Today the Brewers confirmed the call-ups of the three players I reported yesterday afternoon. In that linked piece, I mentioned that the resultant fallout to open up the necessary pair of 40-man roster spots could be interesting. Looks like I was right again.
The additions of two players who earned spots comes at the expense of two who had previously done the same.
Designated For Assignment was Caleb Gindl. Should he clear waivers, it’s a virtual certainty that Gindl would choose to leave the Brewers organization. He has talent but was never afforded a consistent opportunity to showcase himself at the game’s highest level. And since his last chance, he’s been passed on the organizational depth chart by Khris Davis and bumped further down with the acquisition of Gerardo Parra who should return for 2015.
Gindl can be traded during the DFA period as well, but cannot technically refuse an outright assignment to Nashville as he has not been removed from a 40-man roster before in his professional career.
In my opinion, there’s a spot for Gindl on a Major League roster somewhere, but in Milwaukee it just came down to a matter of available space. There just wasn’t enough.
The other player lost, in his case to outright release, was right-handed pitcher Hiram Burgos. The professional story of Burgos is one to behold, as he pitched his way from High-A ball to being on alert as the “next-guy-if-we-need-someone-in-September” all in just 2012. I’ve chronicled that on the blog before, if you’re interested in reading about it.
Burgos pitched well in 2013 winter ball, but after a rough start to his season as lead dog in the Triple-A affiliate Nashville Sounds rotation, Burgos underwent a “clean up” procedure on his throwing shoulder on June 19th. His season was done, and now we know so was his tenure in the Milwaukee Brewers organization.
Bottom line: The Brewers needed two spots and guys have been removed off of 40-man Rosters for lesser reasons than “too much depth at one position” and “growing injury history”. That doesn’t make it less impactful to the lives of the men and families behind the names on a transaction page, but at the end of the day it’s a business.
To Caleb Gindl and Hiram Burgos, two players that have always been gracious where I’m concerned, I wish them the absolute best in continuing their careers outside the Brewers’ organization.
Opening Day is here for the minor leagues!
What follows are the announced rosters for each of the full-season minor-league affiliates for the Milwaukee Brewers, broken down by position group.
Class-AAA Affiliate (Twitter: @nashvillesounds)
Manager: Rick Sweet
28 Total Players
- Michael Blazek (Twitter: @MichaelBlazek34)
- Hiram Burgos (Twitter: @Burgos196)
- Jose De La Torre
- Mike Fiers (Twitter: @Fiers64)
- Alfredo Figaro
- Donovan Hand (@DonovanHand)
- Kyle Heckathorn (@KyleHeckathorn)
- Johnny Hellweg
- Brad Mills
- Dustin Molleken
- Jimmy Nelson (@Jimmy_J_Nelson)
- Ariel Peña
- Rob Wooten (@RobWooten35)
- Irving Falu (@irvingfalu)
- Hector Gomez
- Taylor Green
- Sean Halton (@SeanHalton11)
- Elian Herrera
- Hunter Morris (@HunterMorris15)
- Pete Orr
- Stephen Parker
- Eugenio Velez
- Caleb Gindl
- Jeremy Hermida
- Kevin Mattison (@stachemaster4)
Class-AA Affiliate (Twitter: @HuntsvilleStars)
Manager: Carlos Subero
28 Total Players
- Tyler Cravy (@TylerJayCravy)
- Drew Gagnon (@Dgags24)
- David Goforth (@DavidGoforth7)
- Brooks Hall
- Greg Holle (@GHolle44)
- Taylor Jungmann
- Brent Leach (@brentle24)
- Arcenio Leon
- Johnnie Lowe (@jlowe390)
- Eric Marzec (@MarzMLB)
- Casey Medlen (@cmeds13)
- Andy Moye (@AMoye22)
- Kevin Shackelford (@Shackeldaddy)
- Brent Suter (@bruter24)
