Notes: Turnbow works out of trouble
Outfield trade talk simmers; Suppan suffers a setback
PHOENIX -- Yes, it was only a Spring Training game. But coming off a brutal second half of 2006, Derrick Turnbow was feeling pretty good about the way he wiggled out of trouble on Saturday.
"I treat it like the regular season, and a save situation is a save situation," said Turnbow, who closed out the Brewers' 9-8 win over the Diamondbacks at Maryvale Baseball Park. "It was really good to get out there and get the job done and get that feeling back again."
He's feeling it this spring. In four, one-inning stints this spring, Turnbow has yet to allow a run.
On Saturday he worked around two hits -- an infield single and an up-the-middle grounder by former Brewer Dave Krynzel -- and tagged out the potential tying run at the plate for his first Cactus League save.
With runners at the corners and one out, a Turnbow pitch bounced in front of catcher Mike Rivera and scuttled away. Rivera retrieved it and shoveled to a covering Turnbow, who tagged out speedy pinch-runner Rich Thompson.
"I thought initially that Turnbow was a step late, but he wasn't," manager Ned Yost said. "It was perfect. ... We're doing a lot of our fundamental stuff real well right now. I'm pleased with that."
Turnbow said he feels "pretty close" to midseason form, but he is curious about the radar gun readings. The club's official gun had Turnbow at 92-94 mph in an intrasquad game just before the start of Cactus League play. He usually throws his fastball in the high 90s.
Turnbow tested his theory that the Brewers have a faulty gun by checking in with some old Angels acquaintances after an appearance in Tempe earlier in the week. He says they were clocking him nearer 100 mph.
"If I'm throwing 92, something's wrong," Turnbow said. "I don't know what the deal is with the gun. You can tell how hard you're throwing."
He has thrown mostly fastballs this spring, but struck out D-backs infielder Brian Barden on Saturday with a slider in the dirt. Command issues -- beginning with the slider -- contributed to Turnbow's downfall in the second half of 2006, when he posted a 13.06 ERA over his final 27 appearances and lost the closer's role to Francisco Cordero.
Turnbow will start the season as Cordero's setup man.
Nothing doing: General manager Doug Melvin expects to begin fielding phone calls next week regarding his glut of outfielders. But so far, trade talk has been light.
"I've made some calls myself, but I haven't heard anything back," said Melvin, who called five colleagues Saturday morning but only got through to one. "I'm not sure if teams are not interested or they're not ready to do anything yet. Maybe they want to see some more games."
Melvin tried to find suitors for veterans Geoff Jenkins and Kevin Mench during the Winter Meetings but did not find a match. If neither is traded, Yost has said he's considering a time-share agreement in left field.
"The toughest thing is figuring out what we need," Melvin said. "We've talked some about adding another left-handed reliever, but there aren't a lot of those guys available. We like our team right now. We like our depth. It's not like we have any glaring holes."
Tough day: Brewers principal investor Mark Attanasio is hosting his investors at Maryvale Baseball Park this weekend, and they got an up-close look at the team's big offseason acquisition.
It was not the first impression Jeff Suppan was hoping to make. The right-hander, who agreed to a four-year, $42 million contract on Christmas Eve, surrendered a home run in each of the three innings he pitched, allowing five total runs on seven hits.
"Today wasn't a good day in terms of the fastball," Suppan said. "But I was able to throw some curveballs and some decent changeups in there. I was trying to pitch."
Arizona second baseman Alberto Collaspo hit a fastball for a solo home run in the first inning, left fielder Scott Hairston hit another for a solo shot in the second and third baseman Chad Tracy hit a cutter for a three-run homer in the third.
Suppan said he had trouble "getting on top" of his pitches, leaving them flat. He relies on a heavy sinker to induce ground balls.
"He was trying to pitch to contact and hit spots in the strike zone. He was just getting too much contact," Yost said.
Said Suppan: "Obviously I have a lot of adjustments to make before my next outing."
Familiar face: Lefty Dana Eveland, traded to Arizona in the deal that brought catcher Johnny Estrada, starter Claudio Vargas and reliever Greg Aquino to Milwaukee, pitched three effective innings on Saturday, limiting his old teammates to a run on four hits.
Eveland is a candidate for the D-backs' fifth starter slot. Technically, he was in the same position last spring, though Eveland said it didn't feel that way.
"The thing is, I never really felt like I had much of a chance last year in camp of making the team," he said. "So this is my first time I've really actually battled for a spot and felt like I had chance for it. But at the same time, I'm getting older, I'm getting more mature and I'm not going out there trying to overdo it. I'm just going about my business."
Inching back: Brewers head physician William Raasch cleared third baseman Ryan Braun to resume throwing on Saturday. Braun had been complaining of a sore elbow.
"I'm assuming it will be a somewhat gradual process," Braun said of his work back to game readiness. "I don't know an exact timeframe, but I'm hoping 3-5 days."
The Brewers are considering Braun for third base, but will more likely use veterans Tony Graffanino and Craig Counsell at that position. Does Braun view his aches as a setback?
"I would hope not, but obviously it never helps when you miss a week," he said. "But if I'm able to come back, and I'm healthy, hopefully I'll at least have time to get ready for the start of the season. I would much rather miss a few days in Spring Training than have it become something serious."
Last call: Center fielder Laynce Nix, who made a pair of diving catches and homered in Friday's game against the Royals, hit another home run on Saturday against Arizona. His booming solo shot cleared the "batter's eye" in center field. ... Dave Bush will make his next start in a "B" game against the Rangers at Maryvale Baseball Park on Monday. Kevin Millwood will start that 10 a.m. MT tilt. Yost elected to have Bush, a lock for the rotation, pitch in the early game so he could see prospects Carlos Villanueva and Yovani Gallardo in the "A" game that afternoon. ... The Brewers will travel to Mesa on Saturday to face the Cubs for the second time in five days. It's the same pitching matchup as Wednesday's meeting: Brewers right-hander Claudio Vargas versus Cubs right-hander Jason Marquis.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.