Tyler Thornburg looks to prove, again, that he can pitch regularly in the big leagues.
Tyler Thornburg looks to prove, again, that he can pitch regularly in the big leagues. (Photo: David Bernacchi)

Thornburg healthy, ready for big year

Tyler Thornburg has been pitching for the Milwaukee Brewers since 2012, but last year was to be his first as a full-time reliever.

He started well, but was then lost for the year with an elbow injury. the 26-year-old is back and healthy at the start of 2015 and hopes to prove, again, that he belongs in the majors.

OnMilwaukee.com caught up with right-hander at the start of the season.

OnMilwaukee.com: You pitched in 27 games last year before being shut down, and the team when it a vastly different direction after that. Does right now feel like a continuation of last year, or that it almost didn’t happen at all?

Tyler Thornburg: A little bit. I feel like anytime something like that happens you have to kind of like, re-prove yourself. I think anytime someone’s coming back from an injury for an extended period of time, whether it’s surgery or guys that maybe didn’t play the last few months, sometimes you have a to prove to yourself that you’re, number one, healthy, and two that you’re still productive.

As far as what role I’ll be in at the beginning, its one of those things where I have to prove myself again, prove that I was the same guy that I was in April (14 games, 0.61 ERA) when healthy, and go from there.

(As of April 22, Thornburg has struck out 8 and walked 3, compiling a 5.59 ERA in 9.2 innings across 6 starts this season.)

OMC: Since you had success in this relief role, does it put you in a good mental state? Or is it different because you’re also thinking about your arm feeling a certain way?

TT: I think it’s just one more thing that I have to concentrate on. When you’re feeling 100 percent and you’re not worried about your body at all, then you’re just concentrating on one thing and that’s being productive, having a good outing, whatever it may be.

So, right now, leading up to the game, I’m just trying to do everything to get my body healthy and make sure I’m healthy when I go out there and pitch. It’s a long season, so to…

As his second full season got underway, Khris Davis was feeling confident.
As his second full season got underway, Khris Davis was feeling confident. (Photo: David Bernacchi)

Davis felt good as season got underway

Khris Davis rocked back in the chair in front of his locker in the Milwaukee Brewers clubhouse, positioned for the first time next to veteran and former National League Most Valuable Player Ryan Braun.

"I feel great," he said as Opening Day loomed. "I can’t ask for a better situation and I just love coming to the ballpark and being able to compete with my teammates."

The Brewers left fielder expects himself to exceed the 22-homer, 69-RBI season of a year ago. (Through 13 games, the Brewers are 2-11 and Davis is batting .283 with no home runs and 2 RBI.)

OnMilwaukee.com: 2014 was the first time you made the Opening Day roster, and began in this position. What can you apply from that experience to this year?

Khris Davis: Yeah, nothing really changes. It’s all about winning. At the end of the day, that’s like what we make our paper off of. That’s it.

OMC: Last year you went through some adjustments with your approach to hitting – where are you at in that regard at the start of this year?

KD: I mean, like, I’m not different from most hitters – you know, seeing a good pitch and putting a good swing on it. That’s as the most basic it can get. I mean, nobody’s trying to reinvent anything. I’m just taking it pitch by pitch, you know?

OMC: Was there anything specifically this winter that you wanted to add to your game?

KD: Just work on good habits, as far as my routine. If you do that you just get rewarded. It’s just that simple.

OMC: How do you reflect on the start of last year, which wasn’t as good as you wanted?

KD: Yeah, I didn’t start that great. I mean, shoot, it is what it is. I’m not sure you choose to go through those struggles but I have scars from those struggles, you know? That’s all I can do is make mistakes and try not to make them same mistakes over and over.

OMC: Like anything, it heals …

KD: Yeah, everything gets better. That’s all I gotta do is just keep working hard and enjoy it. I’ve been completely happy.

