Notes: Wise puts surgery behind him
Brewers reliever feeling strong after offseason procedure
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Brewers reliever Matt Wise says he is "extremely, extremely encouraged" by his Spring Training so far, particularly the feel of his fastball.
Wise, who was coming off Tommy John elbow surgery when he joined the Brewers in 2004, this spring is working back from another, more minor surgery to relieve an inflamed nerve. He pitched a scoreless inning in Sunday's 5-4 loss to the Angels, Wise's former team.
"It doesn't matter how minor or major [surgery] is, you don't know what's going to happen until you get out there and throw with it," Wise said. "Hopefully, that is the last one I have."
Wise began feeling a "zinging" sensation in his elbow last July 18 in San Francisco. He threw 2 2/3 hitless, scoreless innings in that game, but was paid a visit by manager Ned Yost and head athletic trainer Roger Caplinger because Wise was shaking his arm.
"We got through it, but it kind of progressed and got worse and worse," Wise said. "It only hurt pitching in a game -- not warming up beforehand. It got pretty unbearable."
Wise compared the sensation to being struck on the funny bone. It particularly affected his changeup because of the grip. "I'm, happy to have it behind me," he said. "I want to throw this year as many times as they'll let me."
Slow starter: Chris Capuano started against the Angels and had a forgettable afternoon. He worked around an error and a hit in a scoreless first inning, then surrendered three runs on two hits, three walks and a hit batter in the second. Capuano's pitch count pushed over 40, and Yost was forced to call in Ben Hendrickson to record the final out of the inning.
"In the second inning I was way too deliberate out there," Capuano said. "I was thinking too much about mechanics instead of getting the ball and being aggressive with it."
The frame began against Angels first baseman Casey Kotchman, who hit a hanging slider for a home run. Five batters later, Capuano walked Gary Matthews, Jr. with the bases loaded to force in a run. Orlando Cabrera added a sacrifice fly to make it 3-0.
Capuano plans to throw two side sessions before his next Cactus League outing. He will focus on fastball command in the first, then on breaking balls in the second.
"I feel physically OK," he said. "It's so hard for me, because in my sides I never get up to game speed. Then all of a sudden [in a game], you have to turn it up another gear. Hopefully the next time won't be as bad."
An up-close look at the club as we approach Opening Day
Work paid off: Derrick Turnbow took only five days off following a disastrous 2006 season, and his long winter of work appears to be paying dividends.
Turnbow worked a 1-2-3 eighth inning on Sunday, his second scoreless outing this spring.
"Way ahead of where I was last year. A hundred times ahead of last year at this time," he said.
He was an All-Star last season, but faded in the second half. Turnbow put up a 13.06 ERA over his final 27 games, going 0-6 in that span with one save and four blown saves. He lost the closer's job to Francisco Cordero.
"I couldn't ask for a better start so far," Turnbow said. "I worked on mechanics all offseason and was able to figure out what I needed to do."
Last call: Reliever Greg Aquino took the loss in the ninth, when an error by Brewers third baseman Ozzie Chavez set up a Reggie Willits game-winning single. ... Rickie Weeks, Geoff Jenkins and Bill Hall all got Sunday off. J.J. Hardy and Corey Hart are among those scheduled for an off-day Monday. "You've got to give them a break," Yost said. ... The Brewers plan to play a "B" game against the Rangers at Maryvale Baseball Park on March 12. ... First baseman Prince Fielder took batting and fielding practice Sunday for the first time since straining his right quadriceps last Wednesday. "Grounders right at him," Yost said. "We're not going to range him yet." Fielder could play in a game by midweek. ... Third baseman Ryan Braun, the Cactus League leader in a number of categories, did not play for a second straight day. Braun is complaining of a sore right elbow, but assistant general manager Gord Ash said the injury is not considered significant
On deck: Jeff Suppan will pitch his first Cactus League game for the Brewers on Monday, when the team hosts Mark Buehrle and the White Sox at Maryvale Baseball Park. Also scheduled to pitch for Milwaukee is Chris Oxspring, Manny Parra, Dennis Sarfate, Brian Shouse, Mike Jones and Luis Pena. Suppan and Oxspring will work two innings or 35 pitches, the others will get one inning apiece.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.