined 19 innings, allowing seven runs on 15 hits with five walks and 15 strikeouts.

“The guy has good stuff,” McGehee said. “Good movement, good deception and he threw strikes. You add that all up and you’ve got a pretty good pitcher out there.”

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

Brewers beat 6/29

June 29, 2010 Comments off

Crew must alter rotation for Davis’ return

MILWAUKEE — At least one Brewers pitcher likely will not make their regularly scheduled start in the next homestand, manager Ken Macha said Tuesday.

If everything goes according to plan in his rehab start Wednesday for Class A Wisconsin, lefty Doug Davis will return to the rotation sometime during the Brewers’ four-game series with the Giants.

Macha does not expect to use a six-man rotation, which means one Brewers starter — not Yovani Gallardo — will be bumped from a start in the San Francisco series.

“Unless we have two guys throwing at the same time,” Macha said. “Six, I don’t think that’s going to happen. If we do six, then that pops somebody out at the other end over the last three days there.”

Without Davis’ return, the Brewers’ probable pitchers for the Giants series would be Dave Bush, Randy Wolf, Chris Narveson and Manny Parra. As Davis’ rehab start falls on Wednesday, his next outing on regular rest would coincide with Bush’s scheduled appearnace.

While Davis is anxious to return to the rotation, he understands it will force out another starter, something he is not pleased to do.

“They’re going to have to cut ties with somebody with me coming back,” Davis said. “I hate to see anybody leave and get sent down, or whatever it is, because of me.

“I know it’s part of the game, but if we’re winning I have no reason to say, ‘I can come in and do better than this guy.’ With the way we’ve been playing and the way they’ve been pitching, I can’t.”

At the same time, the success of the rest of the pitching staff only makes Davis want to get out on the mound that much sooner.

“There’s only so much you can do on the DL to help your team win,” Davis said. “Just to get back out there and get on the mound and actually contribute to a winning ballclub is something that you really can’t replace on the DL.”

Hawkins shows progress in bullpen session

MILWAUKEE — With another day came another step forward for reliever LaTroy Hawkins, who is finally seeing some progress with his right shoulder weakness.

Hawkins threw off the mound in a bullpen session Monday for the first time since going on the disabled list. By all accounts, things went as well as could have been expected.

“All reports were good,” said Brewers manager Ken Macha. “[Pitching coach] Rick [Peterson] was very pleased. I asked [bullpen catcher] Marcus [Hanel], who caught him, and he said he had some late life, he had pretty good velocity, free and easy. A lot of positive things.”

Macha said he planned to announce what the next step would be for the veteran right-hander after an upcoming bullpen session.

“We’ll wait until after Thursday,” Macha said, “and then I’ll do that update.”

Coffey working out arm angle issues

MILWAUKEE — Another reliever appears to be having arm angle issues for the Brewers.

Todd Coffey has struggled in his three appearances since returning from the disabled list on June 20. The right-hander has relinquished four runs — two earned — in one total inning of work. According to manager Ken Macha, the angle of his pitches is the issue.

“Flat. Everything’s flat in the zone,” Macha said. “Guys that he normally gets out — I think [Hunter] Pence was 2-for-11 off him and [Pedro] Feliz was 1-for-11 off him — they whacked him pretty good.”

While Coffey’s arm angle may be the cause of the flatness of his pitches, Macha said something else is causing him to have those issues.

The Brewers’ hope now is that Coffey will do what needs to be done to fix it. On Tuesday, the first step was early work for Coffey in the bullpen.

“He pulls off the ball, his front side opens early and his arm drops down,” Macha said. “He went into ruts like that last year at times, and he got it straightened out.”

Riske unconcerned with rare rough inning

MILWAUKEE — He was bound to give up a run eventually.

But the issue was not that Milwaukee reliever David Riske let Houston touch the scoreboard on Monday. The noticeable difference in his effectiveness was the cause for concern for some.

“Those hitters get paid, too, just like I do. It happens,” said Riske, who was not troubled by his outing. “You can’t be perfect every time.”

Riske, who had not allowed run in his first six appearances since coming off the disabled list June 8, surrendered two runs on two hits and a walk in one inning against the Astros.

