By: Melissa S. Wollering
Even the Klements’ Racing Sausages were working towards regular season perfection during Saturday’s first Brewers home game of Spring Training at Maryvale Ballpark. They need to train, too, you know.
After beating the Brewers in the Spring Training opener at Scottsdale and watching Zito nail Prince Fielder with a pitch to the back, a little pride was on the line facing the San Francisco Giants again so soon. Unfortunately, the hit-by-pitch fest continued, with Pucetas nailing Rickie Weeks immediately in the first and two more Giants’ pitchers nailing two more Brewers later in the game. Fortunately, those dings didn’t seem to bother the Crew.
Randy Wolf started the game strong, retiring seven batters in two scoreless innings with two K’s, zero BB’s and only one hit. But the real pitching story of the day was the homecoming of Chris Capuano. Cappy has been rehabbing for ages, and took the mound for the first time in the Majors in two years. He has undergone two Tommy John’s surgeries. Frustrating for a guy who won 18 games in 2005 and made the All-Star team the following year.
Cappy’s outing Friday was more reminiscent of his 05, 06 success. In the fifth inning, he struck out the first two batters he faced and nearly had the third. After a hit by Giants’ Andres Torres, Fred Lewis cranked one out to center in what could have driven in a run. Enter a fantastically fast Jim Edmonds (trying to earn an OF utility spot on the 40-man roster). He nabbed the ball at the wall, crashing hard into a Racing Sausage advertisement, specifically the Chorizo Sausage on the poster. By the way, both Edmonds and sausage were okay.
Capuano again found himself in a situation with runners threatening in the sixth. But he struck out Kevin Frandsen to end the inning and fittingly went on to earn the 12-1 win. How’s that for a homecoming?
The home stadium atmosphere was warm and friendly Friday, for both fans and players. Players gathered before the game to exchange hugs, high-fives, crack jokes and catch up with each other. If you think Fielder and Braun work well together on the field, you should see them interact with each other off it. Those two were also warmly greeted by Hart, Weeks and Edmonds. Once again the family has been reunited and it was awesome to witness it.
Fans were able to grab several of the players for autographs and every time they could toss a ball to the kids, players and coaches took advantage of it. The most crowd-friendly prospect/player within the Brewers organization is, by far, Lorenzo Cain. Every day we’ve been here, he has been the last player to leave the park. He signs each and every ball, hat, program and shirt, he talks to fans and kids and he even gave a bat to one of them Friday. His generosity is earning him fan loyalty early and his effort on the field is golden, too.
Cain has been one of the best in his AAA class this week. He hit a triple Friday in the 6th inning and has looked good out in centerfield as well. Among the others in the minors, pitcher Kameron Loe, RF Erik Miller, SS Zelous Wheeler and 2B Eric Ferris looked decent. Chris Errecart impressed offensively with a solo homer, as did minor leaguer Erik Komatsu. IF Taylor Green showed the coaching staff he can work a pitch count, and we wanted to give him a little shoutout after having met his mother and father Saturday. We sat in front of them the entire game and it was incredible to see some of the players’ parents and families coming out to see the competition and support their loved one.
As for the starters, both Hart and Braun had solo homers, while Alcides Escobar smacked a three-run homer. And it was baseball as usual, with Fielder coming out of the dugout and holding up both hands for Braun to execute the punch, punch, swipe celebration those two are famous for. The Brewers bats are back-in-action and it feels good. Here’s to hoping Saturday’s smackdown on the Giants and 12 runs scored is here to stay long after Spring Training ends.
We’ll be back tomorrow from Maryvale, as the Brewers invite the Cincinnati Reds to play. As always, follow us on Twitter for live highlights and fun tidbits @MilwBrewersBeat. Then check back on The SportsBank.net for more pictures and details.