Rule 5 Draft pick Wang bides time in bullpen
When he debuts, righty will be first Taiwan-born player in club history
BOSTON -- When rookie left-hander Wei-Chung Wang makes his Brewers debut, he will become the first Taiwan-born player in franchise history. That milestone moment is taking longer than manager Ron Roenicke would like.
Roenicke expressed further regret Sunday morning that he had yet to find an opportunity to get Wang into a game. Four of the Brewers' first five games were decided by three runs or fewer, and the other was a tie game entering the ninth inning of Boston's home opener.
Since Wang was in rookie ball last season before the Brewers plucked him from Pittsburgh in the Rule 5 Draft, Roenicke is trying to pick a spot. Only one other 21-year-old has pitched in the Majors this season: Miami's Jose Fernandez.
"I want Wang to pitch in a ballgame, I just can't find a place to put him in here that is fair to him," Roenicke said. "He may end up having to pitch in a game where it's tied and we're in the ninth inning. I don't know. But I don't want to do that."
Wang won his spot on the Opening Day roster by throwing strikes in Spring Training, so poise is not the concern, Roenicke said. Still, he prefers that Wang's Major League debut come in a low-leverage situation.
Wang was remaining patient.
"It's hard, but the only thing I can do is wait," Wang said through translator Jay Hsu. "This is a good time to see what other pitchers do, and learn. Maybe in the future I will use it."
Brewers breeze through first turn in rotation
BOSTON -- After a first turn through the Brewers rotation, things were looking good to pitching coach Rick Kranitz.
Brewers starters entered Sunday with a 1.99 ERA, sixth-best in baseball behind the Braves, Mariners, A's, Tigers and Cubs. None of Milwaukee's starting five surrendered more than three earned runs in his season debut, and Yovani Gallardo, Matt Garza and Marco Estrada each allowed one earned run or fewer.
"To me, what's good is they all look real comfortable," Kranitz said. "To me, that's big. Nobody was overthrowing the ball, which is typical early with guys. Any time you look that comfortable, that probably means you're feeling comfortable, and that means you're going to make pitches."
Manager Ron Roenicke was particularly encouraged with Wily Peralta's outing against the Red Sox on Saturday night. He was charged with five runs, though only two were earned because of some very shaky infield defense behind him.
Last season, Roenicke said, Peralta might have been flustered by those mistakes.
"I was really happy to see Wily, after we didn't play well behind him, still come back and make pitches, not lose the intensity," Roenicke said. "At times, we see him do that. I was really happy to see him hang in there with it. That kind of stuff shows me a lot about the maturity.
"I see five guys that can go out there and go through some good lineups. I don't expect us to have this kind of ERA and numbers all year, but I see five guys that should be consistent through the whole season. If we're doing that, I think we'll score enough runs that we should be a really good team."
Maldonado throw earns raves
BOSTON -- So much happened after the second inning on Saturday night on the way to the Brewers' 11-inning win over the Red Sox that manager Ron Roenicke forgot to say something to reporters about catcher Martin Maldonado's sensational pick-and-throw to catch a runner trying to steal second base.
Roenicke rectified that oversight on Sunday morning.
"I don't think I've ever seen a better play from a catcher," Roenicke said.
Maldonado, a superior defensive catcher, called it his best throw ever. Brewers pitcher Kyle Lohse ranked it high on his list, too.
"I saw a lot of [Yadier] Molina, but I don't remember seeing anything quite like that one," Lohse said.
The play was great for several reasons, starting with the fact the Brewers were having a rough defensive inning and had already given away one unearned run. The runner, Red Sox infielder Jonathan Herrera, got a good jump. The called pitch, a backdoor slider, was pulled low and inside and bounced near left-handed hitter Jackie Bradley Jr.'s feet. The throw, with Bradley in the way, had no tail and came from Maldonado's knees, a perfect strike to shortstop Jean Segura. Herrera was out easily.
Maldonado loves those types of throws because he grew up idolizing fellow Puerto Rican Benito Santiago, who always threw from his knees.
"That was the best throw I've had," Maldonado said. "It's like a reaction. I was expecting a back-door slider, and instead it was right behind the hitter. … I saw it in here [on replay]. I'm more comfortable throwing standing up, but in that case, that was the only chance I had."
Said Lohse: "That's one of those things you can't teach. We were having a bad inning, and that stopped it right there. That was awesome."
Roenicke wants to see it again.
"If that's not the play of the week somewhere, somebody doesn't know what they're doing," Roenicke said.
• With a 60 percent chance of rain forecast for Philadelphia on Monday, the Phillies made a preemptive move and postponed their home opener against the Brewers. The game is now scheduled for 3:05 p.m. CT on Tuesday, which was originally an off-day.
• Derek Jeter passed Paul Molitor for eighth place on baseball's all-time leaderboard with career hit No. 3,320 on Sunday against the Blue Jays. Molitor, who was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2004, collected his hit total over a 21-year career with the Brewers, Blue Jays and Twins from 1978-98. Jeter's next target is another Hall of Famer, Carl Yastrzemski, who logged 3,419 hits with the Red Sox.