The Milwaukee Brewers still shake their heads when they look back at last years collapse. A 9-22 record to wrap up the season, dropped the Brewers out of first place and eventually out of playoff contention.
They’ve had several months during the offseason to think about what happened.
Now it’s time to forget and move on. Pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report to spring training in Arizona today. They’ll undergo physical’s and testing tomorrow and begin their first official workouts on Sunday. The full squad must report by Wednesday.
At the teams fan event in Milwaukee recently, Manager Ron Roenicke said they have to learn from the end of last season and then move on.
The Brewers will have to start without their all-star catcher Jonathan Lucroy. He was diagnosed last week with a strained right hamstring that will keep him sidelined for 4 to 6 weeks. Last season, Lucroy hit .301 with 13 homers, 69 RBIs and a franchise record 53 doubles. The Brewers are hoping Lucroy won’t have any lingering effects beyond that time.
They’ll have a new closer on Jonathan Broxton. He joined the Brewers late last season and has closed games for the Dodgers and Royals. If need be, the Brewers could also add Francisco Rodriguez, who is available and went 44 for 49 in save opportunities in Milwaukee last season.
Also gone is Yovani Gallardo to the Texas Rangers. And they no longer have Marco Estrada to rely on to eat up some starts and innings. He was traded to Toronto for first baseman Adam Lind. The Brewers are hoping young righthander Jimmy Nelson is ready to take over.
The Brewers five man rotation right now includes Kyle Lohse, Jimmy Nelson, Wily Peralta, Matt Garza and Mike Fiers. Prospect Taylor Jungmann is considered to be the next man in. He’s expected to start the season at Triple-A.
Can Aramis Ramirez stay healthy and be productive at third base? Can Scooter Gennett hit effectively from both sides of the plate with Rickie Weeks gone? And will Ryan Braun be able to resume a productive spot in the Brewers lineup or will his thumb issues reappear?
Those are just some of the questions that will be followed closely as the Brewers try to repeat last years success, without the late season collapse.