- Joey Paciorek
- Adam Weisenburger (@aweisenburger)
- Shawn Zarraga
- Greg Hopkins (@StJonnyHopkins)
- Josh Prince (@JoshPrince17)
- Nick Ramirez (@N_Ramirez33)
- Jason Rogers (@jasonrogers2003)
- Nick Shaw (@NShaw3)
- Hainley Statia (@HStatia4)
- Shea Vucinich
- Kentrail Davis
- Mitch Haniger (@M_Hanny19)
- Brock Kjeldgaard
- D’Vontrey Richardson
Class-A Advanced Affiliate (Twitter: @BCManatees)
Manager: Joe Ayrault
26 Total Players
- Jacob Barnes (@j_barnes30)
- Jed Bradley (@Jed_Bradley)
- Hobbs Johnson (@hojo31)
- Jorge Lopez (@yabiee18)
- Damien Magnifico (@D_Magno32)
- Stephen Peterson (@SPetey22)
- Chad Pierce (@pierce_chad)
- Tanner Poppe (@TannerPoppe)
- Austin Ross
- Michael Strong (@Strong_Mike1188)
- Tommy Toledo (@TommyToledo13)
- Martin Viramontes (@martilious19)
- Tyler Wagner (@_TylerWagner_)
- Orlando Arcia
- Garrett Cooper (@CoopaLoop1)
- Michael Garza (@Miguelito_G_21)
- Brandon Macias (@Cias12)
- Nathan Orf (@NateOrf4)
- Yadiel Rivera (@YADIELRIVERA13)
- Alfredo Rodriguez (@Arodss2)
- Jose Sermo (@j_weesy21)
Class-A Affiliate (Twitter: @TimberRattlers)
Manager: Matt Erickson
27 Total Players
- Tyler Alexander (@LilLefty12)
- Tristan Archer (@TRISTAN_archer)
- Barrett Astin (@BarrettAstin17)
- Victor Diaz
- Rodolfo Fernandez (@cuba900321)
- Preston Gainey (@friendpresto)
- Tyler Linehan (@tylinny39)
- Harvey Martin (@Martin_Time15)
- Zach Quintana (@Slummdog)
- Chris Razo (@RazBerry02)
- Trevor Seidenberger (@trev15berger)
- Tyler Spurlin (@TyroneG4)
- Taylor Williams (@TWilly_KSU)
- Francisco Castillo
- David Denson (@_DavidD_41)
- Steven Halcomb
- Chris McFarland (@cmcfarland116)
- Angel Ortega
- Taylor Smith-Brennan (@TaylorBrennan88)
We’re headed for the weekend here in Wisconsin and we officially reached 28 degrees (farenheit) as a high temperatures today! Spring is certainly in the air. Of course, Opening Day comes after the season of winter finally gives way to spring. And counting down to Opening Day is what “Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers” is all about.
Today is Thursday, February 13th and we are 46 days shy of that first pitch of the regular season.
As such, we’ll take a look back at the 2013 season of…
Hiram Burgos made his MLB debut in 2013 for the Milwaukee Brewers. He was one of many players to make their debuts last season, but Burgos had a unique situation is how he arrived there. If you’re curious about Burgos’ professional career after being drafted in 2009, signing right away, and finishing the 2012 season with Class-AAA Nashville but then continuing to stay ready in Arizona while the Brewers finished their season in case they needed a spot starter… If you’re curious about all that, I’ll refer you to last year’s profile on Burgos where I laid all that out. (History hasn’t changed.)
As for 2013, Burgos entered the year as a new 40-man rosteree and headed to his first big league camp. His time in camp was shortened considerably by his participation in the World Baseball Classic on behalf of Team Puerto Rico, however.
Burgos was masterful pitching for his home team. In three relief appearances, Burgos went 1-0 with a 0.69 ERA and held opponents down with a 1.23 WHIP and by recording 12 strikeouts in his 13.0 IP. He was a key cog in Puerto Rico’s run to the WBC Finals.
Around his WBC games, Burgos made a total of three appearances in Cactus League play, pitching a total of 10.1 innings and throwing a total of 69 pitches. The results don’t make much difference, as they tend not to in Spring Training, but with a healthy rotation at the end of camp and the late addition of Kyle Lohse, Burgos simply wasn’t going to break camp in the rotation last year.
