The Brewers moved six players off the big league camp roster, including one potential fifth starter candidate, in the first round of cuts Sunday.
That fifth starter candidate is right-hander Amaury Rivas, who was optioned to Triple-A Nashville. He was one of the players mentioned as a potential fill-in for Zack Greinke, who will miss the start of the season with a cracked rib.
The Brewers also optioned pitchers Dan Merklinger and Cody Scarpetta to Double-A Huntsville and returned pitchers Robert Hinton and Roque Mercedes and catcher Anderson De La Rosa to Minor League camp.
The first Minor League full-squad workout was Sunday, but all six players were given until Tuesday to report.
With the moves, 47 players remained in big league camp.
The Brewers extended two more invitations to Major League Spring Training camp this week, signing catcher Mike Rivera and right-hander Robert Hinton to Minor League contracts that promise a locker in the big league clubhouse at Maryvale Baseball Park.
Rivera, 34, was a capable backup for the Brewers from 2006-09 but was let go after the 2009 season because he was eligible for salary arbitration. He signed with the Yankees and later with the Marlins, for whom he appeared in seven Major League games last season.
With Rivera back in the organization, it will be interesting to see what the Brewers do with George Kottaras, who couldn’t throw out opposing baserunners in 2010. Kottaras is still an affordable “zero to three” player for next season but he’s out of Minor League options.
Hinton, 26, has pitched the past seven seasons in the Brewers’ farm system. He was 4-4 with a 4.16 ERA in a 2010 season split between Double-A Huntsville and Triple-A Nashville.
The Brewers also re-signed Milwaukee native Chris Nowak to a Minor League contract that doesn’t include a big-league camp invite. The Waukesha North High School graduate finished last season at Double-A Huntsville.