Brewers Spring Training: Healthy Competition for Spots in Rotation, Bullpen

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Mar 11, 2016; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Matt Garza (22) throws in the first inning during a spring training game against the Texas Rangers at Maryvale Baseball Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 11, 2016; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Matt Garza (22) throws in the first inning during a spring training game against the Texas Rangers at Maryvale Baseball Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports /
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There figures to be  a good amount of competition this spring for the Milwaukee Brewers. Spots are up for grabs in the bullpen and the starting rotation.

The battle for spots in Milwaukee’s starting rotation and bullpen began yesterday as pitchers and catchers reported to Spring Training. Craig Counsell and his staff also have decisions to make on playing time at catcher and other infield and outfield positions as well.

The Brewers are extremely young and inexperienced at multiple positions so this Spring Training figures to be an interesting one to keep an eye on. Counsell sure feels that way.

"“The thing I’m excited about in Spring Training, that we didn’t have last year, is we have more competition,” Counsell said. “There’s been more competition created at a lot of positions, and it’s either in the upper levels of the Minor Leagues, or it’s on the Major League roster right now.”“It puts these guys in a good spot … that you have to bring your best to get on the field. So that’s a real positive change, and something we’ve moved forward, I think, going a year later into this [rebuild].”"

The Brewers’ biggest changes personnel wise in the infield were the acquisitions of 1B Eric Thames and 3B Travis Shaw. The biggest change in the pitching staff was the recent signing of RP Neftali Feliz.

Mark J. Rebilas - USA TODAY Sports
Mark J. Rebilas – USA TODAY Sports /

Even more important than figuring out who is going to get the majority of the playing time is the opportunity to drastically change the culture of the organization.

"“I think Spring Training is a unique time to continue to implement cultural philosophies,” general manager David Stearns said. “I think Craig did an outstanding job of that last year, and I imagine that will continue.”“That extends all the way through our Minor League system. So in addition to the, ‘We want players to be healthy, we want them to get ready,’ it’s a great opportunity to establish what Milwaukee Brewers baseball is about and the standards that we are going to hold our players to.”"

This is only Counsell’s second Spring Training as manager of the Brewers. It will be intriguing going forward to see what Counsell keeps the same and what he changes from last year’s Spring Training.

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