Janesville19°

Spinning motion: Macha experimenting with rotation alignment

Print Print
McClatchy-Tribune
February 24, 2009
— Milwaukee Brewers manager Ken Macha met with his starting pitchers Monday morning to give the rotation alignment for the start of the exhibition season Wednesday.

Macha cautioned his starters not to read too much into the current alignment, that it didn’t mean he’d start the regular season in that order. Macha then came out and delivered the same message to reporters.


“However it comes out when the season starts, what you want to do is get in position by the all-star break to be competing,” said Macha.


“Those guys will ’write out’ how you go ahead and pitch in the second half. It’s in their hands.”


Right-hander Jeff Suppan will be first out of the chute Wednesday against Oakland, followed by Yovani Gallardo, Manny Parra, Braden Looper and Dave Bush.


Macha said he will use an off day late in camp, on March 24, to realign his rotation if so desired for the regular season. But there’s nothing to say he won’t begin the season with the rotation aligned as it is now.


Macha already announced that he didn’t want to put the pressure of being the No. 1 starter on Gallardo, 23, who missed most of last season with a pair of knee injuries that required surgery.


“I told the guys, regardless of the order and the way we’re pitching right now, I hope we don’t have any big egos in there,” said Macha. “These guys are going to figure out (the rotation for the season).


”They’re going to look where they’re slotted right now and say, ‘I’ve got this game or that game (to begin the season).’ One of the guys already had it figured out. I said, ’Don’t think I didn’t know you were going to figure it out.’ “


Suppan, who made opening-day starts for Kansas City in three consecutive seasons from 2000-’02, said he wasn’t assuming he’ll be the starter April 7 in San Francisco.


”I don’t think any of us are reading anything into it,“ said Suppan, who went 10-10 with a 4.96 ERA in 31 starts last season. ”You have to set a rotation (for exhibition play) and that’s what they came up with.


“It could go either way. I’m just working on my stuff and what I’m trying to accomplish. I could have the first start of the year, but anything could happen in spring training. There are a lot of ways to tweak it.


”I’m just looking forward to getting out there, and I know everyone else is, too.“


During his meeting with the starters, Macha said he offered his philosophy on handling his rotation. Basically, he wants six solid innings and he’ll go from there.


”If they give me six innings and they’ve got the lead, they’re not going to lose that game. I’ll turn it over to the bullpen,“ said Macha, meaning he’ll take out a starter before he falls behind in the score.


”If they pitch well for six innings and they’re one run behind, I’m going to give them an opportunity to get out of that seventh inning and (we’ll) hit one more time, and hopefully take the lead for them.


“I want the starters to have the attitude that they’re going out there to win every time.”


Beyond the five starters, Macha said he’ll stretch out the arms of right-hander Seth McClung and left-hander Chase Wright, and possibly a couple of other pitchers, during exhibition play to provide coverage should anyone get injured.


Classy move

Closer Trevor Hoffman took out a full-page ad Sunday in the San Diego-Union Tribune to thank everyone for their support during his 16 years with the Padres. It was a typically classy move by the veteran.


Hoffman began his message by saying, “As I sat down and put pen to paper thinking about the best way to express my gratitude to the many people who have had a profound effect on my time here in San Diego, a recurring theme kept coming up: just say THANKS!!”


The thank you was accompanied by a family photo of Hoffman, wife Tracy, sons Brody, Quinn and Wyatt, and the family bulldog, Bubba.


“Bubba’s a big part of the family,” Hoffman said with a smile.


Hoffman said he picked up a copy of a published thank-you message from CC Sabathia when he left Cleveland for Milwaukee last year as well as one from Kerry Wood when he left the Chicago Cubs over the winter to sign with Cleveland, to see what they said.



Print Print