K-Rod inks two-year deal with Brewers

All-Star closer saved 44 games a season ago in Milwaukee

K-Rod inks two-year deal with Brewers

PHOENIX -- It's Francisco Rodriguez to the Brewers ... again.

The veteran reliever agreed Thursday to a two-year, $13 million free-agent contract that includes a club option, giving the Brewers their closer and reuniting Rodriguez with the team that has acquired him on five separate occasions since July 2011. Milwaukee won't make a formal announcement until Rodriguez passes a physical exam and the club clears a 40-man roster spot.

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Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Attanasio addresses team, emphasizes confidence

Brewers owner said it was an 'active decision' to retain players after tough end to 2014

Attanasio addresses team, emphasizes confidence

PHOENIX -- Brewers owner Mark Attanasio has suggested he was too drowned in disappointment last September to address players before they went home for the winter. So when he stepped forward in the clubhouse at Maryvale Baseball Park on Thursday, he had plenty to say.

"I had five full months or so to get perspective," Attanasio said as the team took part in its first full-squad workout. "I was able more to focus on a new spring and hope rather than on a difficult last month.

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Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Brewers' deal with K-Rod shakes up bullpen

Broxton moves down to setup role, while others contend to make team

Brewers' deal with K-Rod shakes up bullpen

PHOENIX -- The Brewers' two-year deal with Francisco Rodriguez caused a ripple effect throughout the rest of the bullpen, but if the man most affected was feeling down about a potentially reduced role, he didn't let on.

"As long as we win, I don't care," said Jonathan Broxton, who was positioned to be the closer before Rodriguez returned Thursday on a two-year, $13 million contract. "I haven't paid attention to it. Somebody said something this morning, so I looked it up. That was it.

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Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Last Call: K-Rod one of many to keep coming home

Brewers acquire All-Star closer for fifth time since 2011 season

Last Call: K-Rod one of many to keep coming home

PHOENIX -- When there's news out of the early clubhouse session, we'll post a "Morning Brew," which will morph into "Last Call" at the end of the day. It will house the notes and anecdotes that didn't find a home elsewhere on the site.

Today, the return of an old friend:

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Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Thumb better, Braun vows return to elite

Thumb better, Braun vows return to elite

PHOENIX -- Now comes the real test for Ryan Braun and his meddlesome right thumb. The Brewers outfielder reported to camp Wednesday in full health, vowing to rejoin the list of baseball's elite hitters if he can get through the next six weeks of Spring Training without a setback.

"I feel good. I'm only 31; I should be good," Braun said. "I expect to go out there and be one of the best players in the league."

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Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Roenicke juggling options for infield depth

Roenicke juggling options for infield depth

PHOENIX -- The Brewers know what their defense-first crop of young shortstops can do at that position, so manager Ron Roenicke will spend the spring judging those players' versatility as he seeks to set personnel for the bench.

After starter Jean Segura, the Brewers have three shortstops on the 40-man roster -- 26-year-old Hector Gomez, 22-year-old Yadiel Rivera and 21-year-old Luis Sardinas -- who have a chance to play in the Major Leagues. Top prospect Orlando Arcia (No. 88 on MLB.com's Top 100 Prospects list) who is not in big league camp, is also a shortstop. This spring, Roenicke is particularly interested to see Gomez and Sardinas at second base, and Rivera at third.

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Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Last Call: Attanasio address on deck

Owner to speak to team for first time in a year

Last Call: Attanasio address on deck

PHOENIX -- When there's news out of the early clubhouse session, we'll post a "Morning Brew," which will morph into "Last Call" at the end of the day. It will house the notes and anecdotes that didn't find a home elsewhere on the site.

Today, things are about to get real:

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Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

After year of heartbreak, Segura sees better days ahead

Following death of son during tough 2014, Brewers' SS primed for big season

After year of heartbreak, Segura sees better days ahead

PHOENIX -- Shortstop Jean Segura arrived at Maryvale Baseball Park on Tuesday bearing news of a better finish to what was an otherwise nightmarish 2014 season.

Segura married a Venezuelan girl named Kellen soon after the season, and the couple welcomed a son, Juan Diego, who was born in Milwaukee in October. His family is with him in the Phoenix area for Spring Training, as is Segura's father, Carlos, who is visiting the United States for the first time and is eager to see his son play in the Major Leagues.

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Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Tracy Ringolsby

As Braun goes, so go the Brewers

As Braun goes, so go the Brewers

PHOENIX -- This is a critical season for Ryan Braun. Ditto the Brewers.

There is no way to gloss over what Braun means to the franchise. He is the face of the Brewers. He is the guy they made the commitment to keep, looking to build their long-term success around him.

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Tracy Ringolsby is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Fiers not letting Stanton beanball affect pitching style

Fiers not letting Stanton beanball affect pitching style

PHOENIX -- Brewers pitcher Mike Fiers still thinks about the wayward fastball that struck Marlins star Giancarlo Stanton in the face last September, but said he must continue to pitch inside if he's to remain successful in the Major Leagues.