Unforseen, however, was the call that came to then-manager Mike Guerrero in mid-April that summoned Burgos to the big leagues. Milwaukee was in need of a starting pitcher after optioning Mike Fiers to Nashville. (For more on that, read the Fiers profile at the link at the bottom of this post.)
Burgos arrived and pitched well in a shorter start against the Chicago Cubs in his debut (5.0 IP, 1 ER) and picked up his first Win. He would make two “quality starts” in the rotation after that. Then, a nightmare.
On May 11th, on nine days rest, Burgos was given the ball to start against the Cincinnati Reds. In just 3.0 innings, Burgos was left in the game to throw 88 pitches, allowing 12 runs (10 of them earned) on 11 hits and three walks. He only allowed one home run in all that, if that helps illustrate the pitcher from that day. He was the definition of knocked around. Ron Roenicke was almost forced to stick with Burgos that long as the Brewers bullpen was extremely short that night.
There’s no way to know for sure, but in his second start (on regular rest) after the debacle in Cincinnati, he left his start on May 21st against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Miller Park with shoulder stiffness. Roenicke later admitted that Burgos had first reported the shoulder issue following the 88-pitch night at Great American Ballpark.
Miss anyone along the way? Catch up on the Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers profiles to this point:
- #47 Rob Wooten
- #49 Yovani Gallardo
- #50 José De La Torre
- #51 Wei-Chung Wang
- #52 Jimmy Nelson
- #53 Brandon Kintzler
- #54 Michael Blazek
- #58 Ariel Peña
- #59 Zach Duke
- #60 Kevin Shackelford
- #61 Jason Rogers
- #63 Brooks Hall
- #64 Mike Fiers
- #65 Irving Falu
- #66 Robinzon Diaz
- BONUS COLUMN: #77 David Goforth, #76 Kevin Mattison, #75 Mitch Haniger, #74 Michael Olmstead, #73 Kentrail Davis, #72 Cameron Garfield, #71 Adam Weisenburger, #70 Dustin Molleken, #67 Eugenio Velez
BREWERS ON DECK, PRESENTED BY TIME WARNER CABLE, TO INCLUDE OVER 50 PLAYERS, COACHES, BROADCASTERS & ALUMNI
Free Admission to All Fans in 2014; Food Donations Accepted through Hunger Task Force
Nearly thirty Milwaukee Brewers players plus a host of alumni, coaches, front office executives and broadcasters are scheduled to participate in Brewers On Deck, presented by Time Warner Cable, which is set to take place on Sunday, January 26 from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. at the Wisconsin Center.
Admission to this year’s Brewers On Deck is free of charge. Tickets are not required for the event. Food donations will be accepted through the Hunger Task Force (peanut butter is requested by the Hunger Task Force, in particular). Donations can be dropped off at two main entrances to the Wisconsin Center, located at 4th Street and Wisconsin Avenue, and 4th Street and Wells Street. Players, coaches and alumni scheduled to attend include (all subject to change):
- Jeff Bianchi
- Michael Blazek
- Ryan Braun
- Hiram Burgos
- Khris Davis
- Marco Estrada
- Mike Fiers
- Yovani Gallardo
- Scooter Gennett
- Caleb Gindl
- Tom Gorzelanny
- Brooks Hall
- Sean Halton
- Donovan Hand
- Johnny Hellweg
- Jim Henderson
- Elian Herrera
- Brandon Kintzler
- Kyle Lohse
- Jonathan Lucroy
- Hunter Morris
- Jimmy Nelson
- Mark Reynolds
- Jason Rogers
- Logan Schafer
- Jean Segura
- Kevin Shackelford
- Will Smith
- Tyler Thornburg
- Rob Wooten
- Craig Counsell
- Rollie Fingers
- Jim Gantner
- Larry Hisle
- Geoff Jenkins
- Gorman Thomas
- Robin Yount
- Ron Roenicke
- Joe Crawford
- Mike Guerrero
- Marcus Hanel
- Garth Iorg
- Rick Kranitz
- Johnny Narron
- Ed Sedar
- John Shelby
- Lee Tunnell
- Jerry Augustine
- Dave Nelson
- Bob Uecker
Brewers On Deck will feature a number of activities for the entire family. Autographs and photos from Brewers players, coaches and alumni; interactive games in the Kids Area; Q&A sessions and game shows with Brewers players, coaches and broadcasters; vendor booths with baseball memorabilia; Brewers Community Foundation’s Treasure Hunt and many other activities will all be a part of Brewers On Deck.
