Cain, Rivas get 40-man spots

Two days before the deadline to protect prospects from next month’s Rule 5 Draft, the Brewers added outfielder Lorenzo Cain and right-hander Amaury Rivas — the team’s reigning Minor League pitcher of the year — to the 40-man roster.

Two others who would have required protection had been previously added. The Brewers gave pitchers John Axford and Josh Butler a taste of the Majors in September, figuring they would need roster protection after the season, anyway. The team also added infielder Adam Heether earlier this month. [That's true, but they didn't have to add Heether to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft. He would have been a six-year free agent.]

Cain, 23, impressed Brewers coaches when he filled-in for some injured outfielders during Spring Training but saw his season derailed by a left knee injury in April. He was limited to 60 games at three levels of Milwaukee’s farm system and batted .218 with a .277 on-base percentage.

“When you play with an injury all year it can make you apprehensive, and it did,” Brewers farm director Reid Nichols said. “He had doubts on his knee. He was probably playing a step short the whole time and had a little lack of confidence in what he could do physically. That’s normal, when you can’t go the way you want to go. There’s no doubt he’s a good player. He just has to get that knee as well as his other one.”

Cain is currently making up for lost time in the Arizona Fall League.
Through 17 games, he was hitting .242 with a .375 on-base percentage
and 14 runs scored as the Peoria Javelinas’ leadoff man.

Rivas, who turns 24 on Dec. 20, was 13-7 with a 2.98 ERA at Class A Brevard County in 2009 to win a Robin Yount Award as the organization’s top pitcher. He was at Miller Park to accept the award in September.

With Wednesday’s additions, the Brewers still have five open spots on their 40-man roster.

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