Brewers Ship Thornburg Up to Boston
Reports from the 2016 Winter Meetings in Maryland say that the Milwaukee Brewers have agreed to trade closer Tyler Thornburg to the Boston Red Sox for three named players in return as well as either a player to be named later or cash.
Red Sox beat writer for the Boston Herald, Evan Drellich, started off the news with this:
Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com quickly confirmed that relief pitcher as Thornburg:
Then folks began finding out who was headed to the Brewers in return:
So, all that breaks down to the following deal:
TO BOSTON: RHP Tyler Thornburg
TO MILWAUKEE: 3B Travis Shaw, SS Mauricio Dubon, RHP Josh Pennington
Unless you’re a Milwaukee Brewers fan, you may not know what the Red Sox are getting in Thornburg. You may need to have it pointed out to you that he held opponents to a .541 OPS overall including a .130/.223/.190 line against left-handed hitters. You may need it mentioned that he pitched to a 2.15 ERA in 67 innings while piling up 90 strikeouts against just 25 walks.
As for what the Brewers are getting, it highlights both the cost of high-leverage pitching as well as the fact that Thornburg was just that in 2016.
In Shaw, Brewers GM David Stearns finds a starting option at third base and a left-handed hitter at that. After adding Eric Thames last week, Craig Counsell’s lineup can be significantly more left-handed on a given day against right-handed pitching — a discrepancy which Counsell has called out in the recent past.
Shaw, 26, is controllable for five more seasons and can first be eligible for salary arbitration following the 2018 season. He is the son of former big league pitcher Jeff Shaw and was originally drafted by the Red Sox in the 9th round of the 2011 draft out of Kent State.
On the field, Shaw has posted a career .251/.312/.442 line in 778 plate appearances. The on-base percentage is a bit lower than you’d like to see (it was just .306 in 530 PAs in 2016) but Shaw’s power should play up at Miller Park. You also must consider that his splits are fairly significant (.187/.235/.364 vs LHP in 2016) despite small sample sizes, but the Brewers have a guy in Hernán Pérez who needs at-bats — and will get them at multiple positions — who can share time with Shaw at the hot corner and some of Shaw’s offensive deficiencies are mitigated.
Dubon is a 6’0″, 160 lb, SS prospect who finished the 2016 season with Double-A Portland at the age of 22. He shares a birthday with me (which you don’t care about but I find awesome). MLB Pipeline has given Dubon grades of 55 for his hit tool, running, throwing arm, and fielding. His reevaluated though still low power (40 grade) sees his overall grade settle in at 50 (up from 45). Dubon hit .339 in the Eastern League and actually slugged .538 as well with 20 doubles, six triples and six home runs.
Having played a even split of games (62 each) in High-A and Double-A last season, Dubon responded well to the midseason (June) promotion up to Double-A. Dubon has steadily progressed through Boston’s system since being drafted out of high school back in 2013 (26th round). Considered by MLB Pipeline to have been the Red Sox’s “best shortstop prospect” as he is more well-rounded than others.
It certainly sounds like Stearns has acquired yet another capable up-the-middle prospect as he continues to build a minor league system capable of providing a sustainable source of Major League contributors.
As for the third known player, Josh Pennington is a RHP listed at 6’0″. Drafted in 2014, Pennington has a big fastball (70 grade – much about the velocity) along with a plus curveball (55) and developing changeup.
Just 21 years old, Pennington sure reads on paper like someone we know. Smaller in stature with a big fastball, good curve, and questions as to whether he’ll be able to stick in a rotation. Kind of sounds like someone for whom he was just traded, Tyler Thornburg.
Stearns, as you would expect, spoke highly of the return he secured for the services of Thornburg.
“We are pleased to add three young and talented players to the organization, ” said Stearns. “Travis (Shaw) provides another left-handed power bat, bringing balance to the lineup. Mauricio (Dubon) is a highly regarded prospect who brings us speed and plate discipline, and adds further infield depth. Josh (Pennington) is a promising young prospect who further improves our stock of power arms throughout the system.”