Sports Editor Jim Owczarski at Lambeau Field - which wasn't his favorite Wisconsin sports venue!
Sports Editor Jim Owczarski at Lambeau Field - which wasn't his favorite Wisconsin sports venue!

Milwaukee favorites for someone who's coming ... or going

Well, I’m off to a new adventure, leaving the Cream City after over three years here at OnMilwaukee.com. It’s been fun, very memorable, and full of fun people, places, drinks and food. On my way out, I thought I’d share with you some of my favorites in all of those categories – sports or otherwise.

We’ll start with the non-sports favorites...

Milwaukee old fashioned: Distil

Photo: Distil / Facebook

I can’t say I’ve had them at every place in the city, but I’ve tried a ton over the last three years – and hands down, the bartenders at Distil do it right.

Local coffee: Valentine

They’re all good, with their unique twists on roasting, but I was fortunate to drink Valentine’s blends every day, five days a week, for a long time at OnMilwaukee.com, and I’m definitely bringing a few bags with me on the way out.

Dish: Comet’s mac ‘n cheese

Photo: Comet / Facebook

I first tried this nine years ago when I began coming to Milwaukee regularly, and it was an immediate favorite. I tried food all over this great city, looking for a contender to knock off the champ. Nope, still undefeated.

Burger: Oscar’s

Photo: Oscar's on Pierce/Facebook

Finding one was a challenge, seriously. I couldn’t find a suitable cheeseburger for years. Until I found Oscar’s (h/t to OnMilwaukee.com’s own Molly Snyder for that). I made sure to make it a regular stop.

Restaurant: Sanford

Photo: Sanford Milwaukee / Facebook

What can I say? Sometimes, the best is just the best, and Sanford does it every time. You can sit for hours, talk, and course after course is just … unforgettable.

OK, some quick sports favorites...

Venue: Miller Park

Lambeau Field is a close second, but I appreciated that the press box has remained behind home plate, and it was always a positive work environment that, save for the random elevator issue, was easy to do my job in.

Athletes / coaches to work with

I couldn't pick just one, because frankly every team, every clubhouse …

A new Bucks arena in the heart of an "entertainment district" will have a big effect on Downtown.
A new Bucks arena in the heart of an "entertainment district" will have a big effect on Downtown. (Photo: Milwaukee Bucks)

How Bucks' Downtown plan can affect city

The Milwaukee Bucks aim to create a true urban plan around a new Downtown arena, and the billion dollar concept could have far reaching effects. 

"This is the first example of kind of the vision of our owner group," Bucks president Peter Feigin said at a press conference three weeks ago. Not only do we want to create a championship-caliber team on the court, and a championship-caliber team off the court, but we really want to invest in the future of this state and specifically the future of this city."

Here are some people in the community feel the plan may affect them:

Tom Barrett, Milwaukee mayor
"Adding a world-class venue and more mixed-use development to the momentum we’re seeing in and around downtown is very exciting. The benefits to the state, the region and Milwaukee in terms of jobs, attracting investment and growing the tax base are key ingredients. That’s why I continue to support the Governor’s plan. I appreciate the efforts of all the interested parties to step up and continue working to make this project a reality."

Jake Dehne, co-owner 3 Beacons, Upper 90 Sports Pub, The Pub Club and Buckhead Saloon

"I have different two different views since two of our businesses will be directly affected. For The Pub Club, it is very exciting since we will be a corner business next to the heart of the rendering. We will have great foot traffic and the ability to capitalize on the additional concerts and events that the Live portion will contribute. People will still use the footbridge over the river and The Pub Club will be within a block of all the action.

"For Upper 90 Sports Pub we would be over a block away from the heart of the action, almost two. Upper 90 Sports Pub will benefit from the prospect of more residents closer to it and also all the further development going on around it. It seems Major Goolsbys still faired well after the Bradley Center was place a block north of heir location back in 1988. Loyal customers will still fill Upper 90 …