By Drew Olson Special to Published Mar 08, 2010 at 9:04 AM

While much of Milwaukee spent a balmy (by our standards) weekend focused on basketball (Bucks, Marquette Wisconsin, UWM), music (Avett Brothers, Danny Gokey) and the Oscars (wake us when the show is over), the Brewers were dodging raindrops at Maryvale Baseball Park and continuing preparations for the 2010 season.'s private jet will travel to Phoenix for this week for spring training (Editor's note: We don't really have a private jet, but don't ruin the surprise for our correspondent), so we thought it would be a good time to lay out 10 things we'll be looking for at the Brewers' second camp under Ken Macha.

Keystone cornerstone: Second baseman Rickie Weeks was off to the best start of his career (9 homers, 24 RBI) when he suffered a wrist injury 36 games into last season. Weeks has been plagued by injuries since arriving in the big leagues, but he brings an intensity and explosiveness that the Brewers need at the top of the lineup. He'll use spring training to get back in the swing of playing baseball every day. Though he's never managed to play a full season, it shouldn't be a problem. He just might be the best pure athlete on the team.

Confidence boost: New pitching coach Rick Peterson will be under scrutiny this season, and lefty Manny Parra may be his most scrutinized pupil. Parra has teased the Brewers with flashes of brilliance interspersed with fits of frustrations and deer-in-the-headlights moments. Parra's talent is evident. This is the year to unlock it.

Thievery: With Weeks back in the mix and Alcides Escobar and Carlos Gomez expected to play key roles, lots of observers expect speed to be a bigger part of the Brewers' offensive attack this season. Manager Ken Macha doesn't like to give up outs, but he doesn't like to leave runs on the table, either. It'll be interesting to see if the Brewers try to steal more bases this season. if they do, it'll start in camp.

Cal me Al: For the past few years, Escobar was regarded as "ready for prime time" on defense and "in need of seasoning" at the plate. He's out to change that perception this year. He was solid during his callup last year and hit .390 in the Venezuelan winter league, but he'll be judged anew on his plate discipline and consistency. As for defense, he'll make more spectacular plays than his predecessor, J.J. Hardy. The key will be whether he makes all the routine plays, particularly those at critical moments.

Mr. Rogers: Mark Rogers, the Brewers' first-round pick in 2004, isn't expected to make the big-league roster out of camp. He might not even appear in the majors this season. If all goes well, though, he'll continue to make progress from two years of shoulder problems.

Center of attention: When Ken Macha decides on a starting lineup for opening day, his choices in center field will represent both ends of the baseball spectrum. Carlos Gomez is 24, supremely talented but also raw, unproven and undisciplined. Jim Edmonds, who did not play in 2009 and turns 40 at midseason, is a veteran hanging on for what might be his last shot. Chances are that both players will contribute this season. If the Brewers can unlock Gomez's potential, they might have their centerfielder for the next several seasons.

Hot corner: Is Casey McGehee for real? Was last year a sign of what he can produce or was it a fluky flash in the pan? McGehee, who underwent knee surgery during the off-season, will answer the question with his play. If he can continue to produce like he did a year ago, McGehee will continue to be both a solid bargain and fan favorite. If he falters, Mat Gamel will step forward for his opportunity. Don't bet against McGehee.

Is Soup on? Given his tenure, track record and contract status, Jeff Suppan probably doesn't need to have a great spring to win a spot on the roster or a job in the rotation. But, it wouldn't hurt him to throw well in the Cactus League. Suppan's contract and spotty production have made him a lightning rod with fans. If he struggles in camp, fans won't be very tolerant if he gets off to a bad start in April.

Are the kids all right? The Brewers have reached a point where most of their top prospects are playing in the big leagues. It's time for the next wave to appear. Catchers Jonathan Lucroy and Angel Salome might be the stars of the next wave, but likely aren't ready to unseat Greg Zaun and George Kottaras. Both players -- and guys like Brett Lawrie, Adam Heether and others -- could help improve their prospects with strong showings in camp this year.

A late move? Brewers GM Doug Melvin often talks about picking up a puzzle piece when teams are preparing to break camp. If another team has to cut a player late due to roster limitations or implications, Melvin could be ready to pounce and a player not in camp today could have an impact. 

Drew Olson Special to

Host of “The Drew Olson Show,” which airs 1-3 p.m. weekdays on The Big 902. Sidekick on “The Mike Heller Show,” airing weekdays on The Big 920 and a statewide network including stations in Madison, Appleton and Wausau. Co-author of Bill Schroeder’s “If These Walls Could Talk: Milwaukee Brewers” on Triumph Books. Co-host of “Big 12 Sports Saturday,” which airs Saturdays during football season on WISN-12. Former senior editor at Former reporter at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.