Yuni in, Murphy out for Brewers
As if the Kyle Lohse deal were not enough to fill Milwaukee’s talk radio airwaves, the Brewers acquired an old favorite on Tuesday.
Yuniesky Betancourt, the team’s free-swinging starting shortstop in 2011, is a physical exam away from re-signing on a one-year, Major League deal and breaking camp as the Brewers’ utility infielder. He will undergo that physical on Wednesday, and if the deal goes through Betancourt could earn up to $1.4 million, including incentives.
The Brewers have already informed nonroster invitee Donnie Murphy that he is unlikely to make the club in the wake of the Betancourt move. Murphy could ask for his release.
“We signed a veteran guy [in Betancourt] who we have a lot of familiarity with,” Brewers general manager Doug Melvin said. “Since we’re going to have Alex [Gonzalez] play a lot of first base early in the season, Yuni gives us a guy who can play multiple infield positions. He did a really good job last year with Kansas City in that role.”
Betancourt, now 31, had asked for his release from a Minor League contract with the Phillies on Sunday after going 21-for-47 (.447) with 14 RBIs in 18 Grapefruit League games.
Agent Alex Esteban said Betancourt had also expressed interest in the outfield, where Betancourt played for the Cuban National Team before signing with the Mariners in 2005. The Brewers are beginning the season with only four outfielders: starters Ryan Braun, Carlos Gomez and Norichika Aoki and reserve Logan Schafer.
The Brewers were in the market for backup infielders because Jeff Bianchi has been limited to one game since March 2 by a hip injury, and Taylor Green was placed on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday with a labrum injury in his left hip.
Betancourt batted .228 with seven home runs and 36 RBIs in 215 at-bats last season with the Royals while playing a reserve role. With the Brewers in 2011, he played 156 games and batted .256 with 13 homers and 68 RBIs, then hit .310 in 11 postseason games.
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