"It's positive all the way around," Riske said. "Positive on the field, unbelievable in the clubhouse. I've known him since he was 17 years old, and he's just a great guy. He's a pretty good pitcher, too."
Nobody has to wait long to see it firsthand.
As of 8:30 p.m. CT on Monday, about 3,000 tickets remained for Sabathia's Tuesday debut at Miller Park. Without question, the outing will be one of the most anticipated debuts in Brewers history. Ben Sheets will start the third game of the series against Colorado on Wednesday.
"This is probably the biggest impact trade this organization has made, especially during the middle of a season -- probably ever," said third baseman Bill Hall, whose friendship with Sabathia included spending time together over Super Bowl weekend at Hall's home in Arizona last winter. "I don't know a lot of Brewers history, but this is probably the biggest they've done. It's obviously big for us and shows how far the organization has come the last couple years."
Brewers manager Ned Yost arrived early to the ballpark Monday and penciled in his rotation for the coming weeks. He admitted a certain measure of delight in writing the name "Sabathia" next to "Sheets" for several upcoming series.
"The thing that I remember was we had great pitchers that pushed each other," Yost said, recalling his days as a coach with the pitching-loaded Atlanta Braves. "I think that's going to happen here, too. You have CC and Ben, top-notch pitchers that will feed off each other, learn from each other, compete with each other. It's fun to have somebody like that you can compete with on your own staff. I think both pitchers will thoroughly enjoy it."
Sheets, who knows Sabathia from Olympic qualifying camp before the United States' run at the 2000 gold medal, also saw the positives.
"Big move," Sheets said. "Really big move. We wouldn't give up a big part of our future for a guy who's going to be a free agent if you didn't think it was going to make a difference."
Sabathia said he would no doubt be fired up for the big day.
"I'm not going to say I'm not going to be excited, because I am," he said. "But I know I have a job to do, stay under control and just go out and compete."
MIL: LHP CC Sabathia (6-8, 3.83 ERA)
Sabathia, the reigning American League Cy Young Award winner and arguably the best pitcher available on the midseason trade market, became a Brewer on Monday when the club formally agreed to a swap that sent four prospects to Cleveland. Sabathia is a left-hander and will join Sheets atop Milwaukee's rotation in a bid to end the franchise's 26-year postseason drought.
COL: LHP Mark Redman (2-3, 7.05 ERA)
Making his first big league start since May 6 and pitching on short rest, Redman gave the Rockies everything they could have hoped for against the Marlins. He allowed just two runs on six hits in six innings. Both his fastball and cutter were working, which enabled him to force ground balls that resulted in three double plays. Redman was sent to Triple-A Colorado Springs after pitching ineffectively the first month of the season, but he worked with Sky Sox pitching coach Chuck Kniffin to straighten out his delivery. Redman was called up Wednesday after Jeff Francis went on the disabled list with inflammation in his left shoulder.
Brewers general manager Doug Melvin said the departure of Matt LaPorta from the organization in the Sabathia trade did not affect the plight of fellow top propsect Mat Gamel at Double-A Huntsville. Gamel, one of the top hitters in the Minor Leagues, has been heavily error-prone at third base, but the club has committed to grooming Gamel at the hot corner. ... Sabathia will wear No. 52 with the Brewers. ... With their sweep of Pittsburgh, the Brewers are now 19-8 in games started by a left-handed pitcher, the best winning percentage in the National League. ... Fewer than 500 openings remain in the 2008 5K Sausage Run/Walk
at Miller Park on July 26.
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Official game notes
Wednesday: Brewers (Ben Sheets, 10-2, 2.77) vs. Rockies (Greg Reynolds, 2-6, 6.71), 7:05 p.m. CT
Thursday: Brewers (Dave Bush, 4-8, 4.74) vs. Rockies (Jorge De La Rosa, 3-4, 6.58), 1:05 p.m. CT
Friday: Brewers (Manny Parra, 8-2, 3.65) vs. Reds (Josh Fogg, 1-2, 8.39), 7:05 p.m. CT