Details regarding autographs include the following: Recipients of “PREMIER” autographs (players to be announced next week) will be chosen through a random selection process. Each fan in attendance will receive one Premier Entry sheet which may be redeemed at the Random Selection area outside the Main Exhibit Hall of the Wisconsin Center District. The Premier Entry sheet will be exchanged for a numbered coupon to be entered into the random selection process for any one of the select Brewers players. Coupon distribution will be available at 8 a.m. the day of the event and will continue up to an hour before each designated autograph session. There is no cost for coupons to enter the random selection process; however, those holding winning coupons must pay $10 at the respective autograph stage to collect their player signature. There will be 250 winners for each of the autograph sessions. The winning ticket numbers will be posted at the designated autograph stage no less than 30 minutes prior to each player’s session.
Players and staff not included in the PREMIER autograph list will not use the random selection process. Each of these players will sign 250 autographs at prices ranging from free to $10. A schedule of players, their session times, and distribution info will be posted next week. The autograph opportunities are for signatures on photo cards provided by the team; the Brewers cannot guarantee that any player will sign other memorabilia. For additional information, visit Brewers.com/ondeck.
Autograph proceeds benefit Brewers Community Foundation. Please note that cash is the only acceptable form of payment for autographs. The Brewers cannot guarantee that any player will sign other memorabilia, and personalization of items is solely up to the discretion of each player.
Fans also have the opportunity to enter to win autographs from their favorite players via a #BrewersOnDeck Vine & Instagram contest, which runs through Monday, January 20. The details can be found here: http://brewers.mlblogs.com/2014/01/07/win-an-autograph-from-your-favorite-brewers-player-at-brewers-on-deck/
Can you believe that we’re sitting here on August 1st already? The season is two-thirds gone (wait…weren’t we just entering the “second half” two weeks ago? I keed, I keed.) and despite the Brewers lack of success in posting W’s it still seems to be flying by.
About that light Wins column though, that and plenty of other things have been more than enough to make some of the staunchest Brewers supporters yearn for fake football games to get underway. (Yes, a four-game preseason is second only to the Pro Bowl in pointlessness.)
This post, however, is intended as the start of a series of items about which Brewers fans and baseball-first fans can still anticipate and appreciate.
Today we sit on August 1, exactly one month away from the first topic that brought this series into my mind: September call-ups.
A little explanation for more casual readers first. On any given day (except for scheduled doubleheaders) a team’s Major League or “active” roster can have a maximum of 25 players available on it. They can be any combination of positions or any other way you choose to categorize the members. Now normally those up-to-15 players are assigned to various minor league affiliates of a parent club to play games daily. (I’m not going to get into ways that players don’t count against the 40-man limit or option years in this space.)
However, a codicil kicks in on September 1 whereas any player on the 40-man roster can be active for a Major League game. This period of time, give or take one month calendar month, is utilized in a handful of ways. Contending teams can bring up a couple of specialists to bolster their team. Maybe a pinch-runner or an extra lefty for the bullpen as two examples.
For teams like Milwaukee this season, however, the time is often used to get some players a little exposure to big league life, games, clubhouse, travel, etc and to see how they stack up in games against MLB-quality opponents. Many a player has made his debut in “the show” during September.
So, back to this season. How does this affect the Brewers? Well, plenty of players have already made their MLB debuts for Milwaukee already this season. Any of those could come back up to finish out the season. There are a number of others who haven’t yet debuted and also a couple of players (like the recently added Rob Wooten, and non-debuted Kyle Heckathorn) who the Brewers need to decide whether to protect from the upcoming Rule 5 Draft. They could add someone to the roster for September to help them arrive at a decision.
