Brewers to "take a look" at Backe

The Brewers will do their due dilligence on right-hander Brandon Backe, the former Astro who was designated for assignment last week and refused a trip to Houston’s Triple-A club on Monday.

Backe, 31, missed two months with an oblique injury and then didn’t pitch well in four relief appearances and one start for Houston, allowing 21 hits, 15 earned runs and five home runs in 13 innings. He’s due $1.55 million this season, but his new club would only be responsible for a prorated portion of the $400,000 Major League minimum.

“You have to at least take a look,” Brewers assistant general manager Gord Ash said.

That comment came before Brewers right-hander Mike Burns, one of two new additions to Milwaukee’s starting rotation over the past week, put together a strong outing against the Mets.

The Astros acquired Backe in December 2003 and his best moments came in the postseason over the next two years. In Game 5 of the 2004 National League Championship Series, Backe held St. Louis to one hit over eight scoreless innings in a game the Astros won on Jeff Kent’s walk-off homer in the ninth. He held St. Louis to two hits and one run in 5 2/3 innings in Game 4 of the 2005 NLCS and delivered in the World Series that year, throwing seven scoreless innings against the White Sox in Game 4.


Most Astros fans wish Backe the best, and this article succinctly frames why that is so. Unfortunately, he has not pitched well for us since returning from Tommy John surgery. Luckily for the Brewers, the Astros have a history of moving pitchers who then go on to excel elsewhere (see: Lidge, Brad).

Backe could possibly make a nice addition to our staff, however, I don’t understand why we haven’t at least considered scouting/holding a work out for either Pedro Martinez or Tom Glavine. Both are proven veteran pitchers (obviously) and likely future HOFs. Why not give them a tryout, we need another starter, and the worst thing that happens is we don’t sign them.

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