Notes: Capellan going to Nashville
Reliever headed to Triple-A on time despite trade request
MILWAUKEE -- Brewers reliever Jose Capellan will report to Triple-A Nashville in time for Thursday's opener but still wants to be traded, according to his agent.
"He's not reporting today but he will be there [on Thursday]," Bill Rego, who represents Capellan, said Wednesday morning. "After lengthy discussions, the Brewers have given me assurances that they are actively seeking a trade for Jose Capellan. Jose, without a shadow of a doubt, wants a trade. But we will honor Milwaukee's request [to report] and do what's best for Jose's future."
Capellan was so upset when the Brewers optioned him to Nashville on Sunday that he mentioned to teammates that he might retire -- comments that Rego later downplayed. The team elected to keep newly acquired right-hander Greg Aquino on the Opening Day roster in a move that apparently surprised Capellan, who pitched in 61 games for Milwaukee last season.
Rego argued that track record, not Spring Training performances, should have figured into the Brewers' decision. The Brewers countered this week that spring performances mattered, and said they told Capellan as much during the spring.
"Yeah, it breaks your heart to go down. But when you get here [to the big leagues], it doesn't punch your ticket that you're going to stay here forever," manager Ned Yost said Wednesday. "Every time you hit a little bump in the road, you can't scream you're going to retire or you want to be traded."
In Yost's opinion, "track record comes into play when you have two or three years under your belt. One year is not a track record."
Major League Baseball's Basic Agreement includes rules barring agents from arranging trades. But Rego said the Brewers did grant him permission to call other clubs to put out feelers.
"I'm just calling them to let them know there is a valuable pitcher available," Rego said. "That, of course, is at the permission of the Milwaukee Brewers. These other clubs know their business better than I do, so I'm not going to tell them what they should do."
As for Capellan's frame of mind, Rego said, "Right now, I'm proud of him. But there is always a process when a competitor feels like he has been devalued."
General manager Doug Melvin said Capellan would pitch out of Nashville's bullpen.
Ball Hawk: Considering Green Bay Packers linebacker A.J. Hawk has not played organized baseball for 10 years, he did pretty well on Wednesday.
Wearing a Brewers uniform that appeared ready to burst at the seams, Hawk took some hacks in early batting practice at Miller Park with a number of Brewers looking on, including Yost and a contingent of players led by Ben Sheets. After a brief chat with hitting coach Jim Skaalen, Hawk muscled two home runs over the left-field fence.
"I was in there just trying not to get tired," said Hawk, who later bounced a ceremonial first pitch. "I was swinging as hard as I could, obviously."
That was part of the problem, Skaalen said.
"These guys always come in thinking they have to really get their body going to launch," Skaalen said. "You should let your hands do the work, especially hands like that. ... He was trying to put balls up there in the rafters."
Veterans Tony Graffanino and Craig Counsell have seen their share of celebrity BP participants, and joked that football players are usually the worst. Hawk, Counsell said, was quite good.
Who are the best footballers they've seen at the plate?
"Brian Jordan was pretty good," Graffanino said.
"Deion Sanders, too," Counsell added.
The wise guys forgot Bo Jackson. All three played in both the National Football League and Major League Baseball.
Lefty heavy: With Mench and Graffanino in the starting lineup, the only right-handed-hitting pinch-hitter available to Yost in the bottom of the fifth inning of Tuesday's win was Damian Miller. But Miller is the backup catcher, so Yost was instead forced to use Tony Gwynn, Jr., a left-handed hitter, against Dodgers lefty Randy Wolf.
The Brewers chose Gwynn over right-handed-hitting Vinny Rottino when they made their final cuts, even though the other reserve outfielder, Gabe Gross, bats lefty. Typically, teams like to have more balance on the bench to increase the odds in favor of pinch-hitters.
"Says who?" Yost countered. "If you're going to put together a good at-bat, put together a good at-bat. I'm not afraid to put Tony, Counsell, Jenkins, any of those guys up against a lefty."
Last call: Yost started Jenkins in left field on Wednesday and used Mench in right over Corey Hart. "I planned two days ago to do that," the skipper said. "That way it gives all three of those guys two starts in the first three games. ... The Brewers are the only team in the Majors to start each of the past two seasons with consecutive wins. ... The game-time temperature outside Miller Park on Wednesday was 30 degrees Fahrenheit. Inside, it was 60 degrees, at least according to the club's thermometer. ... Righty Dave Bush, the team's leader with 12 wins last year, will make his 2007 debut against the Cubs on Friday at Miller Park. Rich Hill is scheduled to start for Chicago.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.