Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Posts Tagged ‘Chris Narveson

Milwaukee Brewers Roster Moves: Narveson to 15-day DL, Hart Moved to 60-day DL and Lalli Brought up from AAA

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Folks, after the Milwaukee Brewers barely held off the Chicago Cubs in Chicago’s home opener yesterday, 7-4 (the Cubs left the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth), I knew the Brewers would have to finally make a roster move or two.

However, I didn’t necessarily expect these moves.

First, left-hander Chris Narveson was placed on the 15-day DL with a blister on the middle finger of his pitching hand.  Narveson will probably be on the DL for longer than 15 days, and could be there as long as six weeks.

Second, the Brewers brought up the man I suggested a few days ago that they might want to take a look at — catcher/first baseman Blake Lalli.  Lalli’s much more familiar with the contemporary pitching staff than either of the two incumbent catchers, Jonathan Lucroy and Martin Maldonado — and the way things have gone with the injury bug, the Brewers have had to play both catchers at the same time (Lucroy has caught, while Maldonado has played first base).

This way, the Brewers will always have at least one catcher on the bench into the late innings of every game.  That’s a move I applaud.

The main reason, though, I’m only cautiously optimistic that these moves will help is this — to get Lalli on the 40-man roster, the Brewers had to transfer Corey Hart to the 60-day DL.  The other choices to go to the 60-day DL were Aramis Ramirez, Mark Rodgers, Jeff Bianchi, and Taylor Green.  The Brewers hope to have all of those players back by mid-May, particularly Ramirez.

However, there has been no really good news in the saga of Taylor Green.  He has a problem with the labrum in his left hip, which he sustained in Spring Training.  He’s been on the DL since March 22, and it’s unlikely he’ll play much before mid-May, if at all.

Everyone else — yes, even Rodgers — can be expected to come back well before that time.  But with Green’s vexing injury, if I’d been Doug Melvin, I’d have been interested in putting Green on the DL instead.

Consider, please, that Green is a marginal player at this point, while Hart is a solid contributor with two past All-Star appearances to his credit.  (Mind you, Green could still well improve, does play multiple positions, and is usually a solid defender.)  That hip labrum will need a good amount of time and rest to improve, considering surgery does not seem to be in the cards.  And injuries like this can nag you all season long if not properly treated to begin with . . . which is why with a known “fast healer” like Hart on the roster, I’d have been much happier with moving Green to the 60-day DL instead.

I am pleased that Lalli has come up, because I think he has tons of potential and it’s a very good thing to have another catcher on the roster.  I’m not happy that Narveson has sustained this odd injury, but maybe it’s for the best that he’s been put on the DL.  And, of course, I’m quite displeased that the Brewers moved Hart to the 60-day DL rather than Green under the circumstances.

But as the moves have been made, there’s nothing to be done about it.

Milwaukee Brewers to Start Five Right-handers in 2013

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With the recent acquisition of right-handed pitcher Kyle Lohse (16-3, 2.86 ERA for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2012), the 2013 Milwaukee Brewers pitching rotation is now set.

The odd thing is, all five starters — Yovani Gallardo, Marco Estrada, Lohse, Mike Fiers and Wily Peralta — are right-handers.  It’s highly unusual to go with an all right-handed starting rotation in this day and age, especially when you have a capable left-hander like Chris Narveson on your roster.

“But Barb,” I can hear you saying.  “Narveson was injured last year.  Don’t you remember?  Season-ending arm injury, the 60-day disabled list, the whole enchilada?”

Of course I remember.  But until Lohse was signed this past week to a three-year deal (the widely-reported terms were for $33 million over that time span, with some money being deferred), the Brewers’ brain trust maintained that Narveson would not be on a pitch count and would be in the starting rotation.  Then, they suddenly changed their minds after Lohse was signed.

What I’ve seen out of Lohse over the years is heartening.  He’s a smart pitcher, as Brewers third baseman Aramis Ramirez said in several news reports (including this one from ESPN Wisconsin’s Drew Olson).  He has a steady, even temperament that works well with other teammates and rarely riles up opponents.  And he’s saying and doing all the right things thus far, which you’d expect out of such a savvy veteran.

The only possible downside has to do with Lohse’s age.  He’s thirty-four.  Very few pitchers have been able to pitch well for three straight years at thirty-four.  But it’s possible that Lohse will do very well and buck the trend, especially as he seems to be much like former Brewers pitcher Chris Capuano with regards to work-ethic and training regimen.

The signing of Lohse was welcome, as it now gives the Brewers two solid starters in Gallardo and Lohse, along with experienced swingman Estrada (now firmly ensconced in the starting rotation).  But the Brewers will still have two pitchers in their starting rotation with little major league experience in Peralta and Fiers, which is why it’s so puzzling that Narveson was put in the bullpen despite a solid spring.