According to Riske, his delivery may have been too fast, which caused his arm to drag a bit. He added that he wasn’t throwing as many strikes as he usually does. Manager Ken Macha said he thought Riske left some pitches up with a lack of movement.

“His split and changeup have been very good,” Macha said. “But when they were belt-high, they would up hitting them.”

Riske said he did not go back and watch his inning — and he does not plan to do so.

Instead, he just plans to move forward and try to get better results next time.

“I was just a little off, I had an off night,” Riske said. “I’m not worried about it. Not at all.”

Brewers add Jeffress to 40-man roster

MILWAUKEE — With an open spot available, the Brewers added right-handed reliever Jeremy Jeffress to the 40-man roster on Tuesday, optioning him to Class A Wisconsin.

Milwaukee designated Chris Smith for assignment when reliever Todd Coffey was activated from the disabled list, opening a spot on the 40-man roster. Smith eventually accepted an outright assignment to Triple-A Nashville, but the open spot remained.

Jeffress, 22, was a first-round selection by the Brewers in the 2006 First-Year Player Draft. His time with the club has been marred by separate 50- and 100-game suspensions for testing positive for “a drug of abuse.”

Since signing with the club in 2006, Jeffress has played for the Double-A Huntsville Stars, Class A Advanced Brevard County Manatees and the Class A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers.

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

Brewers’ early lead vanishes vs. Astros

June 29, 2010 Comments off

MILWAUKEE — For three innings, it was like the Brewers were back in May.

Just as they seemed to be rolling right along, leading by four runs early and by three through five innings, the Brewers had a stretch on Monday in which they looked more like the club that lost nine in a row in the middle of May than the one that had won six of seven.

Brewers pitchers Manny Parra, Carlos Villanueva, Todd Coffey and David Riske combined to give up seven runs in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings to allow Houston to take the series opener, 9-5, at Miller Park.

“The bullpen, that has been doing very well, tonight didn’t get the job done,” Brewers manager Ken Macha said.

Coffey (2-2), who gave up two unearned runs, took the loss, though a defensive miscue by Casey McGehee at third base did not make things easy on him.

After Villanueva gave up an RBI single and a walk with two outs in the sixth, Coffey entered and promptly surrendered a two-run single to Hunter Pence, tying the game at 5.

“To their credit, they got some big two-out hits, and two-strike hits,” Macha said. “[Michael] Bourn, that was a big hit off of Villa, went the other way with it to left field. Then we brought in Coffey to get Pence and first-pitch swinging he got a hanging slider. So there were two big hits there in that inning.”

In the seventh, though, a fielding error by McGehee allowed the leadoff batter, Chris Johnson, to reach and contributed to a pair of unearned runs.

Immediately following the error, Coffey gave up a double on a 1-0 fastball to Pedro Feliz, which scored Johnson from first and gave the Astros their first lead.

According to Coffey, the error did not impact on his performance.

“It didn’t at all,” Coffey said. “I still can’t give up a double two pitches later. I’ve got to get it done. I didn’t get it done. I made [Zach] Braddock come in and clean up my mess.”

For Coffey, it was his third outing since returning from the 15-day disabled list. In those three outings, Coffey has given up four runs — two earned — in one inning while surrendering five hits and one walk with zero strikeouts.

After Braddock finished up the seventh, allowing an inherited runner to score on a single, David Riske, who had not allowed a run in six appearances entering the game, gave up two more. Riske opened the inning by allowing a walk, single and double, all but ending any hopes of a comeback.

It was an impressive offensive night for the Astros, who tallied 14 hits, including three doubles and a homer. With the solo blast in the third, Bourn snapped a streak of 542 at-bats without a homer, dating to July 10, 2009.

Bourn, Pence and Feliz each tallied three hits, while Bourn added a fourth, tying a career high.

“We had a good offensive night,” Pence said. “We found some holes and put the barrel on the ball quite a bit. It feels good. I think the way Bourn swung it today and Keppinger was on the base all the time and Carlos [Lee] had some big hits, all the way up and down we swung it well.”

After entering the game with the second-best ERA (2.33) in the Majors as a staff over the past seven days, Brewers pitchers seemed to do everything they hadn’t been doing over their recent stretch of strong performances.

In particular, the Brewers gave up six walks, after the club’s walk totals had been down during its recent run.

