PHOENIX, AZ - MAY 26: Justin Upton #10 of the Arizona Diamondbacks stares out at the mound after being hit by a pitch by Mike McClendon #58 of the Milwaukee Brewers at Chase Field on May 26, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
The Brewers said yesterday that a pitcher would be sent down today to make room for Jeff Bianchi, and today we know who it is. Instead of optioning Mike McClendon as they've done several other times this season, though, they've outrighted him off the 40 man roster.
McClendon has appeared in nine games for the Brewers this season, posting a 6.43 ERA over 14 innings. Before this season he had a 2.86 ERA over 34.2 career innings between 2010 and 2011. His strikeout numbers were this season's biggest red flag for him, as he punched out just four batters over his 14 innings.
Brewer fans watching McClendon this season aren't the only ones noticing a change in his performance. Here's what former Nashville manager Don Money said about him at the end of last season:
"He's not the same pitcher he was two years ago," Money said. "He doesn't seem like he throws as hard. It doesn't seem like he has the command of his pitches like he used to. ... Has he pitched a lot of innings? I don't know. Are there other issues? I don't know that, either. I just look at the results."
For what it's worth, McClendon's velocity is not different from what it was in 2010 or 2011.
McClendon has pitched seven seasons in the Brewer organization, so he'll be eligible for minor league free agency this winter if the Brewers don't put him back on the 40 man roster. He has a career 3.54 ERA in 233 minor league appearances, including a 3.98 ERA in 31 games for Nashville in 2012.
Jeff Bianchi, meanwhile, has had to wait until today to be activated because major league rules say you can't recall a player in a non-injury situation less than ten days after sending them to the minors.