Brewers considering adding a reliever
Brewers manager Ron Roenicke had little time Wednesday to savor the fact his club had baseball’s best record by a full three games. There were injury reports to gather on his banged-up position players, and pitch charts to pore over for a hard-worked bullpen.
The good news was that shortstop Jean Segura is expected back in the lineup Thursday in Cincinnati, according to Roenicke, after missing four starts with a facial laceration, and that third baseman Aramis Ramirez should be back, according to Ramirez, after missing two starts with a bruised left elbow.
Left Right fielder Ryan Braun remained day-to-day with a right rib-cage strain, and the same status applied to a slew of Brewers relievers, who have pitched remarkably well and alarmingly often during the Brewers hot start.
Four extra-inning games in the span of 10 days didn’t help. Neither does the fact the Brewers are still being cautious with 22-year-old Rule 5 Draft pick Wei-Chung Wang, who pitched only three times in the team’s first 27 games.
“We need to worry about it,” Roenicke said. “[Brewers special assistant Craig] Counsell, when he gets in here a little bit, we need to talk about some things. We can’t keep saying we’re OK if the starter goes deep. You’re still having to cover some of the innings.”
Kyle Lohse on Tuesday delivered the Brewers’ Major League-leading 22nd quality start, but the relievers are nonetheless piling up innings. Only 20 big league relievers had been used at least 14 times through Tuesday, and the Brewers have three of them. Closer Francisco Rodriguez entered the day tied for the Major League lead with 16 appearances (all of them scoreless) and was deemed unavailable on Wednesday. Left-hander Will Smith finally allowed a run Tuesday in his 15th appearance. Tyler Thornburg went two innings Tuesday for his 13th consecutive scoreless appearance, and has pitched 14 times.
“We’ll try to figure out what we can do to ease this,” Roenicke said. “We hate to go shorter on the bench, because we’re so short already, but it would be nice to have another arm in here.”
A potential move would be dependent on the health of Braun, Ramirez and Segura. The Brewers have so far avoided assigning Braun to the disabled list, and Roenicke did not indicate Wednesday whether that was still a possibility. Utility man Elian Herrera has options, but his versatility is very valuable to the Brewers in their current state. Second baseman Rickie Weeks has contributed little, but is due more than $9 million for the remainder of this season.
Among the relievers available at Triple-A Nashville are Rob Wooten, who is on the 40-man roster and has already appeared for the Brewers this season. Another right-hander, Donovan Hand, is pitching well but is not on the 40-man roster. If the Brewers want length, they couldd call-up top prospect Jimmy Nelson.
Whether or not the Brewers adjust the roster before Thursday’s game in Cincinnati, they could have a move to make Saturday when outfielder Logan Schafer’s DL stint expires. Schafer had been on rehab assignment at Class A Brevard County, and was advanced to Nashville on Wednesday.
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