Pre-Deadline Roundup: Thornburg, Kyles, Gomez

The Brewers made a few minor transactions in the last couple days that didn’t really warrant their own post, so I’m going to recap them now:

– After Sunday’s game, Tyler Thornburg was sent down to AAA Nashville, with the plan to move him back into the starting rotation there. With the Brewers, Thornburg had thrown 14 innings, allowing 7 homers and 7 walks while striking out 12. This move is probably for the best, as Thornburg was the victim of some very irregular usage, serving as a little-used reliever when he wasn’t being called in to make spot starts. By allowing him to get stretched out into a regular workload again, the Brewers can do what’s best for his long-term development, with an eye on having him rejoin the big league club in a more regular role later this year.

To take Thornburg’s place on the roster, the Brewers recalled righty reliever Mike McClendon, the perennial “up-and-down” guy, from Nashville. The 27-year old McClendon has posted a 4.16 FIP in 40.2 AAA innings this year. McClendon’s success is dependent on fooling hitters with his brand of smoke-and-mirrors as opposed to his stuff (his fastball sits in the upper 80s), but he has been surprisingly effective during his brief stints in the majors. Considering the train wreck that is the current bullpen, the Brewers could do worse than to give him regular innings and see if the league figures him out. They might up with a useful seventh-inning type for next year, which doesn’t sound like much until you remember how much the 2011 bullpen improved after Takashi Saito and LaTroy Hawkins rejoined the club.
–  Unfortunately, with Thornburg going into the AAA rotation, the Brewers released right-hander Seth McClung, who no longer had much of a role on the club. McClung, who was a pretty effective innings sponge between 2007 and 2009, wasn’t pitching terribly well in Nashville (5.58 FIP in 103 innings), but was still a really good dude that had the “Casey McGehee/one of us” vibe going for him, and was entertaining as heck when he had Twitter. Consider it your daily reminder that the business side of baseball can suck sometimes.

– Elsewhere in firings, the Brewers relieved bullpen coach Stan Kyles of his duties today. After the recent events surrounding the bullpen, the Brass apparently felt that they had to do something to address the problem.  It’s possible that some of the bullpen’s struggles are Kyles’ fault, but there’s no evidence of it – he was also the bullpen coach last year, when the unit was among the best in the majors. The Brewers certainly have the right to fire Kyles just to make a change, but it’s really too bad that he was made the scapegoat, especially considering the grace with which he handled the dismissal.

–  Carlos Gomez was named NL Player of the Week, sharing the honor with Reds outfielder Drew Stubbs. Gomez isn’t often taken seriously due to his rambunctious style of play, but he has actually had a very good year for the Brewers, accumulating 1.2 fWAR to date. He had a crazy good week, hitting four home runs, and other teams may very well be taking notice.

The injury bug seems to be afflicting the Brewers again. On Sunday, Aramis Ramirez sat out due to a sore left wrist. (He was back in the lineup Monday and went 2 for 5.) Ryan Braun missed Monday’s game with blisters on his hand, and Manny Parra hasn’t pitched since last Tuesday because of irritation in his shoulder.

If anything happens on the trade front tomorrow, I’ll be here. Unless the Brewers play tomorrow’s game as scheduled, in which case I’ll be passed out somewhere.

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