Notes: Precautions for Cordero
Though not injured, Brewers reliever taking spring slow
PHOENIX -- The Brewers are taking a cautious approach with closer Francisco Cordero this spring, and the right-hander is not expected to pitch in intrasquad games scheduled for Monday and Tuesday.
Before anyone hits the panic button, manager Ned Yost described the move as purely precautionary.
"We're taking our time with him," Yost said. "He had problems last spring, and we're working slow with him so it doesn't happen again."
Last year, Cordero was still with the Texas Rangers and was "rushing," according to Yost, to be ready to pitch for the Dominican Republic in the inaugural World Baseball Classic. Ultimately, the Rangers convinced Cordero to skip the tournament because of a sore shoulder.
He started the year as the Texas closer, but he posted an 11.45 ERA over his first 12 outings and was removed from the role. On July 28, Cordero was traded to Milwaukee along with outfielders Laynce Nix and Kevin Mench for outfielders Carlos Lee and Nelson Cruz, and Cordero posted a sterling 1.69 ERA with 16 saves after the swap.
Milwaukee exercised a $5.4 million option to bring back Cordero for 2007, and the decision to take it slow is meant to protect that investment. Yost and pitching coach Mike Maddux both said on Sunday that Cordero is not experiencing any physical discomfort.
"He's throwing [batting practice] and throwing on the side," Yost said. "He's not hurt. He's just one of the main guys we want to make sure is ready April 1. We're not pushing him at all.
"Looking at Frankie's history, it's not been very good in the spring," Yost said. "He always comes up stiff and sore. We're trying to stay away from that."
Cordero, 31, will be a free agent after the season.
Chris Capuano and Ben Sheets will start Monday's intrasquad game, the Brewers' first action on the main field at Maryvale Baseball Park. Jeff Suppan and Claudio Vargas are among the others scheduled to pitch, but the other starter -- Dave Bush -- will not throw until Tuesday.
Yost said that every pitcher in camp is scheduled to appear in one of the games, except Cordero and right-hander Vince Perkins, who has been working on a careful pitch count as he attempts a comeback from Tommy John elbow surgery.
Quiet time: Outfielder Brady Clark is taking a novel approach to Spring Training: Just play ball.
Fellow veterans Geoff Jenkins and Kevin Mench expressed displeasure last week with the potential for a platoon. But Clark said Sunday that he would rather not talk about the fact that the Brewers have seven outfielders with Major League experience in camp and the uncertainty that those players are facing.
"I would rather just take care of my own business," Clark said.
Clark, 33, batted .306 as the Brewers' starting center fielder in 2005, but he saw his playing time diminish last season. He was limited to 106 starts and batted .263 with four home runs and 29 RBIs. After scoring 94 runs the previous season, Clark scored 51 times in 2006.
During the second half of the season, he tweaked his batting stance, standing more upright in the box to drive the ball. Clark, notorious for spending as much time in the batting cage as anybody on the team, appears to be continuing that approach this spring, but he declined Sunday to talk about it.
Said Yost: "He looks good. He looks like the regular Brady."
Health notes: Second baseman Rickie Weeks may see intrasquad action after all. Yost said that Weeks had made dramatic improvement with a sore right wrist over the last three days and could take part in soft toss on Monday. He has been limited to only hitting off a tee since getting a cortisone shot last week.
"It's getting hard to hold Rickie back," Yost said. "He's hammering it off the tee. He's good. He's ready to go."
Outfielder Bill Hall was excused midway through Sunday's workout because of an upset stomach. Yost and other players and coaches have experienced the same discomfort in recent days.
Last call: The team agreed to terms Sunday with pitchers Greg Aquino, Bush, Zach Jackson, Dennis Sarfate and Carlos Villanueva, and outfielder Laynce Nix. All were one-year deals, leaving only six members of the 40-man roster unsigned for 2007: JD Closser, Prince Fielder, Gabe Gross, Tony Gwynn Jr., J.J. Hardy and Corey Hart. ... The Miller Park box office was closed Sunday because of the snowstorm that hit Saturday night and was expected to dump more white stuff on Sunday. It will reopen Monday at 9 a.m. CT. Fans can always purchase tickets 24 hours a day at Brewers.com. ... New television play-by-play man Brian Anderson will take part in a live, online chat Monday at 5 p.m. Fans must have a free MLB.com account to participate in the chat.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.