Brewers pleased to hear spring site progress

Counsell says club is 'out of space' at current site in west Phoenix

Brewers pleased to hear spring site progress

ST. PETERSBURG -- Whether a stadium proposal moves forward in Phoenix's East Valley or the Brewers remain at Maryvale Baseball Park, baseball operations officials were pleased to see news of progress in the team's ongoing Spring Training saga.

Brewers executive vice president of finance and administration Bob Quinn confirmed that the team is familiar with a proposal to build a new facility in Gilbert, Ariz., about 35 miles southeast of Maryvale. According to the original report in the Arizona Republic, the Brewers could contribute $20 million to the $90 million project.

But the club is quick to say they remain open to remaining at their current home in west Phoenix if the city finds room in the budget for further upgrades to Maryvale. It has been home to Milwaukee's Spring Training operation and a Rookie League team since 1998, while also serving as a year-round home for players rehabilitating injuries.

"You see what the other facilities look like right now, and all we want to do is have the best in everything we do," Brewers assistant general manager Matt Arnold said. "Whether that's the big league level, the Minor League level, or our hub for Spring Training, that's the goal. If we can accomplish that in Maryvale, that would be great.

"Obviously, we would like to have that figured out sometime soon."

Quinn has been exploring options for several years. There are positives to the team's current home, despite its unfavorable location. The Brewers don't share the facility with another team, and the Minor League facilities are on-site.

But with the growth of front offices and developments in medical care, Maryvale has become outdated.

"In some ways, the intimacy of Maryvale is productive for us as an organization, but baseball organizations have grown in numbers, and we're just out of space," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "I think that's the big thing. It's changed significantly in the last couple of years for every organization.

"And then there are some quality upgrades that need to be made on fields and things like that. Those are getting to the point they have to be made, in my opinion."

According to the Arizona Republic, officials in Gilbert are reviewing a proposal that calls for a 7,500-seat ballpark, six practice fields, a 55,000 square-foot clubhouse, a 10,000 square-foot office and a 13-acre adjoining village with a hotel, offices and retail.

If the project moves forward, it could be open by 2019, the newspaper reported.

"We need to make progress," Counsell said. "We need to improve our facility, whether that is at Maryvale or someplace else."

Last call

• The Brewers have been thrilled by Anthony Swarzak, one of two relievers acquired in the run-up to last week's non-waiver Trade Deadline. The right-hander was off Sunday after pitching three straight days, including a scoreless ninth inning in Saturday's 3-0 win over the Rays for his second career save. Opponents are 3-for-19 against Swarzak since he arrived from the White Sox.

Swarzak locks down second save

"It's cool. These guys are grinding here, and it was good to get another guy in here who is a competitor and we thought could help," Arnold said. "He's been able to add a lot so far. Giving up [Minor League outfielder Ryan] Cordell was tough, but we're happy with Swarzak so far, for sure."

Chase Anderson threw a bullpen session Sunday morning, his final hurdle before beginning a Minor League rehabilitation assignment on Tuesday. Class A Wisconsin, which plays about an hour north of Miller Park, is home that night.

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for 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.