Additionally, after leading 4-0 in the second, the club tied a season high for the biggest blown lead of the season.

“We had a bunch of walks tonight and that hasn’t been happening,” Macha said. “[We gave up] a bunch of free bases, six free bases.”

Parra came up short of a quality start once again, by one inning and one run. Over the past 16 games, the Brewers have gotten 10 quality starts with a 3.23 ERA from their starters.

Once he got over the 100-pitch mark, however, Parra’s command — which was already a bit off as he gave up four walks — got away from him.

“It’s disappointing that we lost,” Parra said. “I just wasn’t sharp. [It was] kind of a battle. I didn’t really have any consistency with any pitches. … Nothing was really there. I was just battling and trying to get guys out with whatever I could.

“It didn’t work out for us.”

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

Brewers beat 6/27

June 27, 2010 Comments off

Parra recalls perfect game in Minors

MILWAUKEE — Three years ago this weekend, Brewers lefty Manny Parra had the best performance of his professional career when he tossed a perfect game for Triple-A Nashville.

In his second Pacific Coast League start, Parra retired 27 consecutive batters for the Sounds on June 25, 2007. Current Brewers bullpen coach Stan Kyles remembers the game well, as he was serving as the Sounds’ pitching coach at the time.

“It was the most dominating performance I’ve ever seen,” Kyles said. “He had 11 strikeouts, no balls were put in play hard, and it was just the best performance I’ve seen on the mound up close and personal. It was really impressive.”

What made the perfect game even more impressive was the way Parra’s bullpen session had gone prior to the game.

After struggling in his previous outing, Parra was not confident in his stuff as he warmed up. Once he reached the mound, however, everything changed.

“I remember when I was out in the bullpen, thinking it was going to be a struggle out there that day,” Parra said. “But when I got out to the mound, everything started going my way.

There was one ball, hit about five feet fair toward third, but just before reaching the bag it rolled foul. That was the one where I was like, ‘Wow, this could really happen.'”

Parra’s perfect game was the first thrown in the PCL since the Sounds’ John Wasdin did so on April 7, 2003.

“It’s something I never expected would happen to me,” Parra said. “I’ve always said I was not the kind of pitcher that would ever throw a no-hitter or perfect game because I tend to give up a lot of hits. That day, though, everything just came together for me.”

Gomez striving to be everyday player

MILWAUKEE — When the Brewers brought Carlos Gomez in from Minnesota, he was expected to be the club’s everyday center fielder. Despite his recent struggles, that’s still his goal.

“I want to play everyday no matter what happens at the plate,” Gomez said. “Everybody knows when they signed me that I was supposed to be the everyday center fielder.”

Brewers manager Ken Macha sees the potential in Gomez, but he has had a hard time keeping him in the lineup lately with his struggles at the plate.

For now, it appears as though Gomez will start against left-handed pitching and veteran center fielder Jim Edmonds will get the nod against righties. Like Gomez, though, Macha would like Gomez to improve to the point of facing both right-handers and southpaws.

“The plan was for [Gomez] to face right-handers also,” Macha said. “After he came off the DL and Jimmy was on the DL, he played against right-handers and he struggled.

“So hopefully we’ll get him to the point where he can be an everyday guy.”

For Gomez, the situation is much like the one he faced in Minnesota last season before the Twins traded him to the Brewers.

Gomez struggled to find playing time in a crowded outfield that featured three young outfielders in Delmon Young, Denard Span, and Gomez. According to Gomez, the one benefit of moving to the National League this season is being able to pinch-hit or enter as part of a double switch in any game.

Even with that, however, Gomez is not excited about the situation he’s faced with.

“I don’t want to be in this situation every year,” Gomez said. “I’m only 24 years old, and it’s happened to me two years in a row now. But they know what I can do if I play everyday. Good things can happen.”

Coffey needs time to freshen up to bigs

MILWAUKEE — Only time can help Brewers reliever Todd Coffey get back to the point he was at before going on the disabled list June 6.

Coffey struggled Tuesday in his first outing since returning, allowing two runs to score on two hits, as he did not record an out over three batters faced.

“The first one, probably, he doesn’t want to rehash that one,” said Milwaukee skipper Ken Macha. “[Saturday], he had a little lapse on covering first base, so that wasn’t good. Otherwise, he would’ve had a 1-2-3 inning. He threw the ball good.”