Of course, Narveson is coming off major surgery.  The Brewers obviously don’t want to reaggravate any shoulder problems that may not have healed properly, which might be considered a wise move considering what happened to New York Mets starter (and left-hander) Johan Santana — about to miss all of 2013 after re-aggravating his left shoulder.  Many past Brewers pitchers recovering from injury — including Capuano, Ben Sheets, Mark Rodgers, and others — have been placed on pitch counts while they get back to full arm strength.  And every good baseball fan knows that it’s far easier for a manager to keep a pitcher to a stated pitch count if he’s coming out of the bullpen,

This, of course, is provided that the manager doesn’t overuse the relief pitcher by calling upon him several days in a row, as doing so negates any advantage sticking to a strict pitch count could possibly bring.

At any rate, Lohse is now in the Brewers’ fold.  That’s good.

But it remains to be seen what the Brewers will get out of Fiers and Peralta, especially as Peralta’s exhibition start against the Chicago White Sox last night was, to be charitable, awful.  (Four runs in four and a third innings is not good by any stretch of the imagination, even if two were unearned.)  Peralta actually looked so shaky in the third inning that it was surprising when Brewers manager Ron Roenicke left him out there long enough to get rocked in the fifth.

Because of how young Peralta is, I’d say he’s the most likely candidate to be sent down if he’s unable to regain the form he flashed during the Brewers end-of-the-season run toward the second Wild Card spot.  Which is why if I were Narveson, I’d bide my time, and be prepared to pitch multiple innings when called upon in order to stay as “stretched out” as possible (so a spot start, or return to the rotation down the lines, is less difficult).

Because it seems to me that if Narveson does all that, he’ll be rejoining the starting rotation sooner rather than later regardless of how Peralta and Fiers actually perform.

Written by Barb Caffrey

March 30, 2013 at 10:15 am

Brewers P Chris Narveson: Out for the Year (Rotator Cuff)

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After his last unsuccessful start, Milwaukee Brewers left-handed pitcher Chris Narveson knew something was wrong.  Medical tests by Brewers team doctor William Raasch confirmed that Narveson had a partially torn rotator cuff;  Raasch told Narveson the best option was arthroscopic surgery, but Narveson hoped a second opinion would tell him that he wouldn’t have to have season-ending surgery.

Unfortunately, the second opinion by specialist doctor Lewis Yocum merely confirmed the first assessment, which is why Narveson is now on the 60-day disabled list and is out for the year.  Here’s a link to the story at the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:

And a relevant quote:

“Yocum said we could try to rehab it but there’s no guarantee that it wouldn’t tear more,” said Narveson. “He was confident that by having the surgery I can be ready for next year.”

Narveson’s season ends with a 1-1 record, a 7.00 earned run average (ERA), 5 strikeouts, 4 walks, and 9 innings pitched.

Now, as for my analysis?  I think Narveson is a good pitcher with a gritty attitude; in some ways, he reminds me of former Brewers pitcher Chris Capuano, especially in how he approaches the game.  Because Narveson’s such a steady player, it’s possible that his loss may be underrated by professional scribes — in fact, I’ve already heard on Milwaukee radio that this could be something akin to a “blessing in disguise” because free-agent pitcher Roy Oswalt is available — and Oswalt was always a huge Brewers-killer.

Look.  When someone who is a reliable and steady player like Narveson ends up going on the season-ending DL after three weeks of play, that’s not a blessing.    Instead, it’s a problem — one that Narveson himself hopes to minimize by staying around the team (as his plans, right now, are to rehab his injury in Milwaukee).

Whether the Brewers are able to tempt Oswalt or not, the fact is that we now have four reliable starters — that is, if Randy Wolf can get back on his game tonight, as so far he has yet to throw well — not five.  We do have several guys on the roster who have the skill to be starters, with the two I thought of right away being Marco Estrada and Manny Parra.  Both are strikeout pitchers when they’re on.  And Parra, being a lefty like Narveson, has added value.

For the moment, the fifth starter’s job is Estrada’s to lose.  But it’s anyone’s guess if the Brewers will leave Estrada in that position long-term, especially considering the fact that Brewers manager Ron Roenicke seems to like Estrada in the role of spot-starter and long reliever.

No matter what the Brewers do, though, the fact remains that Narveson is out for the season.  Now, it’s up to the 2012 Brewers as a team to figure out how they’re going to respond to the loss of Narveson’s steady on-the-field presence.

Written by Barb Caffrey

April 24, 2012 at 7:00 pm