Alcides Escobar could be something special for Brewers

April 04, 2010

Rookie shortstop Alcides Escobar (above) is the biggest reason the Brewers looked as solid this spring as any team in Arizona. He entered the weekend error-free in 19 games, helping Milwaukee allow only 10 unearned runs, which matched the Twins' total as the majors low. Escobar also was continuing the hitting (.333 spring average) that helped him win a batting title in Venezuela, justifying his standing as a Rookie of the Year candidate. … Jon Rauch is getting the first chance to be the Twins' closer. The asking price for established relievers such as Heath Bell and Jason Frasor was higher than the Twins and Cubs were willing to pay. … Indians manager Manny Acta is a big believer in outfielder Michael Brantley, 22, who landed on the Opening Day roster when first baseman Russell Branyan went to the DL. Matt LaPorta will move from left to first. Acta calls Brantley "a coach's dream." … Journeyman lefty Chris Narveson pitched well for the Brewers this spring, putting himself in position to get some starts while Jeff Suppan is on the DL. … The Marlins are serious about making a playoff run. That's why they kept Dan Uggla (he and Hanley Ramirez are in their fifth year together as a middle-infield combo) and traded for Nate Robertson, who becomes the fifth starter behind a capable mix of Josh Johnson, Ricky Nolasco, Anibal Sanchez and Chris Volstad.

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