State Sports Briefs: Brewers look to win series vs. BravesWisconsin Sports
-- The Milwaukee Brewers are going for a three-game winning streak this afternoon as they close out their series with the Atlanta Braves at Miller Park.
MILWAUKEE - The Milwaukee Brewers are going for a three-game winning streak this afternoon as they close out their series with the Atlanta Braves at Miller Park.
Atlanta came in with four straight victories on the Brewers’ home diamond. They made it five straight on Monday, but Milwaukee pitchers tightened things up the last couple days – and it resulted in the Brewers’ first two victories of the season. The Milwaukee offense is showing more signs of life as well. Prince Fielder broke an 0-for-11 string with three singles, three RBI’s, and two runs scored in last night’s victory. The Brewers are now 2-4. Atlanta is 3-3. Shaun Marcum was today’s scheduled starter against Atlanta’s Tommy Hanson.
Brewers’ starter Zack Greinke threw his first bullpen session this afternoon, after being out for almost a month with the left rib injuries suffered while playing basketball at Spring Training. Manager Ron Roenicke says Greinke’s throwing arm needs to get strong before he can throw a simulated game and get a minor league rehab assignment. Roenicke has said he expects the right-hander Greinke to miss his first three starts – although there’s no official timetable on when he’ll return. Meanwhile, Roenicke says reliever Takashi Saito will not go on the disabled list with a tight hamstring he suffered at Spring Training. He was not available to pitch last night because of the problem. That’s after he gave up two home runs on Monday, and took the loss in a 2-1 defeat to Atlanta.
Brewers’ pitcher Manny Parra will have a minor-league rehab assignment on Saturday. He had an injection at Spring Training to get rid of inflammation in the middle of his back. And Parra is expected to throw one inning for the Class-“A” Wisconsin Timber Rattlers. The left-hander says his challenge is to get his endurance back. Parra says he doesn’t think about the injury on the mound anymore. Two other Brewers also have rehab assignments coming up. Catcher Jonathan Lucroy will start playing today with Double-“A” Huntsville, as he gets over a broken finger. And right-handed reliever LaTroy Hawkins will start an assignment tomorrow with Class-“A” Brevard County, as he comes off shoulder surgery.
Right-hander Eric Arnett, the Brewers’ first-round draft pick in 2009, has rotator cuff tendinitis. And he’s expected to miss most of the season because of it. Arnett was a star in college at Indiana, but he has struggled in the minors. Last year, he went 1-9 for the Class-“A” Wisconsin Timber Rattlers with an ERA of 6.70 in 20 games. His velocity dropped so much that he was demoted to the Arizona Rookie League, where he had an even worse ERA of seven-point-three-one in five appearances. The Brewers told Arnett to work on his strength-and-conditioning in the off-season. He suffered the rotator cuff injury at minor-league camp this spring. And assistant general manager Gord Ash says it will be at least a month before Arnett can throw again.
The Detroit Tigers will play the rubber game of their series at Baltimore tonight. The Tigers had 12 hits in a four-run victory last night. Alex Avila had three of those hits, and he had a career-high five RBI’s. Brad Penny will start for Detroit against Baltimore’s Chris Tillman, who had a no-hitter for six innings last Saturday against Tampa Bay. The Minnesota Twins will try to make it two straight over the New York Yankees for the first time since June of 2008. The two teams were rained out last night in the Bronx, after the Twins took a 5-4, 10-inning victory on Tuesday. Minnesota has won just seven of its last 38 games at Yankee Stadium. And they haven’t won back-to-back games there since 2000. Francis Liriano starts for Minnesota today against A-J Burnett. The Chicago White Sox will play their home opener this afternoon against Tampa Bay. The Sox are coming off a split at Kansas City which featured a pair of 12-inning affairs. Tampa is 0-5, and has been out-scored 22-7 while batting just .136. Edwin Jackson will try to go to 2-and-0 for the White Sox against Tampa’s David Price.
It's Opening Night for the minor leagues – and that includes Wisconsin’s two teams in the Class-“A” Midwest League. The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers of Appleton will open their season at home against Kane County, Illinois. And the Beloit Snappers will start the year on the road at Quad Cities. Beloit is affiliated with the Minnesota Twins. The Snappers finished fourth in the Western Division a year ago at 71-65. The Timber Rattlers are the lower of two Class-“A” teams for the Milwaukee Brewers. A year ago, they finished second-to-last in the eight-team Western Division at 58-80. The Great Lakes Loons of Lower Michigan won the Midwest League title a year ago. They’ll open at home tonight against Lake County, Ohio. Also, Bowling Green is at Dayton. Fort Wayne hosts South Bend. West Michigan plays at Lansing. Peoria hosts Cedar Rapids. And Burlington is at Clinton.
The Milwaukee Bucks have four games left – and then they’ll head to the NBA Draft Lottery for the fourth time in the five years. The Bucks had a chance to make the playoffs despite being 15 games under .500. And for the last few weeks, they were competing with Indiana and Charlotte for the eighth-and-final post-season slot in the Eastern Conference. But Indiana clinched that spot last night. The Pacers are expected to play Chicago in the first round, while the Milwaukee players watch the playoffs on TV and the foreign-born players gear up for their national competitions this summer. Center Andrew Bogut said the Bucks’ five-point win at Miami last night would have been huge had they beaten Indiana, Charlotte, or Sacramento in the last couple weeks. But by and large, the players don’t seem to be ready to analyze their shortcomings this season – one in which a deep playoff run was expected by many after they took the Atlanta Hawks to seven games in the first round a year ago. Injuries have hampered the Bucks all season long, but the players and coaches don’t use that as an excuse. Forward Corey Maggette blamed a variety of things – but in the end, they just didn’t get the job done. The Bucks play at Detroit tomorrow night, and are home against Cleveland on Saturday night.
Samia Taylor of UW-Milwaukee has been named the women’s outdoor field athlete-of-the-week in the Horizon League. Taylor, a sophomore, won the triple-jump at the Big Blue Invitation, with a leap of 12-point-32 meters. Also, Milwaukee native Ciara Jarrett of Youngstown State is the women’s outdoor track athlete-of-the-week. She won the 200-meter race at the Northeast Ohio Quad meet, and was part of her school’s winning 400-meter relay team.
The Milwaukee Admirals lost at home to Grand Rapids last night, 2-1. The Admirals blew a second chance to win the American Hockey League’s West Division title. They need only one point to clinch the title with three games left. Their next opportunity is tomorrow night at home against Texas. Andreas Thuresson scored Milwaukee’s only goal against Grand Rapids. Tomas Tatar had the game-winner early in the second period.