Here are some names in groups with a little extra commentary…
Healthy players currently in the minors but who have spent time with Milwaukee this season:
Josh Prince, Sean Halton, Johnny Hellweg, Hiram Burgos, Blake Lalli
Healthy players on 40-man who haven’t yet been up this season:
Jesus Sanchez, Michael Olmsted, Ariel Peña, Santo Manzanillo
The Brewers have one spot currently open on the 40-man but could easily open another by moving Mike Fiers to the 60-day DL, for example. The Brewers may also have their hand forced on one spot should Mark Rogers return to health before season’s end.
The point being: Doug Melvin has some room to maneuver and get glimpses. That is something to look forward to. After all, given the results this season it’s all about the future at this point.
The Brewers just announced that LHP Tom Gorzelanny has been reinstated from the 15-day Disabled List in advance of tonight’s series opener against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Miller Park.
Gorzelanny was placed on the DL back on May 11th (retroactive to May 8th) with left shoulder tendinitis. He threw live batting practice earlier in the week and was given the green light by the team’s medical staff.
The bullpen has performed very well these last two weeks despite their overabundance of innings pitched. That wasn’t because they lost Gorzelanny though. Far from it.
When he was placed on the DL, Gorzelanny sported a 2.30 ERA in 15.2 IP across 18 games. His 0.894 WHIP is very, very good and his 177 ERA+ illustrates how much better he’s been than your average pitcher so far.
He’s also tallied a Win in relief to go along with six Holds. He did have one Blown Save (against the Cardinals) which came three appearances before his injury was revealed but it likely wasn’t a factor at that time.
But there are only 25 spots on a 25-man roster (aptly name, right?) so as with any activation someone has to be moved out. That someone is Hiram Burgos who was placed on the disabled list with a “right shoulder impingement”.
The Brewers are technically carrying only seven bullpen arms with Mike Fiers officially being tapped to start on Saturday, but their also carrying a useless body on the active roster as well. Still, they’re already short on the bench so obviously someone had to go from the pitching staff. If Lohse does only miss one start then Fiers can simply remain in the rotation for the time being or they can go get a spot starter for Tuesday.
Burgos has a bright future still but his present will benefit from a bit of a reset.
That will produce a need for a starter on Tuesday against Minnesota. (Wily Peralta will just go on normal rest on Monday.) Roenicke thinks they’ll fill the start from the current roster which means that it’s likely a “bullpen game”. In that scenario, it makes the most sense to start Alfredo Figaro and fill in thereafter as needed.
Kyle Lohse, assuming he can get back to work next week, was originally penciled in for Thursday which is the next day his rotation spot would come up. Chris Narveson likely won’t be ready by then either, for what it’s worth, as he’ll reportedly be sent on rehab before being activated, assuming he’s healthy by then.
Following Saturday evening’s victory over the Chicago Cubs, Brewers manager Ron Roenicke was noncommittal at best to his immediate plans for the starting rotation.
That’s understandable to a degree because while Hiram Burgos pitched very well against the Cubs, the Brewers don’t need a fifth starting pitcher again until next Tuesday, April 30 back home against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Miller Park.
We know that both Roenicke and his pitching coach Rick Kranitz prefer to use scheduled off-days as a way to help their starting pitchers get extra rest with the goal of staying healthier and however fresher into the summer. We also know that Yovani Gallardo in particular prefers to pitch on regular rest whenever possible. Though I haven’t the others involved, chances are good that they appreciate routine in kind.
Roenicke gets the final call though, and his decision regarding how his rotation will line up over the next couple of weeks does have impact. Obviously, Roenicke realizes this which is why he said that they are considering match-ups and their days off when determining how to proceed.
There are two main scenarios to be considered with some variables involved.
Scenario 1: Burgos remains in 5-man rotation, off-day ignored
-Variable 1: Burgos next start on 4/26
-Variable 2: Burgos next start on 4/28
Scenario 2: Fifth starter not used until April 30th
– Variable 1: Burgos will make that start, pitch in bullpen until then
– Variable 2: Someone else will make that start with Burgos being optioned to minors to stay on schedule and someone filling a bullpen role between now and then.
