MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- The Milwaukee Brewers have a bunch of right-wingers among their starting pitchers. We aren't talking about their politics, but rather, the fact that all five guys slated to be in the rotation are right-handed. It's a different story in the bullpen.
A year ago, the Brewers pitching staff threw 1,442 and two-thirds innings -- of which, only 137 and one-third were covered by left-handers.
For a large stretch of the season, Michael Gonzalez was the only southpaw available, and his career effectiveness deserted him.
It has happened for the Brewers, and it has certainly happened across baseball. You can't find enough good left-handed pitching, but it's not happening for the Brewers this year. They have all sorts of candidates who bring it from that side.
Tom Gorzelanny can start or relieve, and he is making steady progress in his rehab from an elbow problem that ended his debut Brewers campaign early in 2013.
Wei-Chung Wang is a 21-year-old with plenty of potential -- although he lacks experience and a grasp of the English language.
Milwaukee traded productive outfielder Norichika Aoki -- its last player with an interpreter -- to Kansas City, for Will Smith.
"I'm excited to be here. I'm excited for the chance I have for this ball club. You know, you walk in the clubhouse every day and it's a good group of guys. We're excited for the season. We're excited to start," Smith said.
"If you go down and watch his bullpen, it's incredible. His fastball is down in the zone with life on it. Great breaking ball. He's got that bulldog kind of attitude -- big, physical guy. He goes hard in all of our workouts and our rotations. He talks a little bit, so I think he's getting more comfortable," Brewers Manager Ron Roenicke said.
"As the new guy, you just kind of sit back and observe and see how people operate and try to make small talk here and there," Smith said.
The Brewers are expecting more than a small contribution from Smith, who can start -- but will probably relieve at the outset of the season.
A wildcard in the mix is former Pirates and Cubs player Zach Duke, who is making the most of his non-roster look-see.
"Whenever you're trying to earn a spot, you have to make sure you're giving yourself the best opportunity you can from day one. I worked very hard in the off-season to come in ready and I feel like I'm in a good place. I offer a lot of things -- pretty much the kitchen sink. That's kinda what I have going for me. Out of the bullpen I can come at you with a number of different pitches," Duke said.
Duke says he has to believe he has a shot to make the final roster.
Mr. Smith goes to Milwaukee is almost a certainty.
Gorzelanny's health will dictate his fate and Wang's stuff alone makes him a candidate.
It seems as though the southpaw struggles of last year are being left behind.
Of those lefties vying for jobs, Duke pitched in Wednesday's Cactus League loss to the Angels (March 12th) -- striking out all three batters he faced.