Notes: Fielder ready to return to lineup

Notes: Fielder ready to return to lineup

PHOENIX -- So much for Prince Fielder's return to action.

The Brewers first baseman has been sidelined by a strained right quadriceps and was expected to return to the lineup for Wednesday's game against the Giants. But Fielder felt tightness during a workout Tuesday, so he was limited Wednesday to batting, fielding and baserunning drills. The Brewers have yet to feature him in a game.

"I'll be in there [Thursday] for sure," Fielder said.

Fielder hurt his quadriceps last week during the team's timed 60-yard dash. Manager Ned Yost said the athletic training staff would decide Thursday morning whether Fielder would be cleared to play in a rematch with the Giants, who handed the Brewers a 15-6 split-squad loss.

More bumps and bruises: Infielder Tony Graffanino was limping around the clubhouse Wednesday morning and was out of the lineup for a second straight day. He fouled a ball of his left big toe Monday, and a hole had to be drilled through the nail to release blood that collected. The digit became infected, and had to be drilled again Wednesday. Graffanino was prescribed an antibiotic.

"I can't even put a shoe on," said Graffanino, who instead showed up in flip-flops. "They just did it a few minutes ago, and it feels like already it needs to be done again. Hopefully it's fine by tomorrow."

Catcher Damian Miller (left calf) and outfielder Gabe Gross (right hamstring) remain sidelined, but both have been able to take part in batting practice this week. Third baseman Ryan Braun (right elbow) was once again sidelined Wednesday by a sore throwing elbow but said he hoped to participate Thursday.

Catcher Mike Rivera, who tweaked his left knee during Monday's game, wore a brace and was back in the lineup Wednesday playing first base. Craig Counsell started the game at third base but left because of an illness.

Game notes: Bench coach Dale Sveum saved the day Wednesday, managing a Brewers split-squad to an 8-2 win over the Rockies in Tucson. Back in Phoenix, Yost's Brewers lost to the Giants, 15-6.

"Command was kind of an issue for everybody," Yost said of the seven arms used against San Francisco. Dave Bush, Tim Dillard and Matt Wise combined to surrender 12 earned runs on 14 hits in 4 2/3 innings of that game.

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It was a better story from the offensive side. Corey Hart, Bill Hall, Geoff Jenkins and J.J. Hardy, who dress next to each other in the Maryvale clubhouse, combined for 10 hits, seven runs scored and seven RBIs in the two games.

Parking rates: The price of parking at Miller Park will jump $1-$3 this season, but the Brewers are offering fans a chance to buy in advance at last year's rates.

General admission parking, which accounts for approximately 65 percent of spots, will increase from $7 to $8.  But fans will have a chance to buy parking in advance for $7 per game so long as they buy at least four passes at the stadium box office.

Advance purchase preferred parking will jump from $10 to $12 this season, but fans who have season packages of four games or more can buy passes for $10 apiece. Day of game preferred parking will increase from $12 to $15.

Light reading: Yost recently took some time to clear off his desk at Maryvale Baseball Park, and among the items cleared away were a stack of books related to managing. They included "Baseball Between the Numbers," published by Baseball Prospectus, "The Book: Playing the Percentages in Baseball," published by Potomac Books, and "The Book on the Book: A Landmark Inquiry into Which Strategies in the Modern Game Actually Work," published by Thomas Dunne Books.

"I've read them all," Yost said.

Over the past few days, Yost has been paging through a guide to the Mac OS X operating system. He spends time in the offseason building computers and said he was interested to learn more about the Mac.

Numbers game: According to the stat crunchers at STATS LLC., Milwaukee's Rickie Weeks and Philadelphia's Ryan Howard, the National League MVP, will begin the new season riding impressive streaks. Both reached base in each of their last 23 games of the 2006 campaign via a hit, walk or hit-by-pitch. Weeks reached base in 23 straight games despite battling a wrist injury that required surgery and ended his season in late July. He batted just .258 in those 23 games while trying to play through the pain, but drew six walks, was hit by five pitches and managed to score 16 runs.

Mail day: Center fielder Tony Gwynn, Jr. found eight shoeboxes sitting in front of his locker after the morning workout. Each contained a pair of spikes designed by Gwynn's Hall of Fame father on the "Nike ID" Web site.

Three pairs featured the black and red of the Triple-A Nashville Sounds, Gwynn's most likely destination to start the season. The other five pairs were Brewers blue and gold, though the younger Gwynn questioned his dad's color choices. One pair was mustard yellow and grey-blue.

"My dad gets on the Internet and just loses his mind," Gwynn joked.

On deck: The Brewers play the second of four straight games at Maryvale Baseball Park on Thursday and their second in a row against the Giants. Ben Sheets will make his second spring start against San Francisco's Noah Lowry.

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