Brewers to unveil Wall of Honor on Friday
58 men, including Hank Aaron, qualified as inaugural inductees for the new installation
MILWAUKEE -- In what might be the largest gathering ever of former Brewers players in one place at one time, the Brewers will unveil the newest major addition to Miller Park on Friday.
Hall of Famers Hank Aaron, Rollie Fingers and Robin Yount will be among the dozens of greats in attendance for an afternoon ceremony at the Brewers Wall of Honor, a new installation outside the ballpark to commemorate longtime contributors to the club. The wall, outside the left-field concourse, will be open for public viewing beginning at 6:35 p.m. CT on Friday, and all of the participants will be honored inside Miller Park just before the start of the Brewers-Reds game.
"I'm really proud and excited," said 1971 American League Fireman of the Year Ken Sanders, the only member of the first Brewers team in 1970 to gain induction. "I've made my home here since 1970, and what makes it more special to me is the fact that, who would have ever guessed in 1970 that Milwaukee would have a team?"
Other notables scheduled to be on hand Friday include Cecil Cooper, Mike Caldwell, Jim Gantner, Teddy Higuera, Geoff Jenkins, Don Money, Charlie Moore, Ben Oglivie, Dan Plesac, Ben Sheets, Ted Simmons, B.J. Surhoff, Gorman Thomas and Greg Vaughn. Former Brewers owner and current Major League Baseball Commissioner Allan H. "Bud" Selig will be there, as will Bob Uecker and a relative of beloved former Brewers manager Harvey Kuenn.
All are among the 58 men who qualified as inaugural inductees. They are retired players who reached 2,000 plate appearances, 1,000 innings pitched or made 200 appearances on the mound for the Brewers, won a major award, persons who managed a pennant-winner, gained induction to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, or already have a statue outside Miller Park.
"When I first got the note that they were going to have the Wall of Honor, I sat back and thought, 'What a neat thing for the Brewers to do,'" said Wisconsin-born Jerry Augustine, who pitched parts of 10 seasons for the Brewers. "I thought it was pretty special, and then I looked and I saw my name on there. It's neat."
Brewers move toward deal with first-round Draft pick
MILWAUKEE -- Both sides confirmed Wednesday morning that the Brewers and first-round Draft pick Kodi Medeiros were making progress toward a deal, but said they had yet to reach an agreement on terms.
That conflicted with newspaper reports out of Hawaii, Medeiros' home state, saying the sides had already agreed to a bonus. One source characterized those reports as a "misunderstanding." A second source said there was momentum toward an agreement, but they did not expect Medeiros to be introduced at Miller Park until Saturday at the earliest.
Brewers amateur scouting director Bruce Seid said this in a text message: "As our protocol, until announced and confirmed I can't say [anything] definite, but we have motivated players and an organization that is motivated to have them all be part of it."
The Brewers are typically slow to announce agreements with First-Year Player Draft selections, opting to wait until they can release a group of names at once. They did so Wednesday evening, announcing the signings of 10 draftees, including third-round righty Cy Sneed, fourth-round outfielder Troy Stokes Jr. and ninth-round catcher Greg McCall.
According to MLB.com's own reporting, the club's release, other news sources, and players' own social media accounts, all of the Brewers' picks through Round 9 had either formally signed, agreed to terms or were nearing agreement as of Wednesday morning. That group includes the Brewers' two other Day 1 picks, supplemental first-round pick Jacob Gatewood, a prep shortstop who agreed to a $1.83 million bonus, and second-round pick Monte Harrison, a prep outfielder who agreed to sign for $1.8 million.
Both of those bonuses exceeded the amount allotted by Major League Baseball for those slots, but Medeiros' bonus is expected to come in under the recommended $2,805,700.
Other signings made official by the team include college righties Kaleb Earls (13th round) and Luke Curtis (18th round), as well as college left-hander Zach Hirsch (19th round).
Fifth-rounder Dustin DeMuth, seventh-rounder Mitch Meyer, 11th-rounder Brandon Woodruff and McCall will all begin their pro careers with the Helena Brewers, according to a preview of that team published in Wednesday's Helena Independent Record.
Four late-round arms rounded out the group of official signings: righty Donnie Hissa (21st round), righty Bubba Blau (24th round), righty Brock Hudgens (31st round) and lefty David Carver (35th round).
Gennett has experience leading off
NEW YORK -- It's been a little while since Scooter Gennett batted leadoff with any regularity.
"That would've been High A," Gennett said, recalling his 2011 season with the Brevard County Manatees. "Probably 600 at-bats that year leading off. I've led off a lot in my life, but that was the most I've led off in one season.
"It's all the same after the first at-bat. The first at-bat you want to see some pitches, have that team at-bat and see what the pitcher is working with that day. For me, after that, it's all the same."
That's music to Brewers manager Ron Roenicke's ears. Roenicke advised his newly installed leadoff man prior to Tuesday's game -- Gennett's first since replacing Jean Segura atop the lineup -- to not change his approach or change what made him the best candidate to bat No. 1.
Gennett is, however, making a slight change to that approach. His philosophy is to take the first pitch of the first at-bat during a given game in an effort to give himself -- and the teammates hitting behind him -- a look at that night's starting pitcher.
If, Gennett said, he swung at and recorded an out on that first pitch, it would put the team's second hitter, as well as Gennett himself in his next at-bat, at a disadvantage.
"It doesn't set a good tone for the game and it doesn't set a good tone for me," Gennett said. "I've had enough experience in leadoff to know to take that first strike and go from there.
"I'm a pretty aggressive hitter. I don't like watching strikes go by. But I just know from the past, leading off, getting out on that first pitch is not good."
It's unclear how long this version of the Milwaukee lineup will stay intact. Given Roenicke's inclination to not mess with a good thing -- as shown by his hesitancy to tinker with the meat of his team's lineup -- it could be a while.
In just six Major League games batting leadoff, Gennett is hitting .360/.407/.400. He reached twice Tuesday, adding a walk to his 1-for-3 effort.
"I liked what he did. Walked once, got a base hit. It's his job to get [on base], and he did what he's supposed to do," Roenicke said Tuesday night. "I want him to be the same guy. I don't want him out there necessarily taking a lot of pitches. What I thought he did well was I thought he swung at pitches he thought was in the zone, and that's what I need him to do. As we all know, he can chase at times, and if we can keep him away from that, I think he can do a good job there."
• The Brewers have until Friday to decide what to do with left-hander Tom Gorzelanny, who has yet to pitch this season as he recovers from left shoulder surgery. He has been on rehab since May 14, and Friday is the 30-day mark -- the maximum for a pitcher's rehab assignment, unless another issue arises.
In 15 2/3 innings across 10 Minor League outings -- seven of which have come with Triple-A Nashville -- Gorzelanny has a 1.15 ERA and 0.83 WHIP. He has struck out 12 and walked two.
According to Roenicke, all reports concerning Gorzelanny's health have been positive.
• Right-hander Tyler Thornburg, placed on the 15-disabled list on Saturday, has what Roenicke called "a little irritation" in his right elbow, but there is no damage. Thornburg shouldn't be on the shelf much longer than the required 15 days, but the team will be cautious.
"We need to quiet it down, so we'll back him off a while from throwing [and] take the right steps to get him back healthy again," Roenicke said.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. Tim Healey is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.