Mending lefty Hardy to join Crew in camp

January 28th, 2021

MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers have signed former Tigers reliever to a Minor League contract that includes an invitation to Major League Spring Training, the club announced Thursday.

Hardy, who will turn 34 before Opening Day, missed the 2020 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery last March. The left-hander pitched in the Majors for Detroit every season from 2014-19 and posted a 3.73 ERA in 233 games, including 13 starts. Hardy then signed with the Twins for the ’20 season, only to be injured in Spring Training.

He’s the second pitcher known to have received a non-roster invitation to the Brewers’ Spring Training camp. The other is also a left-handed reliever, , who has pitched in the big leagues for the Phillies, Rays and Angels.

Brewers pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report to American Family Fields of Phoenix on Feb. 18, but club officials said that could change based on the trajectory of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Staying ready
Brewers farm director Tom Flanagan, who is responsible for the players beyond the team’s big league camp, said he is coordinating a number of scenarios for the start of Spring Training.

“Our mindset with our staff is that we have to be ready to go,” Flanagan said. “We have laid out a number of different contingencies, understanding we will be under some restrictions because of the virus. What gives us optimism is the work we did [last fall] in the instructional league at our complex. It worked out really well.”

That task was made easier by the Brewers’ renovated complex in Phoenix, which vastly increased in size as part of a project completed for 2019 Spring Training. Before the renovation, the Minor League complex was in a separate building that included a cramped clubhouse. Now, there is much more room to spread out player lockers.

“Players and staff are excited to get rolling. They are constantly asking, but we have been brutally honest saying we don’t know for sure,” Flanagan said. “For pitchers, it may be a little trickier than for position players because they have to work back from a start date. The good news is that they have been doing so many workouts on their own that at this point, that piece is kind of, ‘Been there, done that.’ Now it’s just a matter of ramping up as if we’re on time. And if we’re not on time, we can kind of idle at a point in their preparation.”

Last call
• In another sign that the Brewers are optimistic about hosting fans at newly renamed American Family Field in 2021, some season-ticket holders received emails this week laying out contingencies for limited-capacity games. There were two options: Receive a revised temporary seat location for the ’21 season, subject to social distance guidelines approved by local health officials and be determined by fans’ current ticket plan, account tenure and current seating location; or place the value of their season tickets for impacted games into an account credit, which can be used to purchase single-game tickets to limited capacity games. Season-ticket holders who choose the second option would receive priority access for any remaining seats available.

• Particularly astute fans may have noticed that Minor League pitcher Brandon Ramey has not appeared in the Australian Baseball League after traveling Down Under with a group of other Brewers prospects. He developed a minor wrist injury while throwing bullpen sessions, and the Brewers opted to play it safe, considering the brevity of the Australian season. Ramey was one of three pitchers acquired from the Phillies in August for reliever David Phelps.

• Crews from Jones Sign continued changing out the signage at American Family Field on a sunny Thursday in Milwaukee, lowering the Miller logos on the stadium’s clock tower and replacing them with new signs. The first new signage was installed Wednesday on the double-sided tower along Interstate 94.