The fallout from Scenario 1, Variable 1 is twofold. First, it means that Lohse and Gallardo will continue to pitch consecutively for now. That’s probably something that Roenicke would have done anyway had Lohse been in camp all spring. Second, Burgos will follow Estrada in turn which could result in similar pitchers back-to-back but basically asks Burgos to pitch over his head in some match-ups.
In this, Burgos’ next three opponents are the Dodgers, Pirates, and Rangers. He would be the one SP to miss the Cardinals series at the beginning of May. Gallardo faces the Cardinals in either scenario, for what it’s worth.
Variable 2 for Scenario 1 allows the rotation to reorder itself back to how it was coming out of spring. Gallardo, Estrada, Peralta, Lohse, and now Burgos as the fifth SP. Here, Burgos faces the Dodgers and Cardinals for sure.
Scenario 2 gives us the following match-ups. Burgos gets Pittsburgh on 4/30, St. Louis on 5/5, and then there are off-days on both sides of the Texas two-step series on May 7 & 8 to negotiate again and determine the value of a fifth starter taking his turn.
I’d have to think that Roenicke will skip the fifth starter around the Rangers series because if he simply goes with extra rest, everybody will have six days off between starts instead of the usual four.
So there are the scenarios and some of their resultant impact. So I ask you, Brewer Nation, if you were in charge which timeline do you think will produce the best outcome?
Miller Park was buzzing on Saturday night as the Brewers’ 2012 Minor League Pitcher of the Year, Hiram Burgos, made his Major League debut against the Chicago Cubs.
Burgos’ first pitch was a strike, but despite allowing his first batter faced to reach on a bloop single, Burgos faced the minimum through three. A true test though would be the second time through the order. The hitters made a bit more contact, though none of it solid, in the fourth inning, leading to a Cubs’ run and a tie game.
He was sharp throughout, keeping the visitors off balance with his repertoire of pitches. Back in February, Burgos told me that he throws four pitches: a fastball that sits between 88-92 MPH, a change up between 83-84, a cut fastball of 86-87 MPH, and a curveball down around 73 MPH. He utilized everything he had on this night, working through five full innings and not walking any hitters. He’d have gone farther as he finished the fifth at just 83 pitches, but Ron Roenicke pinch-hit for the young Puerto Rican as the offense had put runners at 2nd and 3rd with just one out.
The Brewers ended up scoring two runs in the inning, putting Burgos in line for his victory MLB victory. Then Brandon Kintzler entered and locked the Cubs down in their half of the sixth before the Brewers tacked on two more runs in the sixth courtesy of the Cubs defense.
All in all, an impressive night for Burgos who had this to say following the game:
“It’s been my dream to play in the big leagues. I’m happy to just help the team win. Six games in a row now.
Burgos said that he was anxious to go out and warm up prior to the game, but once he threw his first pitch, he was comfortable again. He said that the plan he and catcher Jonathan Lucroy were working off of helped him settle in.
The offense and bullpen gave Burgos the support he needed. Brandon Kintzler worked two perfect innings, striking out three. Michael Gonzalez struck out the side in his scoreless 8th inning, despite getting himself into a little trouble along the way. After allowing the lead off hitter to reach in the 9th, Gonzalez was lifted in favor of Burke Badenhop who retired the three Cubs hitters he faced in order to lock up a 5-1 victory. The W goes to Burgos who is now 1-0 in his career with a 1.80 ERA.
Burgos full linescore: 5.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R (earned), 0 BB, 1 K
Getting his first victory in his first career start when it takes some guys a long time (if ever) was something that didn’t escape Burgos.
“It’s a blessing. I thank God and my teammates. We were able to score some runs. It’s always good when you get some runs of support.”
Having met Hiram Burgos on more than one occasion, I’m impressed by him. He’s a humble, grateful person who really appreciates the opportunity that he’s earned through impressive play.
Those five runs came courtesy of some opportunistic offense who capitalized when Chicago defenders made errors. Officially there were three errors awarded in the game and they directly led to the Brewers scoring a pair of runs in both the fifth and sixth innings.
