Notes: Torres taking it slow, steady
Gagne going extra mile; promotional schedule released
PHOENIX -- Salomon Torres, one of the veteran additions to the Brewers bullpen, has been limited by a sore shoulder and elbow this week and could follow the same nice-and-easy path paved last spring by then-closer Francisco Cordero.Torres, who turns 36 on March 11, built a miniature gym in the basement of his Pittsburgh-area home so he could work out during the winter, but still felt sore in the first few days after reporting to Maryvale Baseball Park. In past seasons he would have kept quiet, but this time decided to discuss the issue with members of the Brewers' athletic training staff. "Once I hit the mound, everything was a problem, from my neck to my toes," Torres said. "I explained to them that in the past I had struggled in the first part of the season, probably due to doing too much in Spring Training. ... I basically said, 'Find a way where I can start strong.'" He added: "Maybe this is the way to go, taking into consideration all the games I have thrown through the years, and my age, even though I feel like I'm 18 years old. ... It doesn't make any sense to think I'm a hero in Spring Training or simulated bullpen sessions. I'll take my time and be physically ready when the bell rings." The team decided to hold Torres out of early bullpen sessions, though he did throw on flat ground Wednesday and said the soreness had subsided by Thursday morning. The Brewers constructed a similar program last spring for Cordero, who had experienced shoulder discomfort early in 2006, while with Texas, that eventually caused him to lose the closer's role there. Cordero didn't pitch in a game for the Brewers until March 9, then won a spot on the All-Star team and set a franchise record with 44 saves. Torres called himself a traditionally slow starter, and he missed more than a month of last season in June and July because of elbow tendinitis that he said began way back in Spring Training. For his career, Torres has a 5.13 ERA before the All-Star break and 3.54 ERA after it. "It's not a major ordeal," Brewers manager Ned Yost said. "Again, our focus is on having players ready to go on [March] 31. That's why we're taking it so cautious with him this year." The Brewers have a 2009 option on Torres. He said he will decide after the season whether this is his last. "It could be," he said. "I'm just going to do everything I can to help this team win. After that, we'll see. There's still a whole lot of options. I'm taking it one year at a time, and I don't want to say, 'either, or.' I don't want to create a controversy."
On the other hand: New closer Eric Gagne has been working overtime. Gagne had thrown three straight days through Wednesday, though Yost and pitching coach Mike Maddux said everything was being done in a controlled fashion."He's one of the leaders," Maddux said. "He's going out there doing everything we ask of him and, shockingly, [he] asked me to throw an unscheduled bullpen. He wanted to work on things already. We've got a while, but he's not going to be satisfied with being OK." Does Maddux worry about Gagne burning out too early? "Part of me was nervous, part of me was excited," Maddux said. "I figured you have to give the benefit of the doubt to the guy who knows his body and knows how he feels. He's not going to do something stupid. I hope not." Mark the calendar: The Brewers unveiled their promotional schedule on Thursday, including six "all-fan" bobblehead dates, the return of Autograph Fridays at Miller Park and the date of the annual 5K Sausage Run/Walk, which will begin at 9 a.m. CT on Saturday, July 26. The full promotional schedule can be downloaded at Brewers.com. He said it: "Let's drop 'win now,' OK? Let's just drop that. Let's forget, 'win now,' because that's the name of the game. Win today. It's not like it's new." -- Yost, apparently tired of hearing about the high expectations for his team Last call: Brewers farm director Reid Nichols was struck in the right cheek by a batted ball during Thursday's workout but walked off the field on his own. Nichols' face was swollen and bruised, but he was otherwise OK, Yost said. ... Another of Milwaukee's new relievers, veteran righty Guillermo Mota, has been among the most impressive arms in camp. That doesn't surprise Maddux, who pointed out that Mota played winter ball and should be ahead of most other pitchers at this point. ... Assistant general manager Gord Ash said that Minor League infielder Alcides Escobar would not be on hand for Saturday's first full-squad workout because of issues getting the proper paperwork in Venezuela. Escobar had an appointment to pick up his papers on Friday afternoon and is expected to arrive Sunday or Monday. Only Escobar and Dominican infielder Ozzie Chavez had yet to report as of Thursday. ... Catcher Lou Palmisano agreed to contract terms, inking a one-year deal. He will be sidelined at least through the weekend by a sore left knee.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.