Though he made just one rehab appearance with Triple-A Nashville before returning, Coffey did not believe any additional time with the Sounds would have made a difference.

According to Coffey, pitching in the Minor Leagues does not do nearly as much as getting back into a pressure situation in the Majors after three weeks off.

“The first outing was a little shaky, but it was the first time I was really competitive in almost 20 days,” Coffey said. “Yesterday was definitely a step forward. I feel like I’m getting back on track.

“It’s not about the feeling off the mound down there, it’s about the feeling off the mound up here against big league hitters. It’s just going to take time. I took 20 days off, so it’s just going to take some time to get comfortable again.”

Brewers unveil top moment of 1980s

MILWAUKEE — With nearly 40 percent of the vote, Cecil Cooper’s two-run single in Game 5 of the 1982 ALCS against the Angels was selected as the top Brewers moment from the 1980s in fan and media voting.

Fittingly, all fans in attendance on Sunday received a bobblehead commemorating the hit.

Cooper’s game-winning hit gave the Brewers the American League pennant and advanced the club to its first World Series in franchise history.

Behind Cooper’s single, it was a close race for second place, as two moments from the 1987 season were decided by just 2.2 percent of the vote.

Dale Sveum’s walk-off home run on Easter Sunday, which extended the Brewers’ win streak to 12 games to open the season, edged out Juan Nieves’ no-hitter, which came just four days earlier.

The unveiling of the Top 3 moments from the 1980s occurred at 1 p.m. CT on broadcasts and in Miller Park. The same process will occur for the ’90s and 2000s, with separate polls and reveals for each decade.

On Sept. 3, the polls will open again at Brewers.com and fans will be asked to vote for their Top 3 moments in Brewers history from the group of Top 12 “finalist” moments (Top 3 moments from each decade).

Worth noting

Veteran center fielder Jim Edmonds celebrated his 40th birthday on Sunday. … With his appearance on Saturday, Trevor Hoffman moved into a tie for 11th place on the all-time games pitched list. … Sunday is the Brewers’ final Interleague contest of 2010. Despite going 5-10 last season and just 92-106 in the history of Interleague Play, Milwaukee entered Sunday’s contest with an 8-6 record against the AL this season and is guaranteed a winning record for the sixth time since Interleague Play began in 1997 — the first time since 2007.

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

Brewers beat 6/13

June 13, 2010 Comments off

Pair of hurlers on the mend

MILWAUKEE — After piling up a number of injuries near the end of May and beginning of June, the Brewers have a number of players working their way toward a return to the field.

In addition to lefty Doug Davis, who is set to make two rehab starts for Triple-A Nashville before rejoining the Brewers on June 29, right-hander Todd Coffey appears ready to return in the next week.

Manager Ken Macha noted that Coffey, who was placed on the disabled list with a right thumb injury on June 6 — retroactive to May 30 — played catch on Sunday and felt good afterward.

Coffey, who is eligible to return from the DL on Monday, will join the Brewers on the upcoming road trip, Macha said.

“He’s going on the road trip, and he will have one rehab assignment before he gets activated,” Macha said. “I watched him down in Florida do his long toss, and he had trouble with the grip. One ball would go over there and one ball would go over there, so we want to make sure he’s putting it right where he needs to put it.”

Fielder trying to find groove at plate

MILWAUKEE — While the Brewers went 2-for-14 with runners in scoring position on Saturday, first baseman Prince Fielder posted his own 0-for-4 mark.

It was another disappointing game for Fielder, who homered in the first inning on Sunday to push his totals to 11 home runs and 23 RBIs. Fielder slugged 46 homers and drove in 141 runs in 2009. Brewers manager Ken Macha said that he discussed Fielder with Rangers skipper Ron Washington, and both had a similar take.

“The guy’s trying too hard,” Macha said. “Your start is what it is. You’re not going to all of a sudden drive in 10 runs in one game to get your RBI total up. You’re not going to do that, you’ve got to chip away at it.”

In particular, Macha pointed at Fielder’s eighth-inning at-bat against Rangers reliever Frank Francisco as an example of what not to do.

