PHOENIX -- The Brewers are still discussing their plan for "eye in the sky" John Shelby, a seventh member of the coaching staff added for 2011 to coach the outfielders and aid in defensive positioning.The job is a throwback to the days of ballparks with sunken dugouts and crowned fields that made it difficult for coaches to see where their defenders were positioned. That's why Yankees owner George Steinbrenner decided in 1979 to install a recently retired Minor League pitcher named Doug Melvin to a post in the press box, where Melvin communicated with coach Yogi Berra via walkie-talkie. Melvin is now general manager of the Brewers, and the idea to bring back an "eye in the sky" was born during interviews with his eventual pick as manager, Ron Roenicke, who served that role for the Dodgers in 1991 and '92. "It's no different than the NFL, where a lot of the coordinators are up in the booth and they get a bird's-eye view of what's going on," Melvin said. The difference is that Major League rules have changed since Melvin's days in the position and now bar the use of electronic communications equipment. So Shelby will either watch the game and record data from the press box or watch the game from the clubhouse video room and send communications to the dugout when necessary. "It will probably be a combination of both," Melvin said. "I don't think we utilize the position enough anymore. We give outfielders cards that show them where they're supposed to be positioned, but someone with John Shelby's experience, it gives you a different viewpoint. Defense is important." Roenicke used to relay signs from his post in the press box with then-Dodgers center fielder Brett Butler, who would waggle his glove if he wanted assistance from Roenicke about where to set up. "For me, I want John to be more a scout, to watch the ballgame and watch our overall positioning," Roenicke said. Shelby, 52, spent the last three seasons with Baltimore as first-base coach and outfield instructor and also held those positions with the Dodgers (1998-2005) and Pirates (2006-07). The former outfielder played 11 seasons in the Major Leagues with the Orioles, Dodgers and Tigers from 1981-91.
Greinke, Prince reunited in big leagues
PHOENIX -- When Prince Fielder met Zack Greinke in 2001, he didn't know Greinke would someday be the American League Cy Young Award winner. Fielder didn't know Greinke could pitch at all.The Orlando natives played together in showcases when they were high school juniors and seniors. Fielder was a first baseman, of course, and Greinke played third base. "I didn't know he pitched until I saw him on TV [later]," Fielder said. "I knew he could throw hard, but I knew he could hit, too. He hit third in the showcase, so that's pretty good." Greinke will get his chance to hit in 2011. After seven seasons with the Royals in the AL, including a 2009 season in which he 16-8 for a 65-97 team, posted a 2.16 ERA and won the Cy Young Award, Greinke was traded to the Brewers in December. He should fit right in -- Brewers pitchers led the league last year in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, home runs and RBIs.
Egan tries to stick with Crew as Rule 5 pick
PHOENIX -- Right-hander Pat Egan pitched four years in the Orioles chain but only one inning in a Major League Spring Training game, as a loner from Minor League camp. How did it go?"I got a ninth inning against the Yankees last year, which was pretty cool," he said. "I struck the first guy out, I gave up a home run to the second guy on the first pitch and then I struck the next two guys out. So it's hard to say. I was in such a trance, it was like, 'Was that good or was that bad?'" At least he threw strikes, a habit that will serve him well in his bid to stick with the Brewers as a Rule 5 Draft pick. Per rules of the Draft, held annually on the final day of the Winter Meetings, a player must stick on his new team's 25-man roster all season or be offered back to his old team for half of the original $50,000 claim cost. The Brewers haven't carried a Rule 5 pick on Opening Day since reliever Jeff Bennett in 2004. This spring, the Brewers expect to have only one opening in the bullpen, so the 6-foot-8, 26-year-old Egan probably faces long odds. But considering he would not have even been in big league camp with Baltimore, he'll take it. Egan had spoken with agent Rick Oliver prior to the Rule 5 Draft and was aware of the possibility he could be picked. Ultimately, the Brewers and Orioles swapped players. Baltimore used the Draft's fourth pick on Adrian Rosario, a right-hander who combined on a no-hitter last season at Class A Wisconsin, and Milwaukee took Egan five players later. The clubs could decide simply to swap the players later, but each would have to pass through waivers first. Egan, a sinkerball pitcher who, because of his height and ability to work multiple innings draws comparisons to Kameron Loe, is more focused on winning a spot on the Brewers' roster. "That's the idea," Egan said. "I think that's the mind-set you have to come in with, and if it doesn't work out, at least you had a chance in big league Spring Training somewhere. I'm just going to try to do what I normally do and won't try to throw 100 mph. That's not what I do. I'm not an overpowering pitcher."