So as Thornburg enters arbitration and sees his salary jump, the Brewers may have acquired a reimaged Thornburg along with another shortstop prospect (Dubon) and a MLB contributor for 2017 in Shaw, and, lest we forget, possibly another player as well. That’s quite the haul for another elite bullpen pitcher who finds himself on the move after his position once again finds itself being in high demand.
The other more immediate impact on the field for the Brewers in 2017 is who becomes the closer (or perhaps just the lead dog in a committee). Corey Knebel makes a ton of sense for that job. Knebel has a closer pedigree having done so in college and relieved his entire pro career, but more than that he has shown that, when healthy, he can lock in and bear down in high-leverage spots. Knebel posted his best opponents’ against numbers against in high leverage (per Baseball-Reference) situations. Opponents slugged just .364 against Knebel in those situations.
But please take that “immediate” with a grain of salt. While it wouldn’t be expected of the Brewers to trade for a closer this off-season, a lot can still happen between now and the opening of Spring Training in February.
Brewers Unveil 2017 Spring Training & Exhibition Schedule
The 2017 Cactus League schedule for the Brewers has been released!
The email with the announcement came at 11am CT. This tweet exchange happened this morning.
@dacals 2014 was released on October 23, 2013. 2015 on November 11, 2014. Last year the scheduled came out on November 23. So…soon? -ish?
— The Brewer Nation (@BrewerNation) November 16, 2016
- I will watch “Major League” on Valentine’s Day this year (sorry Mrs. Nation) because that’s when Pitchers & Catchers are officially set to report
- Position players must report within three days of P&C with a February 17 deadline
- Brewers once again play a warm-up against the UW-Milwaukee Panthers (on 2/24) before Cactus League play begins the following evening
- The Brewers are back at Miller Park for a pair of exhibitions!
- Games are against the Chicago White Sox
- Friday, March 31 (7:10pm first pitch) and Saturday, April 1 (1:10pm)
- If you’re scheduled to head out to Maryvale, tickets will be on sale beginning December 5
Please note that games and times are subject to change. (Home games are in bold.)
Tickets for Spring Training games at Maryvale Baseball Park will go on sale at 9 a.m. CT on Monday, December 5 at Brewers.com and by phone at 1-800-933-7890. Sales at the Maryvale Baseball Park Box Office will begin on Monday, February 6.
The Spring Training calendar can be found here.
|Fri, Feb 24||2:05 p.m.||vs. UW-Milwaukee||Maryvale|
|Sat, Feb 25||6:10 p.m.||at Los Angeles Angels||Tempe|
|Sun, Feb 26||2:05 p.m.||vs. Los Angeles Dodgers||Maryvale|
|Mon, Feb 27||2:05 p.m.||at Texas Rangers||Surprise|
|Tue, Feb 28||2:05 p.m.||vs. Kansas City Royals||Maryvale|
|Wed, March 1||2:05 p.m.||vs. Cincinnati Reds||Maryvale|
|Thu, March 2||2:05 p.m.||at Seattle Mariners||Peoria|
|Fri, March 3||2:05 p.m.||at Los Angeles Angels||Tempe|
|Sat, March 4||2:05 p.m.||vs. Texas Rangers||Maryvale|
|Sun, March 5||2:05 p.m.||vs. Colorado Rockies||Maryvale|
|Mon, March 6||2:05 p.m.||at Cleveland Indians||Goodyear|
|Tue, March 7||OFF DAY|
|Wed, March 8||2:05 p.m.||vs. Los Angeles Dodgers||Maryvale|
|2:05 p.m.||at Chicago White Sox||Glendale|
|Thu, March 9||2:05 p.m.||at San Diego Padres||Peoria|
|Fri, March 10||2:05 p.m.||vs. Chicago White Sox||Maryvale|
|2:10 p.m.||at Arizona Diamondbacks||Talking Stick|
|Sat, March 11||2:05 p.m.||vs. San Diego Padres||Maryvale|
|Daylight-Saving Time Begins Sunday March 12|
|Sun, March 12||3:05 p.m.||at Cincinnati Reds||Goodyear|
|Mon, March 13||3:05 p.m.||vs. Seattle Mariners||Maryvale|
|Tue, March 14||3:05 p.m.||at Chicago Cubs||Mesa|
|Wed, March 15||3:10 p.m.||at Colorado Rockies||Talking Stick|
