Where do Rottino, Iribarren fit?
Triple-A Nashville will have no shortage of utility men this season.
The Brewers optioned Hernan Iribarren to Nashville on Monday and returned Vinny Rottino to Minor League camp. Both players are headed Triple-A, but it’s difficult to pin down exactly where they will play.
Rottino’s fate was complicated by word Monday that the Brewers intend to send Carlos Corporan to Nashville to serve as the backup catcher to Angel Salome. Last year the Brewers installed Rottino as the starting catcher at Nashville with hopes of eventually advancing him to the big leagues as a backup. That experiment has essentially been abandoned, according to assistant general manager Gord Ash.
Rottino will catch “on occasion” this season, Ash said, and, “will be more of a true utility player.”
So will Iribarren, it appears. Assuming the Brewers keep out-of-options players Tony Gwynn Jr., Brad Nelson and Mike Lamb for the bench, the infield will be full with prospects Mat Gamel and Alcides Escobar on the left side, Scott Thorman at first base and probably Spring Training standout Casey McGehee at second. The team wants to play young outfielders Brendan Katin and Cole Gillespie in the outfield, and Chris Duffy would probably man center field. Iribarren presumably would pick up at-bats where he can get them.
Both Iribarren and Rottino have been Brewers farmhands for a long time — Iribarren since March 2002 and Rottino since February 2003. They both have had a taste of the big leagues and would love to get back, but it’s looking tough.