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Milwaukee Brewers Preview: Cactus League Spring Opener

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Coming off of the official debut, the Milwaukee Brewers had a lot of positives especially from the mound. Though they were facing a college program in the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, the pitchers looked especially sharp. Mike Fiers started his spring on the right track setting down the six-UWM batters he faced in order while striking out four. Jim Henderson returned to the mound for the first time since May 2nd and struck out two batters in another scoreless inning of work. Others like Taylor Jungmann, Taylor Williams and Corey Knebel shined also on the hill as the Brewers finished with a 8-0 shutout, holding UWM to just one single hit.

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Heading into the first game against a major league team Thursday, there are plenty of things to keep an eye on:

Kyle Lohse will be on the mound, and though has yet to be declared the opening day starter, he is set-up for a big spring. There are plenty of formidable arms in the rotation but many will view Lohse as the ace of the staff from the start. While his spring numbers are relatively meaningless, it will be big to see him have a strong spring to prove he is leader of the staff.

As McCalvy tweeted, a “healthy” Ryan Braun is expected to return to the lineup tomorrow. If Braun can prove that he is really healthy after recovering from thumb surgery, the already explosive Brewers lineup becomes even stronger. Getting his healthy bat back in the lineup would be even bigger than any offseason move that they could have made. Lefty Hector Santiago will be on the mound for the Los Angeles Angels tomorrow.

With him on the hill it will be interesting to see what happens with both Adam Lind and Scooter Gennett. Earlier, manager Ron Roenicke indicated that they will both get opportunities to get at-bats against left handers this spring. It will be important for one or both of them to prove they can hold their own against whoever is on the mound.

Just as Braun is returning from injury, reliever Brandon Kintzler is feeling healthy this spring as he is expected to appear in his spring debut. After an awesome 2013, Kintzler struggled at times throughout 2014. Though he finished the year with a nice 3.24 ERA, his FIP for the season was at 4.67 and his strikeout rate was the worst of his career. By being fully healthy for the first time in years, the 30-year-old reliever will be one to watch as he looks to return to from.

Baseball is finally back. With the first pitch is slated at 2:05 CST, their will be plenty to watch all spring long.

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