Carlos Villanueva’s forgettable eighth inning on Wednesday will be his last appearance in a Brewers uniform for some time. He was optioned to Triple-A Nashville after the Brewers’ 10-2 loss to the Reds to clear a path for fellow reliever LaTroy Hawkins to return from the disabled list on Friday.
Hawkins is on the 60-day DL with right shoulder weakness but will be back in uniform Friday night against the Astros. The Brewers will have to make another move to open a 40-man roster spot when they formally activate Hawkins, but that won’t be a problem. Catcher Gregg Zaun, finished for the season after shoulder surgery, can be moved from the 15-day to the 60-day DL.
Villanueva has not pitched in the Minors since 2007. He has a 4.96 ERA in 45 appearances this season, including a bad one on Wednesday in which he surrendered five runs. Four of those runs scored on a booming, 450-foot grand slam by Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips that hit Bernie Brewer’s slide high above left field.