Brewers, Segura continue to talk contract

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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Wei-Chung Wang got his first taste of adversity with the Milwaukee Brewers on Thursday afternoon.

Starting against the Colorado Rockies at Salt River Fields on a bullpen day for the Brewers, the 21-year-old left-hander surrendered his first runs of the spring and also made a mental error in a 2 2/3-inning outing.

All told, Wang allowed five hits, including a home run, and three earned runs. He also issued a wild pitch and struck out two before being pulled in favor of Will Smith with the Brewers trailing, 3-0.

All told, Wang surrendered two hard-hit balls on the day: a leadoff single and third-inning homer by Brandon Barnes. Colorado's other four hits were of the bloop variety, and the inability of Rickie Weeks to field one of those opened the door for the Rockies' two-run first.

Wang made a mistake that allowed that second run to score when he failed to cover home plate on a foul pop-out to first base by Charlie Culberson. Drew Stubbs tagged from third and scored without a throw to make it 2-0 before Michael Cuddyer was thrown out at second to end the frame.

Wang, who'd pitched 81/3 innings of relief in six overall appearances, admitted he was battling butterflies.

“Before I got on the mound. I was a little nervous in the bullpen, preparing,” he said through interpreter Jay Hsu. “The difference being a reliever is getting ready for one inning, warm up quick. Today, I had a long time. Coach told me two days ago, so it's kind of a different feeling.”

Wang pitched a clean second before surrendering a long home run to Barnes to open the third. Two outs later, his day was done.

“I could see he was a little bit off,” said manager Ron Roenicke. “They squared up more balls than they have (against him). But again, he's throwing strikes. He makes them earn what they get, and that's great.”

Wang also got his first chance to step to the plate as a hitter in the third inning. He laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt on the first pitch he saw from Juan Nicasio, moving Mitch Haniger up to second base.

“Very excited. I wanted to hit,” he said of the experience. “I was surprised (I got the bunt down). I was thinking about maybe failing to bunt twice, and then I could hit.”

With the Brewers a little over a week away from having to pare down to a 25-man roster, Wang faces an uncertain time. As a Rule 5 draftee, the Brewers have to keep him on the 25-man for the entire season or risk losing him back to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Does he feel he's done enough to stick?

“Of course I want to make the team. It depends on the coaches,” said Wang, who had never pitched above rookie ball before this spring. “They make the decisions. I don't think too much. I just do what I've been doing. (My chances are) half and half, but I'm still afraid because I don't have any big-league experience.”

Minors again for Garza

For the second consecutive start, right-hander Matt Garza will pitch in a minor-league game Sunday instead of facing Cincinnati in Cactus League play. Roenicke, who will start Marco Estrada instead, said Garza preferred not to face the Brewers' NL Central rival in the spring.

“Some guys don't seem to care too much,” said Roenicke. “He would just as soon Cincinnati not see him, even though he pitched against them last year (for the Cubs), I would think a few times.”

Garza's final start before the season begins will come March 28, in the first of two exhibition games against the Kansas City Royals at Miller Park.

Roenicke left the door open for Garza to start the third game of the season in the season-opening series against Atlanta after strongly considering moving him back to pitch in Boston.

“Just looking at matchups and what's happening, we are concerned about what happens with the (third) starter because he won't pitch for another seven days,” said Roenicke, noting the two scheduled off days in the first nine days.

Segura talks quiet

Neither side is saying much about talks believed to be going on between the club and shortstop Jean Segura regarding a long-term contract extension.

General manager Doug Melvin said Thursday there was nothing to report and Segura said he wasn't sure what was going on because his agent, Joe Kleine, was handling that matter.

Segura said he was interested in doing a long-term deal but added, “At the same time, I just want to play my game. I let my agent do his job. He hasn't told me anything.”

Whatever happens, Segura said he would prefer not to have extension talks carry over into the regular season.

Manzanillo released

The Brewers released a large group of minor-leaguers and one name that jumped out on the list was right-hander Santo Manzanillo, once considered one of the top pitching prospects in the organization. Manzanillo threw in the high 90s (mph) before injuring his shoulder in an auto accident in the Dominican Republic after the 2011 season.

The other released players were right-handers Jonathan Armold, Eduard Reyes and R.J. Seidel, a La Crosse native; left-handers Taylor Wall and Alan Williams; infielders Jalen Harris, Renaldo Jenkins and Jesse Weiss; catchers Brent Dean and Tyler Roberts; outfielder Ben McMahan and first baseman Adam Giacalone.

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