"It's obviously still in my head. You get flashbacks every once in a while," Fiers said. "That moment was really tough for a lot of people, but it's definitely behind. I had to put it behind me pretty quick, you know? We were in a tough situation, in a playoff race. I didn't want to be the one where I hit somebody and I was scared to pitch again, especially with this team needing quality starts going into that last month of the season.

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Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Thornburg ready to contribute any way he can

'Swiss Army knife' of Brewers' staff to be stretched out during Spring Training

Thornburg ready to contribute any way he can

PHOENIX -- Tyler Thornburg would love to settle into a set role. But for now, the right-hander remains the Swiss Army knife of the Brewers' pitching staff.

Thornburg met Tuesday morning with manager Ron Roenicke and bought into the idea of "stretching out" like a starting pitcher this spring. The idea is to position Thornburg, who's had Major League success as a starter, a long reliever and a late-inning setup man, to help wherever he's most needed later in camp.

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Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Last Call: Arctic tailgate plans altered

Last Call: Arctic tailgate plans altered

PHOENIX -- With Spring Training underway at Maryvale Baseball Park, we're introducing a new feature at Brewers.com that you'll see often this spring. When there's news out of the early clubhouse session, we'll post a "Morning Brew," which will morph into "Last Call" at the end of the day. It will house the notes and anecdotes that didn't find a home elsewhere on the site.

Today, news from the frozen tundra:

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Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Roenicke mulling lineup puzzle

Several players could fit in same slots, 'good problem' for manager

Roenicke mulling lineup puzzle

PHOENIX -- With the Brewers' first exhibition game nine days away, manager Ron Roenicke said "nothing's set" in the team's batting order. Writing a lineup is proving a more difficult process than in seasons past.

"This is going to be a tough lineup to write up," Roenicke said. "It's a good problem, but it's tough because I see a lot of guys who should be grouped in kind of the same slot. I think we have a lot of guys who are good fifth, sixth hitters. I have to figure out how to do that."

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Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Brewers put in strong offer for Moncada

Brewers put in strong offer for Moncada

MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers believe they were the first team to submit an offer to Cuban infielder Yoan Moncada, but they knew within days that the 19-year-old would be signing elsewhere.

On Monday, MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez reported Moncada had agreed to a record-smashing $31.5 million bonus from the Red Sox. In practice, signing Moncada will cost the Red Sox $63 million -- the bonus figure, plus a penalty for exceeding their international signing pool. Boston is also now barred from signing a pool-eligible player for more than $300,000 during the next two signing periods.

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Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Last Call: Gomez seeking more

Center fielder always looking to improve, wants to stay on field

Last Call: Gomez seeking more

PHOENIX -- With Spring Training underway at Maryvale Baseball Park, we're introducing a new feature at Brewers.com that you'll see often this spring. When there's news out of the early clubhouse session, we'll post a "Morning Brew," which will morph into "Last Call" at the end of the day. It will house the notes and anecdotes that didn't find a home elsewhere on the site.

Today, more Maryvale arrivals:

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Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Willis mounts another comeback, this time with Brewers

Former phenom healthy, happy to be back on mound

Willis mounts another comeback, this time with Brewers

PHOENIX -- Dontrelle Willis starts talking, and the volume in the Brewers Spring Training clubhouse begins to rise. Everyone forgets that it's 8:30 a.m., that it's been a dozen years since a 21-year-old Willis strutted to the World Series with the Marlins and that his famous smile hasn't graced a Major League field for more than three years.

Willis starts talking about his latest comeback bid with the Brewers, how he's healthy and having fun and not feeling any pressure, and everyone around him smiles, too.

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Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Inexperienced Jungmann leads Brewers' rotation depth

Inexperienced Jungmann leads Brewers' rotation depth

PHOENIX -- Hearing that he's all the way up to No. 6 on the Brewers' starting pitching depth chart did little to move Brewers prospect Taylor Jungmann on Sunday, when the club's pitchers and catchers took part in their first formal workout.

"I haven't thrown a pitch yet for the spring, so I don't think it means a whole lot," Jungmann said.

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Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hellweg heartened by return from Tommy John surgery

Hellweg heartened by return from Tommy John surgery

PHOENIX -- His 100 mph fastball hasn't returned just yet, but Brewers pitching prospect Johnny Hellweg reported to Spring Training liking his chances to mount a full comeback from Tommy John surgery.

"I feel good right now, like I'm right where we should be in the rehab process," said Hellweg, who is 9 1/2 months into a rehabilitation that generally takes about a year. "I have to continue it because I've got a little bit longer to go."

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Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Last call: Sickness grounds Lucroy

Last call: Sickness grounds Lucroy

PHOENIX -- With Brewers pitchers and catchers taking the field Sunday for the season's first official workout, we're introducing a new feature at Brewers.com that you'll see often this spring. When there's news out of the early clubhouse session, we'll post a "Morning Call," which will morph into "Last Call" at the end of the day.

Here's Sunday's entry:

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Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Braun won't be restricted as camp begins

Henderson, Thornburg also coming along well in recovery from injuries

Braun won't be restricted as camp begins

PHOENIX -- While Brewers players underwent their annual physical exams Saturday, Brewers officials expressed continued optimism for three important players returning from injury-plagued seasons: right fielder Ryan Braun and relievers Jim Henderson and Tyler Thornburg.

