Jeff Suppan to Take the Hill As Brewers Start Spring Schedule

Jeff BreenContributor IFebruary 24, 2009

If may not feel like it in Wisconsin, but spring is in the air in the form of Cactus League Baseball in Arizona.

Wednesday will be the first game for the Brewers this spring as they will play host to Oakland at 2:05. With the end of the offseason, baseball fans can now start the long journey that takes their teams from February to September, and for eight lucky teams, October.

The Brewers have their work cut out for them starting the 2009 campaign. The Crew comes into the season without two of their studs in Ben Sheets and CC Sabathia, but the Brewers feel good about the staff as it is. Yovani Gallardo looks to be this year's ace and will be supported by Braden Looper, Dave Bush, Jeff Suppan, and Manny Parra.

The Brewers offense remained intact for the most part. Left fielder Ryan Braun will be away from the team for an unknown amount of time, as he will take part in the World Baseball Classic for Team USA. 

With the schedule kicking off tomorrow, coaches and fans will get answers to some key position battles and pitching staff issues. Third baseman Bill Hall, who injured his calf one day before the start of workouts, will be back sooner than expected, but in his absence the Brewers will get a chance to see who will be there as his replacement. 

Mike Lamb, Craig Counsell, and Mat Gamel look to be the best choices. Mat Gamel will most likely start spring in Triple A to get some defensive practice. 

The other questions will be in the bullpen, as this year's pen has been reworked a little bit. Fans will be anxious to see future Hall of Famer Trevor Hoffman and the new acquisitions. The bullpen looks good on paper but will have to do its job if the Brewers wish to have a realistic shot at the postseason.

A large schedule of games will be played this spring; 39 to be exact. The Brewers will conclude their spring Saturday, April 4 against the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Afterwards, they'll be off to San Francisco to face Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum and the Giants on Tuesday, April 7.