|Thu, March 16||3:05 p.m.||vs. Arizona Diamondbacks||Maryvale|
|Fri, March 17||3:05 p.m.||vs. Kansas City Royals||Maryvale|
|Sat, March 18||3:05 p.m.||vs. Chicago Cubs||Maryvale|
|Sun, March 19||3:05 p.m.||at San Francisco Giants||Scottsdale|
|Mon, March 20||OFF DAY|
|Tue, March 21||3:05 p.m.||at Los Angeles Dodgers||Glendale|
|Wed, March 22||3:05 p.m.||vs. San Francisco Giants||Maryvale|
|Thu, March 23||3:05 p.m.||at Oakland A’s||Mesa|
|Fri, March 24||3:05 p.m.||at Cincinnati Reds||Goodyear|
|Sat, March 25||3:05 p.m.||at Kansas City Royals||Surprise|
|Sun, March 26||3:05 p.m.||vs. Oakland A’s||Maryvale|
|Mon, March 27||OFF DAY|
|Tue, March 28||3:05 p.m.||vs. Cleveland Indians||Maryvale|
|Wed, March 29||2:05 p.m.||vs. Los Angeles Angels||Maryvale|
|Thu, March 30||OFF DAY|
|Fri, March 31||7:10 p.m.||vs. Chicago White Sox||Miller Park|
|Sat, April 1||1:10 p.m.||vs. Chicago White Sox||Miller Park|
|Note: Daylight-Saving Time Begins on March 12|
Brewers Announce Changes in Scouting Department
The Milwaukee Brewers today announced several changes related to their amateur and professional scouting departments.
Tod Johnson, who is currently in his ninth year with the Brewers, has been promoted to Director of Amateur Scouting. Johnson’s new role will include oversight of all amateur scouting operations, including preparations for the annual June Draft. Johnson, 43, previously served as Brewers Assistant Director – Amateur Scouting for six years. Prior to that, he spent three years (2007-2009) as Director of Application Development for the organization and one season with the San Diego Padres as a Baseball Systems Architect. Johnson’s recent experience also included working with the Brewers Baseball Research and Development Department to set the direction for the application of data and technology for the Brewers baseball operations.
Ray Montgomery, 46, who is in his second term with the Brewers, has been named Vice President – Scouting. Montgomery first worked for the Brewers in various scouting roles from 2002-2010 before joining the Arizona Diamondbacks. He returned to Milwaukee and has spent the last two years as Vice President – Amateur Scouting/Special Assistant to the General Manager. In his new role, Montgomery will serve as a lead evaluator across the entire spectrum of baseball operations including professional, international, and amateur scouting.
Zack Minasian, 32, will assume a new position with the Brewers as Special Advisor – Scouting. Minasian has been with the organization for 12 years, including the last six as Director – Professional Scouting. Minasian also worked for the Brewers organization as Manager of Minor League Scouting Personnel/Coordinator of Pro Scouting and as Baseball Operations Assistant.
“Scouting will always be an integral aspect of our focus on acquiring and developing young talent, and we are confident that today’s moves will enhance those efforts to be among the best in the industry,” said Brewers General Manager David Stearns. “Tod, Ray, and Zack have all contributed a great deal to this organization during parts of the past decade, and I am excited about their continued impact as they assume new positions.”
2017 Milwaukee Brewers Regular Season Schedule
Here is the official press release that accompanied the reveal of the 2017 regular season schedule. I’ve also included an image off of the PDF included with the release for your downloading and wallpapering pleasure.
MILWAUKEE – The Milwaukee Brewers announced the team’s 2017 schedule today, which begins with Opening Day in Milwaukee against the Colorado Rockies on Monday, April 3 at Miller Park (1:10 p.m. start) as part of a four-game series. The season-opening homestand also includes a three-game series against the Chicago Cubs from April 7-9.
