MILWAUKEE -- After more than two months of slow negotiations, the Brewers struck deals with their top two picks in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft.The team announced at 11:22 p.m. CT, 23 minutes after the deadline for teams to sign their picks, that University of Texas right-hander Taylor Jungmann and Georgia Tech left-hander Jed Bradley had agreed to terms and would begin their professional careers instead of returning to college. The Brewers also signed 18th-round pick Chris McFarland before the deadline, luring the shortstop away from a scholarship waiting at Rice University. "The bottom line is, it was a long process, and it went down to the wire, but it got done," Bruce Seid, director of amateur scouting, said after the deadline passed. "We couldn't be happier about getting these guys signed and into our system." They came at a price. All three received signing bonuses in excess of Major League Baseball's "slot" recommendation for their respective positions in the Draft. Jungmann was the 12th overall pick and, according to Baseball America, received a $2.525 million signing bonus. Bradley went 15th overall and received a $2 million signing bonus, according to Baseball America and the website Zoodig.com. McFarland received $315,000, plus a promise given to many other high school signees, that the Brewers will pay for his college education. Both Jungmann and Bradley were coming off their junior seasons and had a year of NCAA eligibility to use as leverage. Jungmann went 13-3 with a 1.60 ERA in 18 starts and one relief appearance for Texas. He won Big 12 Pitcher of the Year honors and the Dick Howser Trophy, college baseball's version of the Heisman, while pitching the Longhorns into the College World Series. Bradley went 7-3 with a 3.49 ERA in 16 starts for Georgia Tech. Seid and general manager Doug Melvin spent much of Monday in the Miller Park "war room," co-handling negotiations with the players' high-profile advisers. Alan Hendricks represents Jungmann, and Greg Genske, the agent for second baseman Rickie Weeks, represents Bradley. "Both sides were represented extremely well," Seid said.
Both pitchers were in Milwaukee on Friday to undergo physical exams, Melvin said. The Brewers invited them to attend that night's game against the Pirates, but they declined.Seid declined to reveal the team's immediate plans for the pitchers. He and Melvin are scheduled to participate in a news conference at Miller Park on Tuesday morning, and the players are expected to take part in conference calls later in the day. Seid called the McFarland signing "a bonus." "He wanted to play," Seid said. In all, the Brewers signed 33 of their 51 Draft picks, including each of their top 12. The team also inked six undrafted players. Melvin would like to see the Aug. 15 signing deadline moved up. "There's no doubt the Aug. 15 [deadline] hurts the players," said Melvin, who believes that players who sign early wind up arriving in the Majors a year to a year and a half earlier than those who drive up their bonuses by waiting for the deadline. Melvin sent a letter to both Jungmann and Bradley earlier this summer to argue that case. "It hurts clubs, too," he said. "If a player signs earlier, some teams might say, 'I'm not going to get involved in a free agent because that [Draft pick] might be ready in another year or so.'"
Injured Weeks, Gomez to rejoin travel roster
MILWAUKEE -- Second baseman Rickie Weeks and outfielder Carlos Gomez will travel with the Brewers on their next road trip, the clearest sign yet of progress for the highest-profile members of Milwaukee's disabled list.Weeks (severe left ankle sprain) and Gomez (broken left collarbone) did not make the last trip. Typically, the team limits the travel list as much as possible, freeing members of the training staff to care for active members of the roster. "Both of them are at that point where they can get their therapy and do their drills with us," general manager Doug Melvin said. Gomez, recovering from surgery to fix the broken collarbone, is closer to a return. He took part in defensive and baserunning drills on Monday and is expected to be ready for game action before the Triple-A season ends on Sept. 5. But he has yet to swing a bat, and manager Ron Roenicke could not say when Gomez would clear that final hurdle. "He's out there running, throwing, and feels nothing in that collarbone," Roenicke said. "He's coming along fast." Weeks needs more time and might not be back to 100 percent by the end of the Triple-A season, Melvin conceded. But he is also making progress, and took infield grounders on Monday for the second straight day.
Brewers fans voice support for Counsell
MILWAUKEE -- Infielder Craig Counsell received a nice surprise on Sunday, when a sellout crowd stood and cheered the first plate appearance of his bobblehead day. Never mind the fact that he entered the day with a .154 batting average."I guess it was a little unexpected," said Counsell, who was raised just north of Milwaukee, in Whitefish Bay, and still lives there. "The reception is different from a normal at-bat, for sure. It's hard to explain, but you're very appreciative of it. You are. It means something, and you realize you have a connection with the fans and they're pulling for you." Counsell went 0-for-3 in the game, dropping his average to .151 entering the Brewers-Dodgers series. He had gone hitless in 45 consecutive at-bats before a single on Aug. 5 at Houston, a drought that, depending on the source, either tied or fell one shy of the longest single-season hitless streak since 1900. But manager Ron Roenicke has argued at length in favor of Counsell's contributions to the team, both as a top-notch defender and as a veteran clubhouse presence. The bobblehead was Counsell's second as a Brewer and at least his fourth in the Majors.
Right-hander Juan Francisco pitched a seven-inning no-hitter in the second game of a doubleheader for the Brewers' Dominican League team on Monday, a 2-1 win over the Mariners' summer league team. Francisco walked six, including the first man he faced, who then scored the Mariners' only run after an errant pickoff throw and a pair of groundouts.