MINNEAPOLIS -- The Brewers were poised to make a midseason acquisition of sorts on Saturday, with reliever Takashi Saito back with the team and ready for active duty after missing nearly three months with hamstring, rib cage and shoulder injuries.
The Brewers originally expected to make a roster move for Saito on Friday night, but after a late-night loss to the Twins, manager Ron Roenicke said that the team would wait until Saturday instead.
Roenicke conceded that the timing of Saito's return is not exactly ideal. The Brewers finish Interleague Play on Sunday afternoon and may be inclined to return Mat Gamel, promoted this week to serve as the team's designated hitter at Yankee Stadium and Target Field, to Nashville, where he can play every day. Saito could have simply taken Gamel's roster spot.By bringing him back for Saturday's game, the Brewers faced a more difficult call. Club officials have discussed it at length over the past week. "This is the thing: [Saito has] had a rough start to the season," Roenicke said. "He wants to get activated. He's done everything we've asked him to do. He's healthy now, he's feeling good and we need to see how much this guy's going to help us for the rest of the season. "He's very important, I think, for our bullpen and what we do. I agree with you -- the timing might not be right to activate him. But the timing is right for him, and we feel the sooner we get him back here before the All-Star break, the sooner we can see where he's going to fit, what role he's going to be in, how healthy he's going to be -- he says he feels great now. "So that's probably more what we're thinking. I know the other stuff, you look at it and you say, 'Why not wait a few more days?' But for him, I just think the timing's right." The most serious of Saito's ailments was a left rib cage strain, suffered in late April at Triple-A Nashville when he was rehabbing a left hamstring injury. "I've had many injuries in the past, but this injury especially, the highs and lows are extreme," Saito said through his interpreter, Kosuke Inaji. "I would feel really good one day and I don't feel good the next. It's been pretty tough." Saito pitched discomfort-free in his final three outings for Nashville and made six scoreless appearances for the Sounds in all. He will ease back into a back-end bullpen role with LaTroy Hawkins, Kameron Loe and closer John Axford. "I'm very excited," Saito said. "I'm half excited, half nervous. I just can't wait to get back. I understand we already have a setup [man] and closer already. I'm just going to be ready for whenever my name is called -- except for starting."
Fielder could pick all-Crew crew for Derby
MINNEAPOLIS -- Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder will swing for the fences in another State Farm Home Run Derby, and this time he will select three National Leaguers to swing along with him.Fielder and Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz were named captains for the popular annual event, part of All-Star Game festivities at Chase Field in Phoenix. Fielder won it in 2009 in St. Louis; Ortiz won last summer in Anaheim. Under a new format this season, each man will assemble a team of four sluggers to compete in a National League vs. American League showdown. According to a Brewers spokesperson, Fielder is not just an honorary captain. He will actually pick his team, and All-Star Game hopefuls Rickie Weeks and Ryan Braun both said that they had already chatted with Fielder about it. Braun was considering the invitation but worried about pushing his sore left shoulder, which has bothered him for two months and has just recently started feeling strong. But how could Weeks say no? He is the godfather of both of Fielder's young sons. "I have no problem doing it if Prince asks me," Weeks said. "We [play Home Run Derby] a lot in Spring Training. It would be real cool to have a couple of guys from the team doing it." Asked about his approach to the event, Weeks said, "Just get in the batting cage and hit the ball out of the park, that's all." Braun participated in the '08 Derby in New York and is on the fence about this year's event. His eyes did grow wide with one idea -- since Derby participants do not have to be All-Stars, Fielder could simply invite teammates Braun, Weeks and right fielder Corey Hart for an all-Milwaukee field. "We talked about it, but, honestly, I'm just starting to get healthy for the first time, so I don't know," Braun said. "It would be fun, though. I had a good time in '08. We don't get a lot of down time, and it's a fine line between competing, wanting to enjoy the experience and letting your body recover a little bit. "I think it's amazing that [Fielder] gets to pick the team. Ultimately, if Rickie or I want to do it, it's up to us, basically." Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said that he worried about the Home Run Derby affecting a player's swing, and named Braun and Weeks as two particular hitters that he could see getting out of whack. The winning captain will get $150,000 for the charity of his choice, and the losing captain gets $25,000. And another $100,000 will go to the Boys & Girls Club of America in the name of the winning captain. On top of that, State Farm and Major League Baseball will combine to donate $18,000 for every home run hit with a Gold Ball during the competition. State Farm will also give $3,000 to BGCA for every non-Gold Ball hit during the Derby.
Third baseman Mat Gamel, a left-handed hitter, served as the designated hitter on Thursday against Yankees southpaw CC Sabathia and went 0-for-3 against him with two strikeouts. Gamel did not start on Friday against another lefty, Francisco Liriano of the Twins. "I don't want to put him in there again today and have it mess him up," Roenicke said.