The other run on the day was a no doubt solo home run off the bat of the white hot Jonathan Lucroy in the bottom of the second inning. Early runs can be crucial in helping a young pitcher settle in, so leave it to Burgos’ batterymate in the game to get it done.
As for what’s next, Burgos wasn’t sure other than that he’s coming to Miller Park tomorrow. Roenicke also said that it needed to be looked at to determine whether Burgos could move into the bullpen between now and the next time the team requires a fifth starter, which is April 30th. Another possibility, though less likely from the sound of it, would be to not skip the turn when it could come up next. The third option would be to send Burgos back to Nashville where he’d make his next start and perhaps call up a relief pitcher for the next 10 days.
Roenicke said that they talk about it on Sunday to “see where we are and what we want to do.” Roenicke admitted that the chance exists to not keep Burgos up for the next week and a half.
But those are decisions for the management to make. For the players, a crisp victory in under three hours sends everybody home happy.
Well, maybe not the Cubs.
Following today’s matinee against the San Francisco Giants (a 7-2 victory capping off a series sweep of the defending World Series Champions, by the by) the Brewers executed a roster transaction.
It was announced that Mike Fiers was optioned to the Nashville Sounds and that a replacement would be on his way to join the parent club but who it was would be announced later.
Let’s tackle this aspect of the move first. Fiers, who looked rough around the edges in Cactus League play this year, hasn’t had his fastball command at all yet this regular season. In his three appearances — one start, two out of the bullpen — Fiers only pitched 7.1 innings, allowing seven earned runs on two walks and 11 hits, including two home runs. His ERA was 8.59, he had a 1.773 WHIP, and his FIP was 7.18.
In short, he was a mess.
The demotion comes at an appropriate time for Fiers, though not just because of his numbers. Going down to Nashville will allow Fiers the opportunity to work on finding his command in a game setting. He already told the media that the plan is for him to start on Saturday for the Sounds, and since he’ll have to be down for a minimum of 10 days, he’ll get at least two starts at the Triple-A level even if they’d want to recall him immediately when he’s eligible.
The timing of the move, though a touch surprising on the surface, is actually very well thought out. By sending Fiers down today instead of waiting until Saturday to make the move, Fiers would be eligible to return before the Brewers next need a fifth starter, which is April 30th. Had the team waited until the 20th to make the move, that wouldn’t have been the case.
The other thing its does is it allows for the recalled minor leaguer to join the team on Friday, get acclimated for the clubhouse and stadium a little bit, and then feel just that much more at ease with his surroundings before making his major league debut on Saturday.
So that was a hint, and here it is:
(For background on Burgos’ career up to the start of the 2013 regular season, click here for my “Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers” profile from way back on Valentine’s Day.)
So far this season, Burgos has mostly kept it going. In three starts for the Triple-A Nashville Sounds, the right-hander sports a 2.70 ERA, in 16.2 innings. He’s recorded 15 strikeouts and allowed just 11 hits though also seven walks. Still, Burgos’ WHIP is a sparkling 1.08. Burgos has allowed three home runs already, for what it’s worth.
Still, Saturday’s game should be a bit of an event at Miller Park. There will be a lot of “firsts” for Burgos, and I’ll enjoy seeing them all in person.
Good luck, Hiram! In honor of your first MLB start, the Brewers arranged to have you face a handful of Triple-A hitters on Saturday.
The Brewers had 12 total participants on six teams in this year’s World Baseball Classic, down from the projected 15 on eight teams just before the tournament started.
As the second half of the tournament moves into its double-elimination second round, three teams containing players from the Brewers organization have now been eliminated. As a result, the seven players on those three teams will be returning to Brewers camp, if they haven’t already.
Mike Walker, who rejoined the Brewers earlier this week, led Team Australia in hitting, going 5-for-11 (.455), but didn’t score nor did he drive a run in. Australia had a thin lineup overall and was simply outmatched by the strong teams in their Pool. Australia’s early departure actually allowed Walker to report to Brewers minor league camp right on time and with a worthwhile experience in tow.