The interleague schedule features games against each team in the American League East Division, as well as four games in the border battle against the Minnesota Twins. The Brewers will host the Red Sox from May 9-11, marking Boston’s first trip to Milwaukee since June 6-8, 2003. The Blue Jays (May 23-24) and Orioles (July 3-5) will also travel to Milwaukee and the Twins will make their annual visit from August 9-10.
The Brewers will travel to Toronto to play the Blue Jays for their home opener (April 11-12) during Milwaukee’s first road trip. The Brewers will visit Yankee Stadium from July 7-9 for a weekend series against the Yankees directly before the All-Star break. Additional road interleague games will be played at Tampa Bay (August 4-6) and Minnesota (August 7-8).
The team’s longest homestand is a 10-game, 11-day stretch against the Cardinals (April 20-23), Reds (April 24-26) and Braves (April 28-30). The longest trip of the season is a 10-game, 11-day trip to Pittsburgh (July 17-20), Philadelphia (July 21-23) and Washington (July 25-27). The Brewers will take a nine-game, 10-day road trip in August, traveling to Colorado (August 18-20), San Francisco (August 21-23) and Los Angeles-NL (August 25-27).
The Brewers will play at home on Mother’s Day, May 14 vs. the Mets and Father’s Day,June 18 against the Padres. The Fourth of July features a home tilt against the Orioles, beginning at 3:10 p.m.
New this year, Monday and Tuesday evening home games will begin at 6:40 p.m.Weekday night games at Miller Park from Wednesday through Friday will start at 7:10 p.m. Most Saturday games will begin at 6:10 p.m. (except May 27, June 3, June 17 and July 1, which begin at 3:10 p.m.). All Sunday home games are scheduled to start at 1:10 p.m. The majority of weekday day games will begin at 1:10 p.m.
All game dates and times are subject to change, and road game times will be announced at a later date.
Jungmann Amongmann September Call-Ups
(Yeah, I went there.)
The Milwaukee Brewers officially announced their group of September call-ups on Tuesday afternoon.
As I reported Monday evening, Taylor Jungmann is among those called up. Jungmann has worked hard to regain his form in the minors this season following his demotion on April 29.
“It was a process going through that, ” Jungmann told me. “It was a struggle. It was frustrating at times.”
He needed to rein in his mechanics to get himself through those frustrations, but the high altitudes in Colorado Springs were not exactly conducive. “I’m not even talking about that place, ” Jungmann said with a smile.
It got to the point with the Sky Sox where Jungmann was mentally beaten down. He was given some time off from the struggle to reset mentally by being sent to Maryvale and working with the group in extended Spring Training.
“I really think that was a turning point. I was glad that they allowed me to do that. It was a situation where I was struggling pretty bad, ” Jungmann admitted. “It was some time to really work on my mechanics and throw a couple of live [batting practices] where I could get in a situation where I wasn’t trying to compete too hard or overdo it or have to worry about results.”
When it was time to begin worrying again, the Brewers transferred Jungmann to Double-A Biloxi
“No. I wasn’t taking [the transfer] as a demotion, ” recalled Jungmann. “We kind of talked about it. We just wanted to get me…in a situation and environment where I could succeed. I think it was good for me.”
The overarching theme to Jungmann’s response are that he needed to get back to being himself. Being himself was good enough to compete in the big leagues once, after all.
“Really just trying to get back to who I am, not trying to be somebody else. Really just sticking with my mechanics and trusting them and just getting back to where I was and trusting it is the biggest thing.”
Jungmann admitted that he hadn’t yet had the conversations about what role he would play in September. Asked later, manager Craig Counsell said that at least over the next nine days, Jungmann’s role would be out of the bullpen but that he hadn’t made any decisions about the rotation beyond that. There is a chance some guys might reach innings limits and there would be a chance for Jungmann to possibly start.
The big Texan is worried about that just yet though.
“I’m just glad to be here, glad to get another opportunity to show that I can throw and get back to where I was.”
