How badly will the Brewers miss injured second baseman Rickie Weeks? An early indication came Thursday, when veteran Craig Counsell, hitless in his last 38 at-bats over 48 days, won a spot in the starting lineup.
Weeks severely sprained his left ankle reaching for an infield single and will miss 2-6 weeks.
As of Thursday morning, the Brewers had four days to work the second base market ahead of Sunday’s 3 p.m. CT nonwaiver trade deadline. They had already shown interest in the Dodgers’ Jamey Carroll, though Los Angeles has not been moved by offers so far. The Brewers could also pursue Houston shortstop Clint Barmes, Rockies second baseman Mark Ellis (who has already been traded from Oakland to Colorado this summer), Marlins utility man Omar Infante or Mariners second baseman Adam Kennedy.
Kennedy was with Brewers manager Ron Roenicke in Anaheim from 2000-06, and is batting .253 this season with seven home runs, 32 RBIs and a .297 on-base percentage. Among Seattle’s wants are catching help or a hitting prospect.
“We don’t really know the second base market,” Brewers principal owner Mark Attanasio said Wednesday night. “Doug and his team, really, they look at every iteration possible. I’ve got to say, we haven’t really looked for second basemen because Rickie is an All-Star. It would be like looking for a left fielder or a first baseman.”
But Melvin’s staff is certainly prepared to jump into the market. The team gathered its pro scouts at Miller Park earlier this month to study the Major League and upper-level Minor League rosters of all 29 teams.
Roenicke and Melvin discussed available players on Wednesday night and again Thursday morning.
“He was making these calls anyway,” Roenicke said, “and now that you have a second baseman go down, now these other teams think it’s a dire need and they ask for more. It kind of makes it tougher when something like this happens. I don’t know if [asking prices] will go up, but I don’t think they’ll come down.”
He added: “All of these things may be answered in a few days.”
The immediate in-house option is Farris, who arrived at Miller Park about an hour before Thursday’s game.
The Brewers also discussed Nashville third baseman Taylor Green, who is having a comeback season at the plate. But “he’s a third baseman who has played a few games” at second, Roenicke said.
“I’m kind of at a loss for words at the moment,” Farris said after arriving. “I’m trying to get it all together. It’s been a mad 12 hours for me. I’m trying to get acclimated and have a little fun.”
— Adam McCalvy
Brewers general manager Doug Melvin was offered an easy opportunity Tuesday to swat away the persistent rumor that Milwaukee is among the suitors for Mets outfielder Carlos Beltran.
Instead, Melvin said, “I don’t want to get into anything about their players.”
At first glance, the Brewers would appear a long shot for Beltran, the All-Star switch-hitter who is drawing interest from a number clubs with Minor League systems perceived as deeper than Milwaukee’s. But if there’s one lesson Melvin and Brewers principal owner Mark Attanasio have taught, particularly over the past three seasons, it’s that you should never rule out Milwaukee.
Melvin has a knack for surprise blockbusters, from the CC Sabathia trade in July 2008 to a near-deal with the Blue Jays in December 2009 (Halladay had no-trade rights and preferred clubs that spend Spring Training in Florida) to the acquisitions of Shaun Marcum and Zack Greinke last winter to last week’s out-of-nowhere deal for Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez.
None of those trades were rumored before they went down.
“If a deal is for the right player, I’m always open to making a deal,” Melvin said, speaking in general about trading for marquee players and not specifically about Beltran. “We’ve got some [Minor League] players we won’t give up in deals, though. Our system is a little deeper than most people say. …
“We’ve built a reputation as a club that wants to contend and wants to try to get the best players,” Melvin said. “We draw well, we have a good situation here. We’ve gotten a lot more marquee [free agents]. It’s not a situation where we’re going to try to win on marginal players. We don’t give up on it. We work hard at it. We want to be the best.”
The Mets will already get two Brewers Minor Leaguers in the K-Rod trade. They have until Sept. 1 to choose two players from a list of five, and Melvin told New York general manager Sandy Alderson that if he’d like to make those picks before Sept. 1, the Brewers would honor the request.
Brewers officials have remained tight-lipped about the players on that list. They can move freely throughout Milwaukee’s Minor League system, but may not be promoted to the Majors, Melvin said.
— Adam McCalvy
FoxSports.com says the Royals and Brewers remain in touch about Kansas City infielder Wilson Betemit but had not made substantial progress in trade talks. Betemit, 29, who would presumably replace slumping Brewers third baseman Casey McGehee, is hitting .281 with a .341 on-base percentage and has lost playing time to prospect Mike Moustakas. Betemit is a free agent after the season unlikely to qualify for Type A or B status.
— Adam McCalvy
Ryan Braun is back in the Brewers lineup tonight after missing Monday’s series opener with an illness. Manager Ron Roenicke said Braun had been feeling under the weather for the previous four days, struck by an upper respiratory viral infection. Considering the way the Brewers have been battered of late by their opponents, they need all the offense they can get.
Here’s the lineup for Game 2 against the Rays:
Rickie Weeks 2B
Nyjer Morgan CF
Ryan Braun LF
Prince Fielder 1B
Casey McGehee 3B
Corey Hart RF
Yuniesky Betancourt SS
Jonathan Lucroy C
Zack Greinke RHP
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The Brewers made a late-night roster move on Monday, placing reliever Takashi Saito on the 15-day disabled list with the right hamstring strain he suffered during a tough outing in Milwaukee’s home opener on April 4. The team recalled right-hander Brandon Kintzler from Triple-A Nashville to fill Saito’s spot.
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