Next up to be eliminated with Brewers implications was Team Mexico. They were officially eliminated Saturday night once Team USA defeated Team Italy in Pool play. That set up the winner of Sunday’s Team USA vs Team Canada game joining Team Italy in Florida for the start of Pool 2. Returning to the Brewers already today were starting pitchers Yovani Gallardo and Marco Estrada. They each made one start in the World Baseball Classic.
Gallardo defeated the powerful Americans in his start, despite being limited to just 49 pitches per request of the Milwaukee Brewers. Yo was sharp and stymied the USA bats throughout his 3.1 official innings pitched. Gallardo called the experience of defeating Team USA something he’ll always remember. After there being some doubt about whether he would even pitch in the Classic — after developing some tightness in his groin before joining Team Mexico — that he was able to perform well must feel good.
In quotes to Jose Romero of MLB.com, when Gallardo was asked about the atmosphere and intensity of the WBC he had this to say: “That’s the way baseball should be. The fans locked into the game just as much as the players, rooting for their country. There were a lot of fans of Mexico from all over the place who might have come in for it, and we wanted to have a good game. Show them what they came for.”
Also to Romero, Marco Estrada commented on his WBC experience which was less fortuitous than that of his rotation-mate. Said Estrada, “It was awesome. I got to meet a lot of guys, a lot of people I never knew before. There’s a lot of good players on our team, and just getting a chance to meet some of those guys … I only played with them for a week, but you become friends with a lot of them. That’s the one thing I’m going to take from this, that I got to meet a lot of nice people.”
As for the relatively early hook? “The thing about the Classic is that you get one opportunity to show what you’ve got, and like in my case, it didn’t go so well. So that was it for me,” Estrada said. “The first thing, honestly I felt pretty good. I thought I was locating well. Wasn’t getting a couple of calls and then I started elevating. I think I started trying way too hard and that’s when I got knocked around. Once I got out of that first inning, I settled in and it was fine after that. But it was too late by that time.”
For his part, Roenicke is understandably happy to get his pitchers back to Maryvale. He was talking about getting Gallardo and Estrada back in line for their eventual turns in the Brewers rotation once the regular season begins.
Finally then, we come to the losing team in Sunday afternoon’s Pool D tilt, Team Canada.
The Canadians had the highest number of Brewers players involved (shocking, I know) as four players were participating on their behalf. Pitchers Jim Henderson and John Axford both saw action today, with Henderson bearing the brunt of the late USA rally to assume the lead.
All told, the numbers may end up being forgettable for Henderson and even Axford, but the chance to represent your country simply cannot be quantified in numbers alone.
Someone who will be pleased with the opportunity to represent country along with pretty good results on the field is Brewers infielder Taylor Green who ended up starting at third base in all three games for Canada after Brett Lawrie was injured. Green ended up at .286 after an 0-for-5 final game, but he hit very well in the two other games, going 4-for-9 between the two. It was a rough finish, sure, with the goose egg at the dish and a couple of defensive miscues (neither of which were really his fault), but overall the experience should be viewed positively. Now Green returns to camp in a battle to win the starting first baseman’s job entering the 2013 regular season.
As for Rene Tosoni, he never got an official at-bat, though his one plate appearance was certainly memorable as it was his being plunked by Mexico that incited the brawl which will be replayed for years to come.
So for the Brewers now back at Maryvale Baseball Park, the experience was a good one despite a lack of overall team success. Kudos to them for participating, for wanting to participate. Kudos to the Brewers organization for understanding what it means to represent country and countrymen and allowing them all the opportunity to make their own decisions regarding the tournament.
There will be five Brewers players whose teams play in the second round. Ryan Braun and Jonathan Lucroy are with Team USA of course. Martin Maldonado and Hiram Burgos will move on with Team Puerto Rico. And with Team Netherlands, infielder Hainley Statia has only gotten two ABs coming into today, but his team has enjoyed some success advancing into the second round and having an opportunity to advance again to the Semifinal Round in San Francisco if they can beat Team Cuba, something they’ve already done once in this year’s tournament.