Brewers notes: Escobar, Hardy, and Davis

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Some follow-up notes on yesterday’s big shakeup in Milwaukee
* Called up to replace J.J. Hardy at shortstop, 22-year-old prospect Alcides Escobar is making his first career start this afternoon against the Padres. And he’s batting ninth, behind pitcher Manny Parra. Escobar doesn’t figure to be much of an offensive threat at this stage of his career, but he has outstanding speed and because of that my guess is manager Ken Macha likes the idea of a “second leadoff man” at the bottom of the order.
* Meanwhile, Dave Cameron of Fan Graphs notes that by sending Hardy to Triple-A the Brewers can delay his free agency. Prior to the move Hardy would’ve gone past five seasons of service time this year and been eligible for free agency following next season, but if he remains in the minors until September the Brewers would have him under their control through 2011. At this point Hardy staying in Milwaukee is unlikely, but the teams looking to trade for him would also love to get another season out of the deal.
* General manager Doug Melvin is apparently looking to make even more changes, because the Brewers claimed Doug Davis off waivers from the Diamondbacks, giving the two sides a chance to work on a potential trade. Davis pitched for the Brewers from 2003-2006 and said yesterday that “going back to Milwaukee would be fun … I know the fans would be behind me.” However, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that trading for Davis “seems unlikely.”

MLB may introduce “tacky” baseballs in 2018

ST. LOUIS, MO - APRIL 25: Baseballs sit in the St. Louis Cardinals dugout prior to a game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on April 25, 2014 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by David Welker/Getty Images)
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Jeff Passan of Yahoo has an interesting report today. MLB and Rawlings are developing a new baseball. It will have a tacky surface on the leather, allowing pitchers to get a better grip without having to resort to sunscreen and rosin and pine tar and stuff. Substances which, in theory, are for grip but which are really used by pitchers to doctor the ball, with MLB and opposing hitters mostly looking the other way.

They tested the new balls in the Arizona Fall League last year and Passan talks to a couple of the pitchers who used the ball. More testing would be required, though, so we’re not likely to see the new balls until at least 2018.

As you know, baseball players love change, so I’m sure we won’t hear another thing about the ball and its introduction will go off seamlessly.

Wait. It’ll still have seams. You know what I mean.

Here we go: Tim Tebow reports to Mets camp

PORT ST. LUCIE, FL - SEPTEMBER 20: Tim Tebow #15 of the New York Mets speaks at a press conference after a work out at an instructional league day at Tradition Field on September 20, 2016 in Port St. Lucie, Florida. (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)
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The first few days of spring training have been pretty quiet. Guys are going about their business and games are being played, but we haven’t had any news or controversy or silliness or anything fun like that. That’s about to change, however, as Tim Tebow has arrived at Mets camp.

Tebow, a non-roster invite, arrived at the Mets facility in Port St. Lucie, Florida this morning and, unlike every other non-roster invite, had a press conference. You may be surprised to learn that he’s in great shape, is excited to get going and wants to improve steadily each day.

The plan for Tebow is to be a part of the minor league camp, not the major league one, so he’s not going to be as visible at workouts as you might expect. He will be playing in some major league spring training games, however, at least until we get deeper into spring training, after which you’d assume that veterans and players with a real shot of making the big club will play longer.

In the meantime, you can buy Tebow shirts. But not Curtis Granderson ones, it seems: