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Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Return of Mitch Stetter?

Why do you look so sad, Zach?
Brewers LHP Zach Braddock has struggled mightily this spring. Last night vs the Mariners he entered with a 4-1 lead. He proceeded to give up a base hit and hit the next batter, followed by a three-run home run. He pitched poorly on Monday, too, walking a batter and hitting another with two earned runs. He sports a 11.37 ERA and has only struck out three batters in 6.1 IP. His velocity has been down, too, causing some to wonder if he may be injured. After some less than supportive words by manger Ron Roenicke, Adam McCalvy wondered if his struggles might pave the way for a return of Mitch Stetter.

Stetter performed decently throughout 2008 and 2009, serving as the Brewers left-handed specialist. He fell out of favor with then-manager Ken Macha after struggling out of the gate in 2010. Sent to AAA Nashville, he played most of the season there and appeared in only nine games for the Brewers.

Many consider Braddock a stronger option than Stetter. For one thing, he fares better against right-handed pitching, making him the more versatile pick. For another, he simply has better stuff. But time is running out for him to get it together before the regular season begins. Roenicke indicated that Braddock's next outing or two may be longer than single-inning stints, and he may pitch in a minor league game to allow him greater opportunity to straighten himself out. If he's still pitching like he has come the end of Spring Training, I wonder if Stetter might make the opening day roster instead.

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