Notes: Turnbow relishes relief role

Notes: Turnbow relishes relief role

MILWAUKEE -- In Spring Training, Brewers manager Ned Yost hoped that some of his relievers would latch onto roles and run with them.

Two months later, Derrick Turnbow appears to be doing just that.

The burly right-hander powered to his third save in three opportunities, and his second in as many games on Friday night, when the Brewers held off the Reds to win back-to-back games for the first time since they started the year 3-0.

In consecutive one-inning saves against the Cardinals and Reds, Turnbow threw 20 pitches and retired six of the seven batters he faced, two of them on strikeouts. On Friday he touched 98-99 on the radar gun and needed only six pitches -- all strikes -- to dispatch Adam Dunn, Joe Randa and Rich Aurilia.

"When I got all of our scouting reports on all of our new guys, Turnbow was real interesting when you look at all of his numbers," Yost said of the Angels castoff, who was plucked off waivers last October. "I told Mike [Maddux, Milwaukee's pitching coach] on the first day of Spring Training, 'Really keep your eye on this guy. This guy has a chance to help us.'"

The Angels never questioned Turnbow's arm; he consistently hits 98-99 mph with his fastball that he compliments with a slider and changeup. But he never could consistently throw strikes.

"You have to really give up on a guy with that type of arm, to put him on waivers," Yost said. "But [the Angels] are a top notch team. They don't have time for that. ... Up there, they expect you to be a player. Our job here is to mold them, make them players."

Enter Maddux, who is starting to get some national attention for his job maximizing the Brewers' pitching talent. He suggested some mechanical adjustments in Spring Training, and Turnbow began consistently began throwing strikes.

When Mike Adams faltered in the closer's role in the first three weeks of the season, Yost made Turnbow the closer.

"He used to drop real straight down and drive to the plate," Yost said. "[Now] he's letting the mound give him momentum and take him to the plate."

Back in the bigs: Julio Santana arrived in the Major Leagues on Saturday for the first time in two years, and he was welcomed by his fellow bullpen mates.

"We could use him right now," said reliever Matt Wise, a member of the recently-overworked relief corps.

A top prospect in the Texas Rangers' organization during the mid-1990s, Santana gives Brewers manager Ned Yost a hard-throwing option out of a bullpen that on Saturday lost long man Wes Obermueller, who moved into the starting rotation when ace Ben Sheets was placed on the 15-day disabled list with an inner-ear ailment.

When he appears in a game, the 31-year-old Santana will throw his first Major League pitch since 2002, when he posted a 2.38 ERA in 38 relief appearances for Detroit. He pitched all of 2003 in the Phillies' minor league chain, then spent the past two seasons in Japan with the Yomiuri Giants.

He said he changed his mechanics and his breathing pattern there, and walked only two batters in 33 innings while posting a 1.89 ERA. The Brewers took note when Santana pitched in the Dominican Winter League last fall, and general manager Doug Melvin signed Santana to a Minor League contract. Melvin was the Rangers' GM when Santana was a hot-shot prospect, winning the team's Minor League player of the year honors in 1994.

"I'm ready to pitch," Santana said Saturday, while organizing his new locker at Miller Park. "Especially after just coming back, I'm ready to go."

Santana arrived in Milwaukee late Friday night and was available to pitch on Saturday. Yost also said that right-handed starter Victor Santos, who was chased after 76 pitches at St. Louis on Wednesday, would be available for two or three innings of relief.

Home run threat? Lyle Ovebray enjoyed his first multi-homer game in Friday's win, but he does not expect to suddenly become a 40-homer guy.

"I always dream about it," he said. "The biggest thing for me is I've never really had the home run pop to the opposite field. This year, I've had two center-field home runs.

"I'm still going to keep the approach of wanting to hit doubles and driving in runs that way. I hate not hitting .300. That's more important to me, I guess."

Overbay smacked 53 doubles last season, breaking Robin Yount's franchise record and leading the Major Leagues.

Hey mom, how's your arm? The Brewers announced that one lucky mom will throw out the first pitch before the Mother's Day game against the New York Mets on May 8 at Miller Park. Fans can enter the contest by ordering tickets online for the May 8 contest anytime between April 30 and May 6. Fans that order tickets and type the word "MOM" in the designated box on the Brewers' website will be entered in the promotion. The winner will be notified on May 7.

The lucky "Mom" will receive a dozen roses and a chance to represent all Moms with the honor of throwing out the ceremonial first pitch. All Brewers season seat holders were automatically entered in the drawing.

On deck: The Brewers and Reds will play the finale of their three-game series on Sunday afternoon, with Brewers lefty Doug Davis expected to pitch against Reds right-hander Ramon Ortiz, who is coming off the disabled list (groin). With ace Ben Sheets on the disabled list, the Brewers are counting on Davis to pitch deeper into games to rest the overtaxed bullpen. He is 2-1 lifetime against Cincinnati with a 3.77 ERA.

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.