Brewers Sign Manzella
After the loss of Alex Gonzalez to a season-ending ACL injury, the organization promoted Edwin Maysonet to the big leagues and Jeff Bianchi to Triple-A Nashville to fill the voids in the two respective rosters. On Tuesday, Ken Rosenthal tweeted that the Brewers signed former Astros shortstop Tommy Manzella to a minor-league deal.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) May 8, 2012
Manzella fits the mold of shortstop the Brewers have proven to covet this season: plus-defensive shortstops. The 29-year-old Manzella has always been known for his glove — as he was regularly rated the best defensive infielder in the Astros’ farm system when he was coming up — but has done relatively little with the bat. He has a career .246/.292/.295 slash line at the big league level and was released this year by the Diamondbacks after massively struggling at the plate (.100 AVG) to begin the 2012 season.
Even with a plus-glove, those numbers at the plate are too difficult to digest in an everyday role. It’s crazy to think that the Astros front office once said of Manzella: “He is Adam Everett, but better offensively.” (source)
I would imagine Manzella will get sent to Double-A Huntsville to begin his career with the Brewers organization. Jeff Bianchi has simply performed too well to be ousted from the everyday role in Triple-A Nashville, though those roles could be quickly shifted if Manzella can rediscover his swing that saw him hit at least .289 in three-consecutive seasons between Double-A and Triple-A in 2007-2009. Just do not hold your breath waiting for those numbers to return.
Braun Still Struggling With His Achilles?
Ryan Braun has occasionally struggled with nagging injuries — most notably with sore intercostal muscles in the 2009 season — and it appears that this sore Achilles will not be subsiding anytime soon.
Earlier in the week, it was reported that Braun would be sat either Wednesday or Friday this week to coincide with the Brewers’ off-day on Thursday and allow his Achilles two days off. It appeared that the timetable for his “day off” would be pushed up to Wednesday after Adam McCalvy tweeted that Braun was questionable for Wednesday’s series finale against the Cincinnati Reds after aggravating his Achilles in Tuesday’s game. Nevertheless, he will begin the game in left field for the Brewers.
Still, this Achilles storyline does not project to disappear in the near future. It feels like an injury that could sideline the reigning National League MVP if not nipped in the bud. However, the Brewers’ training staff clearly understands what to do more than I ever could regarding Achilles injuries, so perhaps this is a non-story.
It doesn’t feel like a non-story, though.
Hart Lost At the Plate
After a torrid start to the season, Corey Hart is currently in the midst of one of his patented cold spells in which he appears as if he could not square up a baseball if it were placed in front of him on a tee. Over his last eleven games, he has only hit .146/.186/.171 with no runs batted in and sixteen strikeouts. The pitch recognition looks discombobulated, and he is beginning to jam himself at the plate on inside pitches.
Still, we have gone through this before. Corey has gone through this before. He seemingly cannot hit the broad side of a barn. Then, poof. He flips on a switch and absolutely carries this offense for two weeks — just like he did when he hit six home runs in a little over two weeks to begin the season.
The Brewers simply hope that symbolic switch flips on in a hurry. The team needs to take advantage of this stretch in the schedule against weak teams, which will include the Cubs, Astros, Mets, and Twins over the next sixteen games. Twelve of those games will be in Miller Park. Much like last year, the Brewers are entering the weakest part of their schedule at the most opportune time.
Time to make hay while the sun shines.