Who will be the next pitcher called up?

Matt Sullivan

With the Brewers burning through their bullpen for the second straight day, it might be time to call up some reinforcements.

By now you've probably heard two things:

  • The Brewers recorded their second straight short start today, with Hiram Burgos getting bombed for three innings a day after Yovani Gallardo needed 100 pitches to complete four frames.
  • Today was the second day of a 10-game, 10-day road trip, and the second of 33 games in 34 days for this team.

I think it's probably safe to prepare for the possibility the Brewers are going to have to call up reinforcements for this bullpen and possibly rotation over the next couple of days. Here's a quick look at some of the calls they could make.

Mike Fiers

Fiers was sent to the minors after just one start this season, but it might be time to bring him back. He's posted a 2.74 ERA over four starts since being sent down, striking out 25 and walking nine over 23 innings. He last pitched on Wednesday so he'd be on normal rest as soon as Monday.

The catch with Fiers is that he was recently sent from Nashville to Brevard County to be closer to home as he deals with a personal issue. At this point I haven't seen anything on the organization's plans for him, if the issue is resolved or if he needs to stay with the Manatees.

Francisco Rodriguez

When Fiers pitched on Wednesday in Florida he was followed to the mound by K-Rod, making his second minor league appearance. K-Rod has pitched two scoreless innings and has yet to allow a hit for the Manatees, and reportedly hit 91 on the radar gun in his Wednesday appearance. The Brewers would probably like to see Rodriguez pitch another outing at a higher level, but they have to make a decision on him this week anyway and their current woes may force their hand.

Rodriguez is not currently on the 40-man roster, so a spot would need to be opened up for him.

Rob Wooten

Wooten pitched in seven games for the Brewers this spring and now has appeared in 13 games for AAA Nashville, and he's been excellent. He's allowed just one earned run on nine hits over 18.2 innings, walking four and striking out 13. He's saved five of Nashville's ten wins. He's not on the 40-man roster.

Donovan Hand

Hand was one of the last relievers cut this spring and has been excellent since, posting a 2.29 ERA over 19.2 innings for Nashville. He's also struck out 24 opposing batters over that time, an eye-catching eleven per nine innings. He's not on the 40-man roster.

Jesus Sanchez

If the Brewers don't want to have to open up another spot on the 40-man roster, then calling up Sanchez might be their best move. He has a 1.02 ERA over eleven appearances for Nashville and, while he doesn't strike out as many batters as Wooten or Hand, he's also walking just 1.5 batters per nine innings. He's also just 25, so he's younger than both Wooten and Hand (who are 27).

The other pitchers currently on the 40-man roster are:

  • Nick Bucci, who hasn't pitched in a game this season.
  • Johnny Hellweg, who's been working as a starter for Nashville and has a 4.41 ERA over seven starts.
  • Santo Manzanillo, who has an ERA up around five and is walking more than seven batters per nine innings for Huntsville.
  • Michael Olmsted, who has an ERA up around seven for Nashville.
  • Ariel Pena, who is working as a starter for Huntsville and has a 3.43 ERA, but is also walking over six batters per nine innings.

Tim Dillard

Finally, let's talk about an option that's a little more out there.

Dillard just rejoined the organization as a minor league free agent a few days ago, but he has yet to allow a run in three outings for Nashville. He's something of a known commodity for the organization, has been used in mop-up duty before and if the Brewers bring him up for a few days, then waive him again they probably wouldn't be likely to lose him to another team.

Edit by JP: The Brewers made a roster move shortly after this story was posted. You can find all of the details here.

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