Roenicke, Crew ready for Cactus League opener
PHOENIX -- Logan Schafer and Donnie Murphy homered in an intrasquad game on Friday, but a real foe will be on the field Saturday for the Brewers' Cactus League opener against the Oakland A's.
Right-hander Mike Fiers will start for Milwaukee just after 2 p.m. CT at Maryvale Baseball Park. Taylor Green will get the first crack at manning first base, and manager Ron Roenicke said the rest of the Brewers regulars would be on the field for the traditional opener between the two teams that train within Phoenix city limits.
"They all want to play," Roenicke said.
That includes left fielder Ryan Braun, who is getting ready to play for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic. Braun and Roenicke have discussed a plan to get Braun close to nine-inning-ready before departing early next month.
"They've got two days of practice and two exhibition games, so we just need to get him some at-bats," Roenicke said. "He's not too concerned about the at-bats. He's one of those rare guys that doesn't need a lot."
Besides Fiers, John Axford, Jim Henderson and Donovan Hand are scheduled to pitch against the A's. Hand will work multiple innings, with Michael Olmsted, Jesus Sanchez and Santo Manzanillo on the list to back up if needed.
The mood will be slightly more serious than it was Friday, when a contest winner from Appleton, Wis., coached first base and four costumed prospects served as batboys in the intrasquad game. Schafer unofficially started the season with a bang when he connected off Yovani Gallardo for a leadoff home run, and Murphy added a two-run shot against Gallardo.