Burns tops list of possible bullpen call-ups

The Brewers are expected to promote a pitcher from Triple-A Nashville on Tuesday to bolster a suddenly-thin bullpen, and it could mean a return to the big leagues for journeyman Mike Burns.

Brewers officials said they would wait until Tuesday to make a move, but manager Ken Macha’s bullpen needs immediate help. Right-hander Mark DiFelice is out at least one more day with a sore elbow and Macha would like to give fellow righty Seth McClung another day off after working three innings on Saturday against the Reds. Another right-hander, Jorge Julio, continued to slide on Macha’s depth chart after he surrendered five runs and the lead without recording an out in Monday’s 7-4 loss to the Marlins.

Brewers relievers worked three innings on Monday and have pitched 11 2/3 innings in the last three days. Tuesday’s scheduled starter is left-hander Manny Parra, who has worked 10 innings over his last two starts.

Burns, 30, and a veteran of 45 Major League relief appearances for the Reds, Astros and Red Sox in 2005 and 2006, is 6-2 with a 2.98 ERA in 10 starts this season for Nashville. He was 6-0 before losing his last two starts, and could be an attractive addition to a bullpen in need of an innings-eater. Burns has 40 strikeouts versus 11 walks in 63 1/3 innings this season. 

The Brewers could also recall left-hander R.J. Swindle, who has already pitched two stints with the Brewers this season, but the Marlins are stocked mostly with right-handed hitters. Right-hander Tim Dillard would have been an attractive choice, but he pitched seven innings on Sunday.

The Brewers would have to add Burns to the 40-man roster, and would also have to have to make a clear a spot on the 25-man roster.

Since the Brewers are somewhat thin on the infield in the wake of Rickie Weeks’ season-ending wrist injury and could also be thin in the outfield if center fielder Mike Cameron misses time with a flare-up of tendinitis in his left knee, Julio’s spot could be in jeopardy. He has walked 15 batters in 17 1/3 innings this season.

“I’ve said this a bunch, we have a bunch of extra guys and they come out and have a certain role they need to fill,” Macha said. “It’s the same with the pitching staff. You just can’t operate with 24 guys. Everybody has to be a contributor.”

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