Brewers Pick Cordell to Complete Texas Trade
Earlier today the Milwaukee Brewers confirmed a report by Evan Grant that they had picked the Player To Be Named Later to complete their August 1 trade with the Texas Rangers which sent catcher Jonathan Lucroy and right-handed reliever Jeremy Jeffress to the American League West division leader.
The now-named player is outfielder Ryan Cordell, a 24-year-old right-handed hitter who opened the season among the Rangers’ Top 10 prospects (according to Baseball America) and who was sixth-best in the up-to-date rankings published by MLB Pipeline.
Brewers General Manager David Stearns said of Cordell that he “is a very athletic, right-handed hitting centerfielder with the ability to play all three outfield positions.” Stearns went on to say that Cordell “has displayed above-average raw power. He’s displayed above-average speed. When you put that combination together he gives himself the chance to be an above average Major League player.”
Cordell joins fellow outfielder Lewis Brinson (current #2 prospect in the Milwaukee’s farm system according to MLB Pipeline) and right-handed pitcher Luis Ortiz (current #5 prospect) as three additions to a system widely considered among the best in baseball if not the best.
For an idea as to just how deep the Brewers system has become, look no further than Cordell’s initial ranking therein by the aforementioned MLB Pipeline. They initially slot Cordell in at #18 in the Brewers system. Cordell was eighth for the Rangers before Brinson and Ortiz left, and their system is also highly regarded.
Cordell has not yet played above Double-A, which is where he spent the entirety of 2016 prior to his injury, but he’s among the bevvy of prospects which require 40-man roster protection this winter lest they be exposed to the Rule 5 draft. You can rest assured they Cordell will find his way onto the roster.
For the Class-AA Frisco Roughriders, Cordell played in 107 games slashing .264/.319/.484 in 405 ABs. He totaled 22 doubles, 5 triples, 19 home runs and 12 stolen bases across 107 games.
Cordell played primarily outfield in college at Liberty following a freshman year that saw him bounce around. One person I talked to after the trade said that Cordell is “a freak athlete, for sure. Great speed and outfield instincts. Hits better than his numbers may show.”
Time will of course tell on every player, but Cordell seems to be yet another valuable piece to the Brewers’ puzzle to put together a consistent pipeline of talent.
Brewer Nation Podcast: Southpaw Sitdown
While I didn’t actually sit down in person with this individual, I’m guessing we both were sitting down while the interview was conducted and the alliteration works so deal.
Anyway, I had the opportunity to finally sit down with left-handed pitcher and top pitching prospect in the organization Josh Hader for a little while on Tuesday, August 30th.
We discuss a handful of topics including the trade that brought him to the Brewers organization, the 2015 Arizona Fall League, 2016 Brewers On Deck, the Futures Game during All-Star Weekend back in July, how hard it really is to pitch to Colorado Springs, and just how much fun Tim Dillard is to have as a teammate.
I didn’t pad the interview with any fluff in part because I didn’t want to wait to post it much longer and in part because I didn’t have time to record anything else of substance. As such, we get right into the interview and the clip ends right as Josh and I hang up.
2016 Arizona Fall League Participants Announced
The Milwaukee Brewers have announced six player who will be participating in the 2016 edition of the Arizona Fall League — the annual showcase and proving grounds for many an up and coming prospect. (There will be a seventh player participating on their behalf as well but the Brewers are taking more time to determine who that will be before making an announcement.)
The Arizona Fall League (“AFL”) is a six-team league wherein prospects from five different MLB organizations combine forces to fill out each roster. The teams in the AFL are the Glendale Desert Dogs, Mesa Solar Sox, Peoria Javelinas, Salt River Rafters, Scottsdale Scorpions, and Surprise Saguaros.
This year the Brewers contingent will join forces with players from the Arizona Diamondbacks, Atlanta Braves, Colorado Rockies, and Detroit Tigers. And after spending the last four years bouncing back and forth between Desert Dogs and Saguaros, the Brewers will play this season for the Salt River Rafters. That team plays their home games at the much-lauded Salt Rivers Fields at Talking Stick which the Diamondbacks and Rockies share during Cactus League play in Spring Training.
