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Notes: Miller strains calf in tune-up

Notes: Miller strains calf in tune-up game

PHOENIX -- Veteran catcher Damian Miller was forced out of the Brewers' intrasquad game on Tuesday with a strained left calf and was to undergo an MRI scan later in the day to determine the extent of the damage.

Miller, 37, is expected to shift to a backup role this season with the acquisition of catcher Johnny Estrada, but he was playing first base in Tuesday's tune-up. Miller said he felt tight after scoring from first base on outfielder Drew Anderson's two-run double in the fourth inning, and aggravated his calf trying to make a defensive play in the top of the sixth before deciding to come out.

"It felt a little worse," Miller said. "I figured, 'Better get out of here while I can.'"

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He admitted to feeling a bit snakebitten, especially given the way Miller's 2006 season slumped to a finish. Mike Rivera started the team's final 10 games while Miller nursed Achilles, hamstring and back injuries.

In 101 games last year, including 98 starts behind the plate, Miller batted .251 with six home runs and 38 RBIs. He exercised a $2.5 million player option for 2007 after the Brewers declined his team option.

More information about Miller's status is expected Wednesday.

Mench plays: An MRI scan of Kevin Mench's right elbow revealed a loose body, but the outfielder was able to play in Tuesday's game.

Mench tweaked his elbow during a weightlifting workout on Sunday, and he was held out of the team's first intrasquad game on Monday while being examined by a doctor. Mench was told the offending body may have been there for some time, but only now moved into a spot that caused pain.

"I'm hoping it moves again and gets on out of there," he said.

Assistant general manager Gord Ash confirmed the MRI results but said the team is not planning any course of treatment. As long as the loose body remains suspended in synovial fluid, Ash said, Mench will be able to play on.

"Most players have the same thing from normal wear and tear," Ash said. "The only time it can be a problem is if it lodges somewhere. That can cause a joint to lock up temporarily. We don't consider the problem major at this point."

Said Mench: "It doesn't hurt when I throw, doesn't hurt when I hit, so I'm just going to keep playing."

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Mench singled and scored in his first at-bat Tuesday. He also walked in the game and finished 1-for-3.

Game notes: "Team Gold" rebounded from Monday's loss and scored an 8-4 win over "Team Blue" in Tuesday's intrasquad action. Anderson led the way for the victors, going 3-for-3 with three extra-base hits, three runs scored and a pair of RBIs, and infielder Hernan Iribarren launched the game's only home run, a three-run shot off right-hander Marino Salas.

Right-hander Dave Bush was the only Brewers starter of the 14 in camp who pitched, and Bush allowed a hit in a scoreless inning of work. Relievers Derrick Turnbow and Jose Capellan were sharp in retiring all three batters they faced.

"There were good signs," Yost said. "The things that we were focusing on [in practice] showed up today."

Good luck, kid: Neil Janowitz, an associate editor for ESPN who is spending a week in Brewers camp as a non-roster player, learned Tuesday morning that he was in the starting lineup, batting third. The opposing starter was Derrick Turnbow.

"Don't worry," catcher JD Closser told Janowitz with a wry smile. "He doesn't throw hard."

"You'll be fine," Turnbow told him. "Just don't take me deep."

Janowitz didn't even make contact. After playing an uneventful top of the first inning in left field, he stepped to the plate with two outs against Turnbow. Janowitz didn't even flinch at Turnbow's first-pitch fastball, a strike. He "swung" at the next pitch, prompting third base coach Nick Leyva to call out, "Oh dear God!" Janowitz got a better cut at Turnbow's third pitch, but struck out swinging.

Turnbow's fastball touches triple digits, and by all accounts he has been lighting up the radar gun this spring. But he was "taking it easy" on Janowitz Tuesday, according to Yost. Director of pro scouting Dick Groch clocked Turnbow in the 92-94 mph range.

Janowitz will write about his experience for ESPN The Magazine.

On the Web: Fans will get their first listen to new Brewers television play-by-play man Brian Anderson during 18 webcasts of Spring Training games for Brewers.com. The first game is Thursday at 2 p.m. CT against Oakland.

The team's other 10 games will be aired on the Brewers Radio Network with broadcasters Bob Uecker and Jim Powell, and will also be available on the site. Three additional games -- March 10, 19 and 22 -- will also air on television. The over-the-air broadcast schedule is available here.

For some of the Web-only games, Anderson will be joined in the booth by broadcast partner Bill Schroeder.

On deck: Position players will be timed in the 60-yard dash on Wednesday, and the bets are already pouring in for the highly-anticipated event. A long wager sheet was posted in the clubhouse Tuesday morning, and Rickie Weeks and Ryan Braun are the favorites.

Several players besides Miller will not take part. Estrada has a stiff quadriceps muscle and infielder Tony Graffanino twisted his ankle over the weekend. Neither injury is considered serious.

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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