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The traditional history of baseball uniform numbers links each player to his spot in the batting order. It follow then, that higher uniform numbers are, in general, a recent phenomenon. This trend was seen in an earlier post about the Brewers history of #57 and it holds true for today's number as well. For the first twenty-eight years of Brewers history, no player wore #58. However, it has become rather popular among itinerant pitchers over the past few years.
Follow the jump to read about the six Brewers who have worn #58.
In 1993, the Brewers signed a young lefthanded pitcher from the Dominican Republic named Valerio de los Santos. It took five years and a move to the bullpen, but de los Santos made his Brewers debut on July 31, 1998. In thirteen games through the rest of the season, he struck out 18 while walking just two in 21 2/3 innings. That promising start was derailed by an injury-riddled 1999, during which he underwent back surgery. Following that season, he switched to #28. He pitched a full campaign in 2000, but prodigious strikeout totals were overshadowed by his troubles with the long ball (15 home runs in 73 2/3 innings). He lost all but one game of 2001 to injuries. He was finally healthy in 2002 and 2003, but had lost his strikeout ability. He was claimed by the Phillies off waivers in early September 2003.
One year later, the Brewers expanded their annual search for competent pitching to journeyman Gary Glover. Glover had middling results for three teams before joining the Cubs on a minor league contract before the 2004 season. He was released in June, signed for three weeks by the Minnesota Twins, and finally joined the Brewers in July. A capable end to the AAA season earned him another chance in the majors. A 3.50 ERA over four appearances (18 innings) in the majors showed promise for the next season. In 2005, he suddenly started striking out hitters but other results just weren't there: he was demoted after putting up a 6.70 ERA in nine starts. He was released after the season.
The Brewers probably could have used Glover in 2006, when just about the team's entire pitching staff caught the injury bug. One of the pitchers thrown into the breach was ex-Royal Chris Demaria, who had very good minor league numbers. Unfortunately, he couldn't find the same success in the majors and was demoted after ten appearances in which he gave up eleven runs in 13 2/3 innings. He struggled with his control, walking nine hitters against eleven strikeouts. He finished the year with good numbers in AAA Nashville, but was cut the next season in spring training and has not appeared in the majors or minors since.
In 2008, the Brewers built up for a playoff run by putting together the most expensive bullpen in baseball. One cog in the machine was journeyman righthander Guillermo Mota. Mota was days away from being cut by the Mets, despite being owed over $3 million, when the Brewers acquired him in exchange for catcher Johnny Estrada, who had fallen out of favor. The timing of the move and Mota's unimpressive career caused some consternation among Brewers fans. Matters weren't helped any when Mota went through a disastrous six-week stretch starting in mid-May during which he lost four games and allowed twenty-one runs in twenty-two innings. After pitching his way to the back of the bullpen, he allowed just three runs in August and September. The Brewers let him go as a free agent following the season.
In July 2009, the Brewers signed journeyman righthander Jesus Colome to a minor league contract. Colome had been cut by the Washington Nationals earlier in the season but was called up after just four appearances in AAA Nashville. Colome made five appearances for the team before being placed on the disabled list with a forearm strain.
Shortly after Doug Melvin fiercely defended the team's scouting staff against critiques of the team's inability to develop pitching, 2006 10th round pick Mike McClendon was called up in an unanticipated move. Though he had not dominated at any level, McClendon had steadily worked his way up to AAA in the Brewers farm system by the time of his callup. He proceeded to pitch very well in the majors over the rest of the season. In seventeen appearances, he won two games and struck out 21 batters in exactly 21 innings. It is unlikely he will continue to strike out so many batters in the majors, but one can hope his rookie experience will help him carve out a solid career. He will face tough competition for the few openings in the Brewers bullpen to start 2011, but as of yet has no challengers for the #58 jersey.