Last Call: Regulars likely for spring opener

Roenicke likes what he's seeing from pitchers; Nelson returns to action from hamstring issue

Last Call: Regulars likely for spring opener

PHOENIX -- "Last Call" is a spot for all the notes and anecdotes from Brewers camp that didn't find a home elsewhere on the site.

• The Brewers kick off their Spring Training schedule with a game against the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee on Wednesday, and although it's still unclear who exactly will play in the game, the Brewers are expected to use some of their regulars.

"This is a game for us," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "I think it's a great time for the regulars to have a little practice with the timing and the new rule and for the pitchers as well. I'm not exactly sure who is throwing. I know we have some pitchers that are set back a little bit, so we may have to borrow some arms from the other side, but we should have enough arms."

• After a hamstring tweak kept Jimmy Nelson off the mound the past three days, the right-hander threw a bullpen session Sunday.

"Ball came out well, everything spun well, command wasn't where he wants it to be, but he felt fine," bullpen coach Lee Tunnell said. "That's the biggest thing today, you just want to see him get through his work, which he did."

Nelson excelled with Triple-A Nashville last season as he went 10-2 with a 1.46 ERA in 17 games, 16 starts.

Outlook: Nelson, SP, MIL

However, he went 2-9 with a 4.93 ERA after his callup to the Majors.

"With Jimmy, it's knowing he has the experience now, so the anticipation coming to the big leagues and figuring it all out, he's beyond that," Roenicke said. "So we're hoping now we see the stuff that those guys saw in the Minor Leagues."

• Roenicke has watched his pitchers face hitters during live batting practice the past few days, and a couple of pitchers have caught his eye.

Taylor Williams, the Brewers' No. 15-ranked prospect according to, is a non-roster invitee, and the young right-hander has impressed Roenicke.

"If you want to talk about stuff, that's as good as it gets," Roenicke said. "It's just an explosive fastball, two hard breaking balls -- a slider and a curveball -- and a changeup. He's got a nice package going."

Roenicke has also taken notice of a pair from the Major League roster.

"Kyle [Lohse] put on a show as far as command, putting it everywhere he wants," Roenicke said. "Command gets a little off in these live sessions. They can be lights-out in the bullpen sessions and then a hitter gets up there and it changes. [Will] Smith was really good. He's been great in his bullpens and great in his live BP. Some other guys, command was a little off."

Jim Henderson also threw 25 pitches of live batting practice and said it went well.

"I was getting swings off balls that weren't necessarily in the strike zone, so that tells me that hitters weren't seeing it very well," said Henderson, smiling. "I have some funkiness and deception in my delivery, so it was good to see that they were taking swings at balls that maybe they shouldn't be."

• The Brewers players participated in a domestic violence seminar Friday morning, and the coaching staff will participate in a separate seminar at a later date.

"It's an important issue, like a lot of other things are, that you hope in our sport doesn't come up," Roenicke said.

William Boor is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @wboor. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.