PITTSBURGH -- The Brewers are considering Mike Fiers' winter workload into their decision about a possible shutdown before the end of the season, meaning Fiers might not be shut down until deep into September, if at all.Fiers has pitched 148 2/3 innings this season between Milwaukee and the Minor Leagues, topping his 128 innings in 2011 and his 125 innings in '10. But those totals do not include the 28 1/3 innings Fiers worked last year in the Venezuelan Winter League, or the 18 2/3 innings he pitched in the '10 Arizona Fall League. The stint in Venezuela pushed Fiers to 154 1/3 innings in 2011, not including Spring Training. The Brewers prefer to limit pitchers to 120-130 percent of their previous season's workload, so, using that math, Fiers would get 185-200 innings in '12. That leaves him 35-50 additional innings. That winter work explains why Brewers manager Ron Roenicke, who has been asked at length about the team's plan for young arms like Fiers and Mark Rogers, continues to say that, "right now, I'm not thinking about that." Fiers would prefer to pitch through the end of the season. "I feel fine, and I hope I pitch the rest of the year," Fiers said. "I feel like, if you're healthy, you might as well pitch. ... I understand the whole idea of saving your arm and that you don't want to overdo it, especially if they want to get a look at some younger guys. "I feel like, not that I'm stronger, but earlier in the year, I was maybe stronger, but I wasn't pitching right. Now that I'm in a groove, I'm pitching better, with better command, instead of throwing harder. It is a long year for everyone, but right now I have better control of my pitches and it feels better than earlier in the year. I feel good and I want to keep throwing."
Braun wowed by Dodgers-Red Sox deal
PITTSBURGH -- Ryan Braun grew up a Dodgers fan, and his reaction to Los Angeles' blockbuster trade with the Red Sox went like this:"You see something like that flash across the screen and you're like, 'Yeah, right,'" Braun said. "This time of year, there's a million rumors. Those are huge names, huge contracts." This was no rumor, it was real. "It's pretty amazing," Braun said. "I don't remember a time like it in L.A. sports history. The Kings won a championship, the Lakers just got Steve Nash and Dwight Howard, and the Dodgers just picked up $500 million in salary for seven All-Stars." He was exaggerating about the Dodgers' additions, but not by much. The team that traded for former All-Stars Hanley Ramirez and Shane Victorino in July completed a trade on Saturday for more -- All-Stars Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett, plus Nick Punto. The Dodgers also picked up about $260 million in payroll obligations. The Red Sox got first baseman James Loney and a package of prospects: infielder Ivan DeJesus, Jr., right hander Allen Webster and two players to be named, plus payroll relief. "I think the motivation for that deal, to be completely honest with you, it's that [upcoming Dodgers] TV deal," Braun said. "That's going to be a monster TV deal. That's why the Angels signed Albert [Pujols], and [the Dodgers' deal] is going to be bigger than we've ever seen. It's going to be a crazy influx of cash." It highlights one of the Brewers' biggest challenges: One of baseball's least lucrative television contracts. According to the New York Times, it pays less than $10 million this season but will triple beginning with a new deal that runs from 2013-19. Compare that to teams like the Angels and Rangers, who recently signed 20-year, $3 billion broadcast rights agreements, according to reports. That works out to about $150 million per year. Brewers manager Ron Roenicke, a former Dodger, noted that the Dodgers will also reap revenue from extra ticket sales in the wake of their trades. "I think when you have a lot of money like they have, and you buy the Dodgers, and you want to win, spend it," Roenicke said. Of the Brewers' challenges, Roenicke said, "It makes us have to be smarter with what we do, and it can work. You see the Tampa Bays, and Oakland this year. It can be done. It's got to be a lot more fun to do it that way, rather than just sign whoever you want." Braun smiled when he saw the highlight of Gonzalez's three-run home run in his first Dodgers at-bat. "That's Hollywood, man," Braun said. "What would you expect?"
Roenicke plans to keep Weeks in two-hole
PITTSBURGH -- Brewers second baseman Rickie Weeks has slipped backwards in recent weeks after working hard to push his batting average over the Mendoza Line, but manager Ron Roenicke said he had did not intend to drop Weeks back down in the batting order.Roenicke bumped Weeks up to the two-hole on Aug. 12, after a 52-game stretch in which Weeks batted .282 and consistently drove the baseball. But from Aug. 12 through Saturday, Weeks went 8-for-50 (.160) with two extra-base hits. "I know you say things haven't gone as well, but look at the ball he killed to left-center [on Friday, for a long out to the deepest part of PNC Park]," Roenicke said. "That's a home run anywhere. And look at some of the bullets he's hit at people. I think you have to look at the at-bats and what's going on."
Right-hander Shaun Marcum reported to manager Ron Roenicke that he felt "great" on Sunday, a day after returning from a two-month stay on the disabled list. Marcum absorbed a loss to the Pirates on Saturday night after surrendering four unearned runs in the fifth inning."I really thought he threw the ball well," Roenicke said. "I really would have liked to see him go into the sixth and see what would have happened in the sixth inning. But his pitches were really good. He really had those guys baffled."