MILWAUKEE -- It was just like old times at Miller Park on Friday, with second baseman Rickie Weeks bashing batting practice home runs into the bleachers. But Weeks still has some steps to take before he returns from a left ankle injury.He took two more steps on Friday afternoon, hitting and running on the field for the first time since July 27, when he severely sprained his ankle running to first base. Before Friday, Weeks had been limited to running on a treadmill in the training room, and until he is able to change directions and run the bases, he will not be cleared to begin a rehabilitation assignment. Time is running out for that. Minor League seasons end Sept. 5, and the Brewers are not sure Weeks will be ready to play by then. "That may be real close to that day," manager Ron Roenicke said. Weeks downplayed the necessity of a Minor League tuneup, saying he would prefer to get ready by seeing pitches in simulated at-bats. He has been pleased with his progress. "It felt good to get out there," said Weeks, who described his running as "full-go, but just feeling out strides. I'm not trying to make any cuts or anything like that. We'll just go straight ahead first." Weeks remained confident he will be a full participant before the end of the regular season.
Green to join Brewers in long-awaited callup
MILWAUKEE -- Brewers fans are finally getting their man. Taylor Green is coming to Milwaukee.Green, the onetime Brewers Minor League Player of the Year who has enjoyed a resurgence this season, was promoted Friday night from Triple-A Nashville and will join the Brewers on Saturday, wearing Geoff Jenkins' old No. 5. The Brewers optioned reliever Tim Dillard to Nashville to make room for Green. Once Dillard spends his mandatory 10 days in the Minor Leagues, he's expected back in September. Manager Ron Roenicke coveted an extra bench bat over an extra bullpen arm. The Brewers are flush with relievers at the moment, with Marco Estrada back in the bullpen and Chris Narveson there temporarily, too. A pair of closely bunched off-days prompted the Brewers to skip one of Narveson's starts, so he will be available in the bullpen through most of the current homestand. Green, 24, went 2-for-4 in Nashville's win on Friday, including a two-run home run, his 22nd, and is hitting .336 this season. Many fans clamored for his callup earlier this season when Brewers third baseman Casey McGehee was struggling, but McGehee is hitting .289 in August with five home runs.
Gomez set for rehab, could return Wednesday
MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers sent outfielder Carlos Gomez out for a Minor League rehabilitation assignment Friday, and he could be back with the big league club a day earlier than expected.Gomez, sidelined since July 20 with a fractured left collarbone, underwent an X-ray on Friday evening and was cleared to report to Class A Wisconsin on Saturday for a four-game series against Cedar Rapids. He will start by playing four or five innings for the Timber Rattlers, and said he expected to be back with the Brewers on Wednesday, during a three-game showdown with St. Louis. They could activate him on Wednesday, or wait until rosters expand on Thursday. The club has the bullpen depth to make a move early, even after optioning Tim Dillard to Triple-A Nashville on Friday night. Right-hander Marco Estrada is back in the 'pen after making three spot starts, and left-hander Chris Narveson is temporarily in the 'pen because he's not needed in the starting rotation until Sept. 3. Either way, Gomez was itching to return. He was Milwaukee's Opening Day center fielder and is the team's best defensive player, but he had become really useful after moving into a platoon with the equally energetic Nyjer Morgan, with Morgan starting against right-handed pitchers and Gomez against lefties. Utility man Jerry Hairston Jr. has been filling that role of late, since a July 30 trade from the Nationals. "I hit in [batting practice] today and hit a couple of bombs," Gomez said with a big smile. Manager Ron Roenicke was watching, and apparently was not smiling. "He told me to hit line drives, and I said, 'No, I want to test if I'm strong enough,'" Gomez said, still smiling. "For you to hit a home run, you have to swing hard. I hit a home run today to straight center, and I feel really good."
Minor League days revisited for Kranitz, Quade
MILWAUKEE -- Brewers pitching coach Rick Kranitz was Cubs manager Mike Quade's pitching coach at Triple-A Iowa in 2004-05, part of the 22 seasons Kranitz spent in the Cubs organization. And he apparently had some unusual techniques.
Quade said he remembered one season when Kranitz wanted to change the team's luck, so he bought a samurai statue. It was presented to the players and named "Samurai Sec Taylor," in honor of what was Sec Taylor Stadium in Des Moines, where the Iowa team played.
The statue was adorned with beads and other trinkets, and the Iowa Cubs won the next two games after its debut and made the playoffs.
"Now, 'Samurai Sec Taylor' is a legend," Quade said.
They created a special box for the statue to travel in. Unfortunately, its special powers wore off in one close game in the playoffs. One of the players, Russ Johnson, was so upset, he took a bat to Samurai Sec Taylor and shattered it.
The Iowa Cubs didn't need it. They won their next two games to reach the championship series.
~ Carrie Muskat
Manager Ron Roenicke and general manager Doug Melvin met Friday to discuss September callups, but Melvin declined to offer clues because the plan could change over the next week. Roenicke has predicted a relatively modest number of promotions, but said the Brewers will "make sure we're covered in all areas," presumably meaning a mix of pitchers and at least one catcher, infielder and outfielder.
Brewers first-round Draft picks Taylor Jungmann and Jed Bradley will visit Miller Park during the homestand, Jungmann on Saturday and Bradley on Tuesday. Both will participate in the Brewers' fall instructional program, and the Brewers are considering whether to send Bradley to the prospect-rich Arizona Fall League. Jungmann won't be considered for the AFL because he threw 141 innings this season for the University of Texas.
The Brewers announced the date for next year's "On Deck" event -- Jan. 29, 2012 -- and will begin selling tickets on Thursday at 9 a.m. CT at brewers.com/ondeck. Advance tickets are $15 for adults and $9 for children 14 and under, and fans who purchase tickets by Sept. 28 will receive a free terrace reserved ticket voucher for any Monday-Wednesday home game in April 2012, excluding Opening Day and any other Marquee Games.
At least 25 Brewers players and coaches will take part in the seventh annual "Koos for Kids" dinner and silent auction on Aug. 28 in Racine, Wis. Koos for Kids is the charitable endeavor of Brewers bullpen catcher Marcus Hanel, and focuses on causes geared toward disadvantaged or ill children. For information, visit KoosForKids.com.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.