MILWAUKEE -- Miller Park took on a patriotic air during batting practice Tuesday, when a group of military combat veterans gathered behind home plate to be honored by Brewers players on Independence Day.
Each player wore the name of a veteran on his back, part of their "Tour of Honor" with the Stars and Stripes Honor Flight. The organization flies World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War veterans and terminally ill veterans from other conflicts to Washington D.C. to see the memorials built in their honor.
In a pregame ceremony, the men were recognized on the field and presented their jerseys. Rosario Consiglio, who served in the Navy during World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War, threw the ceremonial first pitch.
"When I first saw the guy's jersey, I said, 'Look at that, they've got a Sampson on the team,'" said Osbee Sampson Jr., who served in the Air Force in Korea and Vietnam. "It's very humbling, it is.
"[The Honor Flight experience] was just unreal, from the beginning to the end. When we got to Milwaukee, the amount of people welcoming us back, I just couldn't believe it. I really couldn't. In fact, I asked my son if we could find another door to slip out. The tears were just running down and everything."
The other Honor Flight veterans honored Tuesday were Anthony Padovano (WWII, Army POW), Eugene Halvorson (WWII and Korean War, Marines), Robert Johnson (WWII, Army), Alfred Korth (WWII, Army), Fred Daum (WWII, Navy), Ed Mikush (WWII, Navy), Barney Dearey (WWII, Army), Edward Gennrich (WWII, Navy), Jerry Stern (WWII, Navy), Joe Hirschberg (WWII, Army), Bob Stoffel (WWII, Navy), Julian Plaster (WWII, Navy), Max Shavers (Korean War, Air Force), Don Wiegand (Korean War, Army), Earl Thomas (Korean War, Army), Bill Schafer (Korean War, Army), John Kaufman (Korean War, Air Force), John Pretre (Korean War, Air Force), Bob Haugen (Korean War, Army), Harold Hoeft (Korean War, Army), John D'Amore (Korean War, Army), Leary "Buck" Dean (Korean War, Marines) and Richard Michels (Vietnam War, Army).
Crew announces international signings
The Brewers formally announced 11 of the 14 international signings reported by MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez when the new signing period opened Monday. Among the deals made official were the three with the largest bonuses: Larry Ernesto ($1.7 million bonus, according to Sanchez, No. 14 on MLB Pipeline's Top 30 international prospects list), Carlos Rodriguez ($1.355 million bonus, No. 28 on MLB Pipeline's Top 30 list) and Jeicor Cristian ($340,000 bonus). Cristian and Ernesto are from the Dominican Republic, and Rodriguez is from Venezuela.
All are toolsy center fielders, exactly the type of player the Brewers have stockpiled since David Stearns took over as general manager.
"We like athleticism, and generally when you are looking at young Latin American players, the types of players that we have the ability to sign in the international market, a lot of them come with very loud tools. This class for us is certainly exciting."
Brewers assistant GM Matt Arnold led the Brewers' effort in scouting international talent, alongside director of Latin America scouting Manny Batista.
Sogard nursing sore ankle
Eric Sogard entered Tuesday with three hits in his last 23 at-bats since June 23, the night he was hit on the right elbow by a pitch in Atlanta. The elbow is fine, Sogard said, but he has been slowed by a sore ankle.
"He was running the bases in Cincinnati and had to stop real quick at third base, so it's still a little bit sore," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "He can play, but we're just trying to get him back to 100 percent. With these players and the group we have, it's best to try and get Eric to a good place."