Counsell emphasizes 'no limits' for Crew

Counsell emphasizes 'no limits' for Crew

MILWAUKEE -- Craig Counsell opened his second Spring Training as Brewers manager by imparting one of his favorite messages: No limits.

As the spring drew to a close and the 49th Opening Day in franchise history drew near, Counsell revisited that theme during a chat with MLB.com. He said he was not willing to accept the limits inherent in rebuilding.

"Every baseball season is sacred to me," Counsell said. "We only get so many shots at this. So I think it's important to them to understand that we have to continuously raise the standards of what we expect.

"When I look at this year's team, I really believe, why would we set limits on these guys? It's a young group that, although it's not experienced and does not have long-term track records, I do think has shown in recent times that they are capable of really good things."

Does that mean he thinks the Brewers could contend if everything breaks right?

"Well, I think that's what everybody thinks right now in 30 camps," Counsell said. "And you should think that. That's kind of my point. We should think that, and we should be optimistic, and we should be hopeful and we should expect the best. We should expect great performances out of our guys.

"That's the mindset you should [have] right now at the end of Spring Training after a successful camp, a camp in which we've had a lot of guys play very well, and a [2016] season in which we finished with a lot of guys playing very well. That's where we should be."

He sees room for improvement.

"We have a lot of players in the same boat, in the same time frame of experience from a Major League perspective," Counsell said. "Especially on the position-player side, and a couple of key members of our bullpen. It's really the next step for them as big league baseball players. It's kind of the step like, 'I belong. I'm a regular big leaguer. I'm a good big league baseball player.'"

DeJesus to report to Colorado Springs

Ivan De Jesus Jr., the infielder/outfielder who was in Brewers camp as a non-roster invitee, but did not make the cut, was still holding out hope Saturday of finding a spot on another team's Opening Day roster. DeJesus had a clause in his Minor League contract that allows him to opt out if another club offers a spot in the big leagues, and that offer is good, DeJesus said, right up to the start of Major League Baseball's regular season.

"I still have hope," said De Jesus, who entered Saturday's exhibition finale with a 1.031 OPS.

While he waits, De Jesus planned to report to Colorado Springs, home of the Brewers' Triple-A club. If no other team comes calling, he will begin the year with the SkySox.

Padres keep Rule 5 pick

The Padres announced their Opening Day roster on Saturday and it includes three Rule 5 Draft picks, including former Brewers prospect Miguel Diaz. The right-hander ranked 21st on MLBPipleine.com's list of Milwaukee's top prospects before San Diego selected him first overall in the Rule 5 Draft. They must keep Diaz in the Majors all season, or offer him back.

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.