Here are the players the Brewers will be sending to the AFL along with some information (statistical and otherwise) from their individual 2016 regular seasons.
- Josh Uhen – RHP – Twitter: @joshuhen (Highest Minor League level played at in 2016: Double-A)
- Wisconsin native (Oshkosh)
- Drafted in the 5th round of the 2013 MLB draft out of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
- Only recently promoted to Double-A (only 5.2 IP late this season, but scoreless)
- Tyler Spurlin – RHP – (Double-A)
- Signed as an undrafted free agent out of Rice University on June 25, 2013
- Split 2016 between High-A Brevard County and Double-A Biloxi.
- 1.69 ERA in 10.2 IP in High-A | 2.95 ERA in 39.2 Double-A innings
- Tayler Scott – RHP – Twitter: @taylerscottSA (Double-A)
- Signed as a minor league free agent in July.
- Had been pitching for the Indy League Sioux City Explorers (1.88 ERA, 28.2 IP, 32/6 K/BB
- Pitched to a 5.01 ERA in 23.1 IP for the Biloxi Shuckers
- Signed as a minor league free agent in July.
- Isan Diaz – SS – Twitter: @diaz_isan – (Highest Minor League level played at in 2016: Low-A)
- Former 2nd round draft pick (2014) by Arizona
- Acquired via trade with Arizona this last offseason as part of a package of players in return for Jean Segura and Tyler Wagner
- Slashing .273/.367/.486 at the time of his AFL announcement including
- Leads the Midwest League (Timber Rattlers) in several offensive categories
- Currently ranked by MLBPipeline.com as the Brewers’ #10 Prospect
- Brett Phillips – Twitter: @Brett_Phillips8 – (Highest Minor League level played at in 2016: Double-A)
- Acquired last July from Houston as part of a four-player package in return for Carlos Gomez and Mike Fiers
- Currently ranked by MLBPipeline.com as the Brewers’ #8 Prospect, and the 69th best prospect in all of baseball
- Jacob Nottingham – Twitter: @JayNott – (Highest Minor League level played at in 2016: Double-A)
- Acquired via trade with Oakland last off-season (along with RHP Bubba Derby) for OF Khris Davis
- Currently ranked by MLBPipeline.com as the Brewers’ #15 Prospect
What’s In a Name?
“Hey, what about Braun?”
If you’re a fan of movies, music, or even sports talk radio, chances are you like someone whose given name you don’t know. People use names publicly that aren’t on their tax forms, in part to maintain a shred of privacy (however fleeting) but also because a name chosen can be just plain cooler for the industry they’re in.
Some stage names are chosen simply. (Tom Cruise? Cruise is his middle name. His legal last name is Mapother.)
Some have little if anything to do with their real name. (Jay-Z is Shawn Carter, for instance.)
For those of you in the Milwaukee market as I am, well let’s just say that Michaels is as much Bill’s last name as it is Shawn’s.
Ah yes. Shawn Michaels — given name Michael Shawn Hickenbottom — is a retired professional wrestler who flipped his first and middle name (and added an s) to get something a bit better. Also there happened to be a pretty famous Michael already and individuality in that game is important as well.
Professional wrestling, or rather “sports entertainment” if you prefer, has a long history of athletes using fake names. Back in the 1960s though it was important that fans not be able to find your home when you were a loathed “bad guy” who would receive death threats and have everything from insults to beer cans hurled at you.
“Adam…isn’t this the Brewer Nation blog? Why are you talking about this?”
If that’s running through your head, let me cut to the chase.
Friday night at Miller Park the Brewers took on the Pittsburgh Pirates. They lost but that’s beside this point. During the game a celebrity guest was in the house. He was visiting family in Wisconsin for a couple of days and decided to catch a game at Miller Park. As a Brewers fan, it just made sense.
But there was another reason for his visit, and that was to meet his namesake. The WWE Superstar’s name is Adam Scherr, but you’ve probably never heard that name before. It’s his stage name that you’ll know if you’ve watched any WWE programming over the last few months. That stage name comes, in part, courtesy of a certain former NL MVP.
