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Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Archive for April 13th, 2011

Baseball (Mostly Brewers) Updates: Marcum, Greinke, Hart — and a bit about Vinny Rottino

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The Milwaukee Brewers look to be much better this year with the addition of pitchers Shaun Marcum (acquired in a trade from the Toronto Blue Jays in the offseason) and Zack Greinke (acquired in a trade from the Kansas City Royals in the offseason), but up until tonight we Brewers’ fans had little idea of how well either would pitch as Marcum hasn’t been fully right (he had an arm strain/shoulder injury in spring training if I recollect correctly) and Greinke remains on the disabled list (DL).

But tonight, Marcum pitched extremely well, throwing seven shutout innings in an impressive 6-0 Brewers win over the Pittsburgh Pirates in Pittsburgh.  Marcum mixed his pitches well and effectively, baffling the Pirates’ hitters while efficiently moving through the Pirates’ lineup — only one hitter reached third base, while Marcum gave up only one walk and four hits with four strikeouts recorded.  (In the eighth inning, left-hander Zach Braddock came in and struggled a bit, which was why he was lifted in favor of right-hander Kameron Loe after Braddock only managed one out while allowing two walks with a wild pitch.  Loe got the final two outs without undue drama, then left-handed side-armer Mitch Stetter came in and pitched a one-two-three ninth.)

If Marcum continues to pitch like this, Brewers’ fans will warm up to him in a hurry.

At any rate, the news on RF Corey Hart is positive; he took batting practice without pain and is expected to go on a rehabilitation assignment soon to one of the minor league teams in order to prove his injury is sufficiently healed for him to return as the everyday RF.  Hart is now hoping for a return to the line-up by April 22, which is when the Brewers’ next home-stand begins.  This is wonderful news, especially because Hart had a breakout year last year (Hart was my pick as Most Valuable Player for the Brewers in 2010).   Getting Hart back will be a tremendous help.  

As for Zack Greinke, he threw 25 pitches in a simulated game and felt no pain, which means his broken rib has probably healed enough that he, too, will be out on a minor-league rehab assignment soon.   The hope now for Greinke is that by the end of April, he’ll be ready to pitch for the Brewers.

Please see this update from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel for further details:

And finally, my favorite minor-league utility player, Vinny Rottino, currently remains in the Florida Marlins minor league system and has started the season with the New Orleans Zephyrs, the Marlins’ Class AAA affiliate (that is, their highest-level minor league team).  So far the 31-year-old Rottino is batting only .065 with one hit in 12 at-bats, but has a .353 on base percentage due to taking several walks.  (Stats taken from Rottino’s games through April 11, 2011.)

Here’s a link from the Racine Journal-Times, where the headline reads, “Pirates give Jaramillo a Chance; Taschner, Rottino still have Hope”:

Here’s a relevant quote from the article, including a response from IF-OF-C Vinny Rottino himself:

Since signing with the Milwaukee Brewers as an undrafted free agent Feb. 3 2003, Rottino’s modus operandi has been to play every game with abandon and wait for his chance. His mindset remains the same eight years later.

And after hitting .307 with eight homers, 69 RBIs and 22 stolen bases for the Suns last year, Rottino believes he has positioned himself to make it back to the major leagues.

“I’ve been given an opportunity to play baseball for a living and I know I keep saying that,” said Rottino, a 1998 St. Catherine’s graduate. “I really feel that after the year I had last year, I have a legitimate chance to get back to the big leagues.

“This is an organization where, if you perform well in the minor leagues and they think you can help the major league team win, they’re bringing you up. That’s a lot different situation from a lot of other organizations.”

Note that Rottino has played in the minor leagues for both the Brewers and the Dodgers prior to being signed by the Marlins in 2010.  And while I greatly appreciate Peter Jackel’s column (I’d wondered what was going on with Rottino and said so in a blog post from a few weeks ago), Jackel failed to note that Rottino won an award last season from the Southern League (AA) — he won an award for “best utility player/performance.”   That, along with his excellent batting average, on-base percentage and the most stolen bases he’d ever had as a minor-leaguer, must be why Rottino is so hopeful of getting a chance with the Marlins this season.

If you are as interested in following Vinny Rottino’s career as I am, please follow this link to Rottino’s minor-league page (where you can find out where he’s playing, how he’s doing and what positions he’s playing, too, for that matter):

I really like Rottino; his attitude is refreshing, and the fact that he’s still in there fighting at the (for baseball) advanced age of 31 is encouraging for anyone who refuses to stop believing in himself (or herself).  Vinny Rottino is another example of persistence in the face of long odds, and I hope he breaks out of his early-season slump soon as when he’s right, he’s a good hitter, an excellent fielder (especially in the infield and outfield) and a fast and smart runner.  I, too, believe that Rottino has what it takes to be a successful major league player as a utility man/defensive replacement/pinch hitter/whatever — and I hope he gets his chance this year.

Written by Barb Caffrey

April 13, 2011 at 9:23 pm