I missed last night’s game as I was flying back home to Wisconsin, but people tell me the Brewers actually won. I had to look up the box score just to make sure it actually happened.
But the big news started to come out after the game. Gregg Zaun was placed on the disabled list, and catching wunderkind/deity Jonathan Lucroy was getting called up to take his place. It wasn’t until today that we learned the corresponding 40-man roster move necessary to add Lucroy to the roster — David Riske was transferred to the 60-day DL as he continues his rehab assignment in the minors. Riske’s DL move is retroactive to the start of the season, so he’ll be eligible to return by June, even though it’s unlikely he’ll be ready by then.
Lucroy’s ascension through the Brewers’ system has been impressive, but the catching situation in the big leagues has been surprisingly (and refreshingly) good — after his slow start, Gregg Zaun has improved his line to .265/.350/.392, and George Kottaras has proven to be another waiver wire steal by Doug Melvin. This probably means that Lucroy’s stay in the big leagues will be relatively short, but if he proves he can hit big league pitching early on, it may make Zaun expendable at the trade deadline.
In other promising news, Carlos Gomez is coming off the DL, which should greatly help an outfield defense that looked horrible in his absence. No corresponding move has been made there, but I just hope Adam Stern kept another ticket to Nashville handy.
If that wasn’t enough, Zach Braddock is also expected to finally join the big league bullpen. Braddock’s incredible strikeout numbers (28 K’s in 16 innings this year) will be another welcome addition to a ‘pen that was knocked around quite a bit during the 9-game losing streak. If Braddock fares as well as John Axford has, it’s possible the relief corps will go back to being a strong point on this team.
The Lucroy move and Gomez coming off the DL were necessary, but if the Brewers are indeed adding Braddock to the fold as well, it could be a sign that the front office is (finally) starting to try some new things to break out of this funk. We saw Ken Macha flip Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder in the batting order, and while the benefits are debatable, at least he seems to be trying something new. For all we know, it could’ve been a move of desperation — if the Brewers don’t find a way to win the Minnesota series, I still think it’s possible that Macha is forced to clean out his office on Monday. If the Brewers get swept by the Twins, I don’t see any way they can justify keeping him around. But maybe that’s just me.