The Brewers have reached the halfway point of their 2010 Cactus League schedule--16 games done, 16 left to go. As the pre-season starts winding down, Brewers' skipper Ken Macha and GM Doug Melvin will be giving their known starters more time to fine tune their skills, while trying to find playing time for the rest to determine the final 25-man roster. Battles still on going include:
Reserve catcher--George Kotteras seems to have a slight edge at this point...Kotteras is hitting .318 versus Matt Treanor's .235. The decision seems to have been all but finalized to have prospects Jonathan Lucroy and Angel Salome (hitting .000 and .250, respectively) start the year in AAA as both have had 8 or less AB's thus far. Kotteras also hits lefty, which means he'll be more useful than Treanor against all the right-handed relievers late in the game.
Reserve infielder--With the departure of Hernan Iribarren and the injury to Mat Gamel, the battle is down to Joe Inglett and Adam Heether; Inglett appears to have the edge despite his .227 BA in Spring...mainly due to his .293 lifetime BA in the majors in the AL over the past four seasons, primarily as a pinch-hitter.
5th outfielder--All signs point to Jim Edmonds beating out Lorenzo Cain and Trent Oeltjen to start the year; if Edmonds gets injured or wears down, Cain or Oeltjen will be the first to be called up.
Starters #4 and #5--While Yovani Gallardo and Randy Wolf seems to have the 1-2 spots locked up, it is, supposedly, a five horse race among Jeff Suppan, Doug Davis, Manny Parra, Dave Bush, and Chris Narveson for the remaining three spots. Davis is the only one of these five to be a lock for the rotation, with Suppan almost as certain due to his $12.5 million guaranteed contract. Dave Bush can still be released by the end of March and only get a third of his $4.215 million contract. Macha has hinted that he'd like to keep the three lefties from all being together in the rotation. If Macha and Melvin truly want to field the best rotation, they'd go with Gallardo, Wolf, Narveson, Davis and Parra, and sending Suppan to the pen and trading Dave Bush. My guess, however, is that the rotation will end up Gallardo, Wolf, Davis, Suppan, and Bush, with Parra in the pen and Narveson going to another team...hopefully, the Brewers' top management realizes that the Dave Bush experiement is one not worth repeating.