Fielder swung at all five pitches he saw during the at-bat, including multiple pitches that were out of the strike zone.

“First-pitch curveball, swung at it; changeup, swung at it; couple balls up, swung at them; curveball in the dirt, swung at it,” Macha said. “He had five pitches and swung at all five of them.”

Macha acknowledged that he didn’t want to put too much pressure on one guy, however, despite Fielder’s extended early-season struggles.

He also noted what he hoped to get out of his left-handed slugging first baseman over the season’s final 100 games.

“We both had hopes of him having another great year, but you just don’t rack up 140 RBIs and assume it’s going to happen every year,” Macha said. “So for the next 100 games, if he can maybe drive in 70 runs or so, that would be a big help. And I think that’s a conservative number, I don’t expect him to drive in 120 runs the next 100 games.”

Wolf stays positive despite struggles

MILWAUKEE — After an impressive season with the Dodgers in 2009, lefty Randy Wolf hasn’t gotten off to the kind of start the Brewers would have liked so far in 2010. But it’s not a matter of the quality of his stuff, Wolf said.

“I think it’s all between my ears, to tell you the truth,” said Wolf. “I think I was trying to dictate the result before throwing the pitch and not just throwing it. You can’t control the result.

“You go up there, you throw the pitch. Whatever happens after that happens. I think I was just trying to control the result and be too perfect. When you do that, you make more mistakes than you would otherwise.”

Wolf, who signed a three-year, $29.75 million contract with the Brewers during the offseason, did not think he was trying to live up to his contract, however.

Through 13 starts, Wolf is 4-6 with a 5.31 ERA, giving up 46 earned runs on 88 hits through 78 innings of work. In his most recent outing, Wolf gave up a career-high five home runs against the Cubs.

Still, Wolf remains confident in his abilities.

“I think it’s just a matter of getting my mind in the right direction, because it’s not a matter of stuff,” Wolf said. “My stuff’s probably better this year than it was last year. It’s just a matter of being aggressive and having the right mind-set.”

Third-rounder highlights 24 signees

MILWAUKEE — The Brewers announced on Sunday that they signed 24 players from the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, as well well as one undrafted player.

Right-handers Tyler Thornburg and Matthew Miller, as well as third baseman Cody Hawn, selected in the third, fifth and sixth rounds, highlight the 24 signees for the Brewers.

Overall, the Brewers have signed 13 pitchers — one of which is Marques Kyles, son of bullpen coach Stan Kyles — and 12 position players.

Players will be reporting to either Helena, Mont., or Phoenix — a mini-camp will be held in each location, and it will begin Monday.

Below is a list of all 25 signees:

Tyler Thornburg, RHP, Charleston Southern, Round 3
Matthew Miller, RHP, Michigan, Round 5
Cody Hawn, 1B, Tennessee, Round 6
John Bivens, RF, Virginia State, Round 12
Mike Walker, 3B, Pacific, Round 14
Brian Garman, LHP, U of Cincinnati, Round 17
Shea Vucinich, SS, Washington State, Round 20
Kevin Berard, C, Barbe High School, Round 22
Ryan Bernal, RHP, Florida Atlantic, Round 23
Gregory Hopkins, 3B, St. John’s, Round 24
Nick Shaw, SS, Barry University, Round 25
Alex Jones, RHP, Jacksonville State, Round 27
Dane Amedee, LHP, LSU Eunice, Round 28
Daniel Britt, RHP, Elon University, Round 29
Eric Marzec, RHP, Youngstown State, Round 30
Mike Melillo, C, Elon University, Round 31
Jason Rogers, OF, Columbus State, Round 32
William Kankel, LHP, Houston University, Round 33
Seth Harvey, RHP, Washington State, Round 37
Michael Schaub, RHP, Loara High School, Round 38
Kenneth Allison, CF, Angelina JC, Round 39
John Dishon, CF, Louisiana State, Round 42
Thomas Mittelstaedt, RF, Long Beach State, Round 44
Marques Kyles, LHP, Limestone College, Round 48
Dexter Bobo, LHP, Georgia Southern, Undrafted

Worth noting

Brewers rookie catcher Jonathan Lucroy celebrated his 24th birthday on Saturday. … Brewers relievers have a 2.22 ERA over the past seven games.

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