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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Monday, July 28, 2014

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The Brewers are about three weeks away from opening day.
The Brewers are about three weeks away from opening day.

Postcard from Maryvale: Roster roulette begins

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Brewers expect to make a round of roster cuts on Monday, but there won't be any big surprises.

Those may come later in camp.

As spring training churns past the mid-point, the battle for the final few roster spots is in full swing. Infielder Joe Inglett, claimed off waivers from Texas late in January, is making a strong bid to win what could be the last roster spot among non-pitchers.

Inglett, 31, has played 21 big-league games with Cleveland and Toronto in the past four seasons. The Brewers liked his bat and versatility, which have been on display this spring.

Though he's primarily a second baseman, Inglett got a start at shortstop -- a position he played in the minors -- on Sunday afternoon.

"I was pleasantly surprised," manager Ken Macha said after hitting Inglett groundballs to Inglett in the pregame workout.

"I was watching to see how he moved around. I wanted to see how he got his feet underneath him. Strength of his arm, coming across the diamond. Ability to get the feed on the double play. He did all those pretty well."

In the game Sunday, Inglett had one putout and one assist. 

"He was OK," Macha said. "If we had an emergency, I wouldn't feel like it would be a deficit for us to have him out there."

Macha said Inglett told him that he can play catcher, too.

"Just put me in the lineup," Inglett said.

It doesn't hurt that two of Inglett's competitors for a roster spot coming into a camp, Mat Gamel (shoulder injury) and Hernan Iribarren (claimed by Texas), have fallen by the wayside.

Asked about the battle for the last few roster spots, Macha said, "I think we're going to have 13 position players. I‘ve got eight guys on the field. We've got two bench guys, as far as outfielders are concerned and a catcher (to back up Greg Zaun). That's 11. (Craig) Counsell is 12. (That leaves) one left.

"Where that goes, I don't know."

At present, Matt Treanor appears to be leading the backup catcher derby over George Kottaras.

The battle for the 12 jobs on the pitching staff is less clear. Nine spots seem occupied: Yovani Gallardo, Randy Wolf and Doug Davis and probably Jeff Suppan in the rotation; and, Trevor Hoffman, Todd Coffey, LaTroy Hawkins, Claudio Vargas, Carlos Villanueva and Mitch Stetter in the bullpen.

That would leave Manny Parra, Dave Bush, Chris Narveson, John Axford and others competing for the final two spots on the staff.

Gamel update: A sore shoulder has limited Gamel this spring. Macha was told that Gamel pinched his rotator cuff on a swing. Though he's making progress, Gamel likely won't have enough time to earn a big-league job.

Notebook: Baseball commissioner Bud Selig visited the press box Sunday at Scottsdale Stadium. Selig made the visits often in previous springs, but said that he hasn't felt the need to do so this year because things have been relatively quiet ... Suppan gave up two homers in the first inning, but settled down after that. He gave up some long outs, but held the Giants scoreless until Fred Lewis homered in the bottom of the fourth ... Casey McGehee played in back-to-back games for the first time on Sunday. Macha said that McGehee has been more concerned with his swing than his surgically-repaired knee. "He's going to have to make some adjustments this year," Macha said. "Last spring, he hit a home run every other at-bat. He's a hard worker. He'll get his stuff straightened out."... Macha said that "outside of a few guys" -- meaning Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun and the like -- that the lineup could float a bit this year. McGehee could end up batting second or fifth. Gomez could hit second. "It depends on match-ups," he said, adding that the idea of hitting the pitcher in the No. 8 spot is "on the back burner right now."

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