Arcia looks to take another step forward in '18
Brewers hitters will face live batting practice for first time Wednesday
PHOENIX -- Five months later, Orlando Arcia still cannot believe that ball stayed fair.
The Brewers shortstop reported to Spring Training on Monday and fondly recalled the biggest hit of first full season in the Major Leagues. Arcia's ninth-inning home run off lights-out Cubs closer Wade Davis last Sept. 23 hugged the left-field line on the way to tying an eventual Brewers win in the biggest series of the season at Miller Park.
Milwaukee didn't catch the Cubs in the standings. The Brewers didn't make the playoffs at all. But for Arcia, a player known mostly for his defense, it was a memory worth reliving.
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"I've seen it quite a few times, just to watch it," Arcia said with a big smile. "I wasn't walking just to 'pimp' it, I actually thought it was going to go foul. It was me looking to make sure it didn't go foul. That's why I flipped my bat a little bit later than I should have."
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After slashing .219/.273/.358 in his first 216 big league plate appearances in 2016, Arcia boosted that line to .277/.324/.407 last season in 153 games. He called it a group effort, crediting hitting coach Darnell Coles and teammates who offered advice.
"I kept putting everything in my head and putting everything together," Arcia said.
"It's about experience, really," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "Like players in general, ball-strike discernment is where his growth is going to happen. That's what's going to make him better."
And they're off
Brewers hitters will face live batting practice on Tuesday during the team's first full-squad workout, set to begin in the late morning following a team meeting. There is no time to wait, since the Brewers open Cactus League play three days later with split-squad games against the Cubs and Giants.
"We have to get the guys on the mound," Counsell said. "Those guys pitching [on Tuesday] are all pitching on Friday. … It's not the hitters' favorite thing to do because the first time, it's pitching practice."
"For me," said catcher Stephen Vogt, "I swing as much as I can because I want to know how my timing is. I want to know if I can still hit."
The same pitchers slated to work Tuesday in live BP will pitch Friday in the first games, including starting rotation candidates Brent Suter, Junior Guerra and Aaron Wilkerson. Counsell hasn't yet announced his starters against the Cubs and Giants, though the choice is mostly a semantical one, since they are each expected to work only one inning.
Counsell is withholding evaluations until the pitchers get deeper into camp, but early mound sessions do offer opportunities for first impressions.
"We know what everybody is good at, so that's what you see first," Counsell said. "You know, Matt Albers' sinker or Boone Logan's slider, pitches that guys are known for."
• The Brewers finalized a Spring Training broadcast schedule on Monday that includes 14 radio broadcasts on 620 WTMJ and the Brewers Radio Network, 12 televised games on FOX Sports Wisconsin and 12 webcasts at Brewers.com.
Hall of Fame announcer Bob Uecker, Jeff Levering and Lane Grindle will call the radio broadcasts. Analyst Bill Schroeder will team up with Brian Anderson and Matt Lepay on the telecasts. The webcasts will include a combination of the TV and radio announcers joining Brewers alumni to call the action.
• Among Ryan Braun's offseason workout partners at Pepperdine University was free-agent infielder Mike Moustakas, the former Royal who is still seeking a job.
"He's in as good a place, mentally and emotionally, as anybody could be who's in a challenging predicament," Braun said. "Whoever signs him is going to be a much better team for it."