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Thursday, March 10, 2011

No Room on Brewers for Erick Almonte Despite Excellent Spring

First baseman and non-roster invitee Erick Almonte has so far put together an excellent spring for the Brewers with three home runs and a team-high eight RBI. A career minor leaguer, he's appeared in a total of 39 Major League games, back in 2001 and 2003 with the Yankees. The 33-year-old right-hander spent the last two seasons with the Brewers AAA affiliate, the Nashville Sounds, batting .291 and .320. These statistics, along with his strong showing this spring, might lead one to hope he grabs the Brewers final bench spot, if only as a late-inning, right-handed, power bat. Despite impressing Ron Roenicke with his approach at the plate, Almonte is unlikely to make the club.

At this point in his career Almonte's primary position is first base. Prince Fielder will likely miss little, if any time at that position this year. If he needs a day off, the Brewers already have Mark Kotsay signed to a Major League contract for this season. Kotsay plays first base and the outfield positions, though his range in the outfield is not what it once was.

Additionally, as a non-roster invitee, the Brewers would need to remove someone from the 40-man roster to make room for Almonte. Given the Brewers lack of depth in starting pitching, such a move would be better spent on a low-risk veteran starter.

If the Brewers want to keep another infielder, they should retain Luis Cruz. If needed Cruz conceivably could play any of the infield positions. Plus, Spring Training stats truly mean very little when it comes to projecting success in the regular season. Remember Chris Duffy and Brad Nelson? I didn't think so.

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