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MILWAUKEE (AP) — Brewers shortstop Willie Adams attended the World Series as a spectator last season, but he couldn’t help but wonder what it could have been.

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Milwaukee went 86-76 last year, ending a streak of four straight playoff appearances. In the race for the final wild card berth in the National League, the Brewers finished one game behind the Philadelphia Phillies, who ended up winning the pennant before losing the World Series to the Houston Astros.

“It could have been us, but it wasn’t,” Adams said Wednesday. “It now motivates us to be a better team this year and win everything.”

Adames was among six Milwaukee players who joined manager Craig Counsell and head of baseball operations Matt Arnold at the Brewers’ “Hot Stove & Cold Brews” rally Wednesday night. The event enabled the team to interact with fans at Dugout 54, a sports bar near American Family Field.

The roster of players also included right-handed pitcher Freddy Peralta, who said he was feeling better after a shoulder problem limited him to 17 starts last season. Peralta was selected to the All-Star Game in 2021, when he went 10-5 with a 2.81 ERA.

“At the moment, I feel really good,” Peralta said. “I feel healthy and ready to go.”

Peralta’s injuries last season underlined a lack of striking depth that proved costly.

Milwaukee entered last season with 2021 NL Cy Young Award recipient Corbin Burnes, making a rotation that also included 2021 All-Star Brandon Woodruff, Peralta, Adrian Houser and Eric Lauer. But all of those pitchers other than Burns have spent time on the injured list, and the Brewers didn’t have good replacements for tackles when starters were injured.

Milwaukee went 13-22 in games none of these five pitchers started.

“One of the things we struggled with last year and I think towards the end of the season was the fact that we didn’t have the depth we needed in our rotation,” said Arnold. “So we’ve tried to strengthen this off-season.”

The Brewers signed left hander Wade Miley – Member of the 2018 Milwaukee team that reached Game 7 of the NL Championship Series – Acquired right fielder Bryce Wilson from the Pittsburgh Pirates. Burns, Woodruff, Peralta, Lower, Houser and Aaron Ashby are also back after each starting at least 17 games last season.

“You go into each season the same way, knowing five isn’t enough,” said Counsell. “It’s good to write five players and you think you’re going to use those five players in 162 games, but every team knows that’s not realistic. What’s next after those five is very important, and they’re going to have a very big role, they’re going to start a lot of games. You want to make that group.” As strong as possible. And there is a carryover effect on the bulls of that group as well.”

The Brewers also changed their lineup by trading second baseman Kolten Wong to Seattle and right fielder Hunter Renfroe to the Los Angeles Angels While bringing in former Mariners player/designated hitter Jesse Winker and former Atlanta Braves catcher William Contreras. Arnold provided an update on Wednesday on Winker, who had knee and neck surgeries in the off-season.

“I got a report today from our guys that said he’s doing a great job,” said Arnold. “He’s in our compound now and he’s working and he feels great.”

Arnold has been promoted from general manager After former chief of baseball operations David Stearns stepped down in late October to assume an advisory role within the organization. Stearns joined the Brewers in October 2015 as general manager and built the roster that helped turn Milwaukee into an annual playoff contender.

Consell is optimistic that the trend will continue under Arnold, who also joined the Brewers front office in 2015.

“I’ve worked with Matt for the past eight years, and from that perspective, it’s been business as usual,” said Conseil. “Matt is going to do things a little differently because he’s his own man, but really not much has changed from that perspective.”

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AP MLB: and

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