Seriously. As the man tells it, it was late in the day where a hard deadline existed. They had to pick a stage name by the end of that day. No exceptions. All the options they were given to discuss fell flat. Nothing had the right hook to it. As he and those helping him decide were sitting around, they had SportsCenter on in the background. Baseball highlights were happening and Ryan Braun was on the TV.
“Hey, what about Braun?”
That simple question, along with a slight modification to the character’s last name, is how WWE Superstar Braun Strowman came to be.
If you don’t know Strowman, he’s significantly larger than Ryan. Listed at 6’8″ and 385 pounds, Braun Strowman is a real monster in the ring as a member of the Wyatt Family.
“I’ll take the over, ” said Ryan Braun when asked about his meeting with his namesake. “That’s one of the largest human beings I’ve ever seen in my life.”
Strowman’s physical stature matches that of Braun’s play on the field. Both are doing big things at age 32 (Strowman is Ryan’s senior by about two months) and while Ryan is long established as elite in his sport at this age, Strowman is still an up and comer in his.
So, “What’s in a name?” A tie that binds perhaps as Ryan thought it was very cool that Strowman found inspiration in him.
After all, it’s not a bad thing to have a guy like Braun Strowman in your corner. I mean, just look at him.
Roster Moves Made In Advance of Weekend Series
A handful of roster moves were made by the Brewers in advance of their Friday night series opener in Seattle against the Mariners.
Outfielder Domingo Santana — limited by injuries most of the year and officially injured since June 9 — was reinstated from the 15-day Disabled List. Santana is coming off of his second rehab assignment after his first attempt was cut short upon a recurrence of elbow soreness.
Brewers manager Craig Counsell had said that Santana required between 20 and 30 plate appearances to really gauge where Santana was physically and to get him used to seeing live pitching again. Santana accomplished that between Class-A and Class-AAA, finishing his rehab assignment with a three-hit, two-walk night at the plate which included two doubles, two runs scored, and five runs batted in.
To clear space on the 25-man roster for Santana’s return, right-handed pitcher Damien Magnifico was down optioned to Triple-A Colorado Springs. The hard-throwing reliever was a bit erratic during his first big league call-up but fell victim to injuries to others as much as anything else. The Brewers played in a doubleheader on Tuesday in Chicago, the second game of which saw starting pitcher Chase Anderson leave early after being struck by his eleventh pitch when Kris Bryant returned it to sender at 107 miles per hour off the bat. The bullpen, having already covered a short start in the day game of the split card, were nearly maxed out. Anderson evaded serious injury and should be available out of the bullpen this weekend on his throw day as he looks to avoid the DL altogether.
That doubleheader necessitated a spot starter Friday night in Seattle. With the injured Junior Guerra not quite ready to return from his own DL stint, the Brewers decided to purchase the contract of left-handed pitcher Brent Suter.
Suter, who turns 27 in 10 days, has pitched for Colorado Springs all season. He has posted a 3.50 ERA in 110.2 innings pitched across 26 total appearances, 15 of which have been starts. Suter is a zone pounder who allows his defense to work. This is evidenced by his modest strikeout total (75) but even more so by his miniscule 14 walks allowed.
In order to purchase Suter’s contract, a spot on the 40-man roster was needed. With the return of Santana, the spot was freed up by designating the no-longer-needed and ultimately ineffective Ramon Flores. Flores, coincidentally, acquired over this past off-season from the Seattle Mariners, was given plenty of opportunities in the wake of injuries to Santana and Ryan Braun but ultimately couldn’t seize the chance and establish himself as a part of the future. It was a failed experiment but a worthwhile one by a transitioning team which the Brewers certainly are.
Santana joins Suter by starting tonight’s game, with Santana reclaiming his familiar right field defensive assignment.
When the game officially begins, Suter will end a run of 474 consecutive games wherein the Brewers would send a right-handed pitcher to take the ball first. That’s the second-longest streak in Major League Baseball history behind only a stretch by the Dodgers from September 25, 1992 through July 12, 1997.