Braun underwent a surgical procedure in October to relieve an inflamed nerve in his right hand. Former closer Henderson (shoulder) and April star Thornburg (elbow) rehabbed without surgery. All three should be close to full participants when formal workouts get underway next week.

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Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Brewers in no hurry to anoint closer

Broxton, Smith, Jeffress, Henderson among internal options

Brewers in no hurry to anoint closer

PHOENIX -- Instead of simply naming their most experienced incumbent reliever to the role, the Brewers plan to wait to publicly announce a closer.

With Francisco Rodriguez gone to free agency (though he's still available and on Milwaukee's radar), the Brewers' current candidates are led by Jonathan Broxton, the former Dodgers and Royals closer acquired last August in a trade. But the Brewers are high on left-hander Will Smith, believe right-hander Jeremy Jeffress has a bright future and have Jim Henderson coming back from a shoulder injury. They also have been linked recently to both Rodriguez and Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon.

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Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Melvin defends Brewers' offseason moves

General manager still seeking to bolster starting pitching depth

Melvin defends Brewers' offseason moves

PHOENIX -- Doug Melvin's Spring Training office is dominated by a bank of windows overlooking Maryvale Baseball Park, but it's not the room's most interesting feature. The west wall holds a huge dry-erase board with the Brewers' internal depth chart, a work in progress sure to see some changes in the six weeks before Opening Day.

Pointing at the names on that board Saturday morning, the veteran general manager forcefully rebutted the notion that the Brewers should have done more over the winter to address last season's collapse.

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Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Remade rotation gets to work as Brewers report

With Gallardo gone, Lohse and Garza lead veterans to open spring

Remade rotation gets to work as Brewers report

PHOENIX -- It was 8 degrees below zero when a large contingent of Brewers front-office officials lifted off the runway in Milwaukee on Thursday morning. A little more than 24 hours later, many of those same men stepped onto the freshly cut grass at Maryvale Baseball Park, where the temperature soared into the 80s.

Winter, your time is almost up. On Friday, Brewers pitchers and catchers reported for Spring Training.

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Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Despite injury, Lucroy expects busy spring

Despite injury, Lucroy expects busy spring

PHOENIX -- Encouraged by his progress since undergoing treatment for a right hamstring injury 10 days earlier, Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy made the case Friday that he might actually get more work than usual this spring, despite being sidelined for a chunk of Cactus League games.

The prognosis calls for Lucroy to miss 4-6 weeks of Spring Training, but he has been working out at Maryvale Baseball Park since Sunday and participated all week in baseball drills that did not involve running. Lucroy expects to catch pitchers' bullpen sessions and take part in defensive drills as usual. He will refrain from running until cleared by the athletic training staff.

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Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Brewers give mixed reaction on new pace of game rules

Brewers give mixed reaction on new pace of game rules

PHOENIX -- Brewers players offered mixed reactions Friday after Major League Baseball announced a series of new rules intended to speed the pace of game. Beginning this spring, league officials will enforce time limits between innings and pitching changes, and umpires will mandate that managers remain in the dugout to challenge a call, and that hitters keep at least one foot in the batter's box between pitches.

"Those measures are fine. I don't have an issue with that," said Brewers right-hander Kyle Lohse, a traditionally fast worked. "I thought they were going to do something with a pitch clock, which -- the game's not on a clock."

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Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Thornburg ready to pick up where he left off in 2014

Brewers righty feeling healthy after elbow issues derailed a promising start last year

Thornburg ready to pick up where he left off in 2014

PHOENIX -- Tyler Thornburg, whose sensational start last season in the Brewers' bullpen was derailed by an alarming right elbow injury, felt like one of the guys as pitchers and catchers reported for Spring Training on Friday.

When the team takes the field Sunday for its first formal workout, Thornburg does not expect to be under any physical restrictions.

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MLB.com Columnist

Bernie Pleskoff

On the Cusp: Milwaukee Brewers

Former first-rounders Knebel, Jungmann may get work out of bullpen

On the Cusp: Milwaukee Brewers

In this series, Bernie Pleskoff takes a team-by-team look at which top prospects are poised to make a contribution at the big league level in 2015.

In the coming season, the Brewers are a club that will rely mostly on seasoned veterans. Newly-acquired infielder Luis Sardinas exceeded his rookie limit last year, as did starting pitcher Jimmy Nelson.

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Bernie Pleskoff has served as a professional scout for the Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners. Follow @BerniePleskoff on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Lucroy's health among Brewers' major questions in camp

Return of breakout star key for club's success in 2015

Lucroy's health among Brewers' major questions in camp

MILWAUKEE -- This is the sixth in a series of stories leading to the start of Spring Training next week. We've already covered the Brewers' bounce-back candidates and key newcomers, turned the page from the final six weeks of 2014, and taken a shot at projecting an Opening Day lineup.

Today, on the eve of Brewers pitchers and catchers formally reporting Friday for Spring Training, here are three burning questions in camp:

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Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.