Despite a full disabled list (Zack Greinke, Corey Hart, Jonathan Lucroy and LaTroy Hawkins are all nursing injuries), opening day arrives for Milwaukee Brewers fans with as much hope as ever. Some stories to watch:
Zack Greinke, the 2009 Cy Young Award winner, procured from Kansas City in baseball's most interesting off-season deal, cracked a rib in a pickup basketball game at spring training. He's projected to return by the end of April. In a rotation that also includes 14-game-winner Yovanni Gallardo and 13-game-winner Shaun Marcum, acquired from Toronto, Greinke is expected to be the ace. Let's watch to see if he can handle the pressure of playing for a contender, instead of the moribund Royals.
To get Greinke, the Brewers dealt everyday shortstop Alcides Escobar and promising centerfielder Lorenzo Cain. Yuniesky Betancourt takes over at short and Carlos Gomez becomes the full-time centerfielder. Both can be spectacular in the field, with Gomez in particular known for his range and acrobatic catches. But neither gets on base much. Good players, like Ryan Braun, draw walks in over 8% of their plate appearances. Betencourt and Gomez walk only 3.9% and 5.3% of the time, respectively.
The newest addition to the roster is Nyjer Morgan, who will back up Gomez in centerfield. Morgan might also be the most volatile Brewer, having been involved in a few on-field "incidents" last year in Washington. Fun facts: Morgan has an on-field alter ego who goes by the name "Tony Plush" and pursued a hockey career until he was 20.