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Mehring in Arizona: Day four

March 28, 2011
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I've got a blue telescope, I'm looking at the world tonight
Through a blue telescope; I wish I may, I wish I might
Not see what I see - sheet metal on sheets of ice
Looking through this blue telescope down a moonstruck road tonight

The plan on Sunday was to just head out to the Peoria Sports Complex for the Timber Rattlers game against the Fort Wayne TinCaps.  But, it's funny how plans can change.

The first thing that I saw on Sunday morning after breakfast was the latest "The Trade" from the Milwaukee Brewers.  There have been several since the end of the 2010 season.  Most have involved ex-Rattlers:  Brett Lawrie to the Blue Jays for Shawn Marcum and Jake Odorizzi, Lorenzo Cain, and Jeremy Jeffress to the Royals for Zack Greinke.

Sunday morning saw Cutter Dykstra go to the Washington Nationals for Nyjer Morgan.  There are fans out there that like the move.  There are fans out there that hate the move.  But, think about Cutter's 2009 season with the Rattlers.  Did anyone believe that after that season he could be traded for a major league player in a straight up trade?

That was how much he improved from 2009 to 2010.  Heck, look how much he improved in the second half of 2010.  Dykstra hit .287 in 143 at bats in less than 40 games.  After the Midwest League All-Star Break, he hit .329 (69-for-210) and raised his season batting average to .312.  Raising a batting average 25 points in 70 games is tough to do.  Cutter did it.  I wish him good luck with the Nationals.  Maybe we'll see him again someday.

There was a short day of practice for the Timber Rattlers on Sunday morning.  Stretch. Infield/Outfield.  Batting Practice.

Here were the players by position for the infield/outfield portion of practice:

LF: TJ Mittelstaedt, Jason Rogers
CF: Franklin Romero, Ken Allison, Reggie Keen
RF: Max Walla, John Dishon
3B: Greg Hopkins
SS: Carlos George, Yadiel Rivera
2B: Nick Shaw
1B: Mike Walker, Demetrius McKelvie
 C: Cameron Garfield, Tyler Roberts, Tony Pechek

Tony Diggs was around today during the batting practice part of the workout.  Diggs is the manager of the Brewers' Arizona League affiliate.  He managed that team to Championship last year.  Diggs said the guys from that team who wind up on Wisconsin to start the season will be ready to go.

The bus ride - which I did not go on - was only about 20 minutes to the Peoria Sports Complex.  The lineup for the game against the TinCaps set up this way:

Allison, CF
Shaw, 2B
Hopkins, 3B
Walker, 1B
Rogers, LF
Roberts, C
Dishon, RF
George, SS
Pechek, DH

The subs came into the game in the sixth inning.  McKelvie, Mittelstaedt, Garfield, and Rivera all got into the game, a 9-6 win for the Rattlers.

Charly Bashara was the starting pitcher.  He went four innings and allowed four runs (two earned) on five hits with no walks and three strikeouts.  The other pitchers in the game for the Timber Rattlers were Dan Britt (2IP, 0H, 0R, 4K), Rolando Pascual (IP, 2H, R, 2K), Skyler Crawford (IP, H, R BB), and Seth Lintz (IP, 0H, 0R, K)

The running continued for the offense.  I counted seven steals in the game by seven different Rattlers: Rogers, Pechek, Shaw, George, Hopkins, Garfield, and Rivera all picked up steals.

Get ready for a lot of "The pitch....the runner GOES!" this season.

Wisconsin scored in every inning except the fourth and eighth innings.  Before the top of the ninth inning, manager Matt Erickson called the first three batters of the inning over to him and said, "We're going to play for one run here."  They were up 8-6, but getting an insurance run late in a game is going to come up at some point in the careers of Dishon, Rivera, and Pechek.

Rivera singled with one out, stole second, went to third on a wild pitch, and scored on a wild pitch.  That wasn't exactly how playing for one run is drawn up but it will work in this case.

There were no homers in the game for the Rattlers, but there were four extra base hits.  George and Roberts each had a double.  Mittelstaedt and Allison each had a triple.

Also, George and Shaw each had a pair of RBI.

Monday is going to be a short day for the minor league side at Maryvale.  It has been called a 'Camp Day' or 'D-Day' by several members of the coaching staff.

The D-Day is what intrigues me because it stands for Defense Day.  Only defensive drills with a start time of 8am out here in the desert.  No bats will be used by the players until a brief intrasquad game that starts around 10:30 or so.

Remember to follow @CMehring for updates during the morning.

Day one

Day two

Day three

Facebook photo album for day two

Facebook photo album for day three

Facebook photo album for day four