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Milwaukee Brewers lose Travis Shaw on waivers to Boston Red Sox, and other minor transactions

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Catching up on the roster happenings of late.

MLB: Milwaukee Brewers at Pittsburgh Pirates Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Travis Shaw’s second term with the Milwaukee Brewers has come to an unceremonious end. Shaw had been on the Injured List since early June after dislocating his shoulder. He began a rehab assignment towards the end of July and had been performing well, but with the additions of Eduardo Escobar, Willy Adames, and Rowdy Tellez, as well as the emergence of Luis Urias, there was no place for Shaw to return to on the big league roster in Milwaukee. He’ll instead get a new chance in a familiar locale, returning to Boston via waiver claim.

Shaw hit only .191/.279/.337 in 202 plate appearances with the Brewers this year, slamming six home runs and driving in 28. His results were much better during his rehab stint in Triple-A, however, as he slashed .273/.415/.485 in 11 games and 41 plate appearances with Nashville, popping a pair of home runs. Hopefully Shaw can turn that around to a productive end of the year with the Red Sox and get his career back on track heading into his age-32 season.

Like Shaw, Daniel Vogelbach is another player who has been injured and is currently without an obvious spot on the active roster. Vogey was a competent bat for the Brewers — slashing .216/.323/.386 in 198 plate appearances for a 91 OPS+ — before going down at the end of June with a hamstring injury. Vogelbach has also been on rehab assignment with the Sounds, and was raking to the tune of a .379/.548/.586 line with a pair of dingers in 42 plate appearances. But Rowdy Tellez was acquired shortly after Vogelbach went down to fill the role of hefty lefty at first base, and he’s hit .333/.414/.613 with six home runs in 87 plate appearances for the Brewers to lock down that roster spot for the time being. So, Vogelbach has returned from his rehab assignment, but will remain on the IL for now.

Milwaukee made a series of roster moves before Sunday’s series finale in Pittsburgh, as well. Eric Lauer was activated off the COVID IL, he started the game and went 4.0 innings with one run allowed. Aaron Ashby, who started one of the doubleheader games on Saturday as the extra player, was returned to Nashville after going 4.0 shutout innings with four strikeouts. Justin Topa, who recently returned to active duty after a flexor strain in his elbow kept him out most of the season, was optioned back to Nashville to continue pitching on more structured schedule and build back up to being a weapon for the Brewers down the stretch. He had given up five hits and five runs in 1.2 innings across 2 appearances since his return to the big leagues. Finally, John Curtiss was moved to the 60-day IL to clear a spot on the 40-man roster. Curtiss was supposed to be a key piece for Milwaukee’s bullpen when he was acquired at the trade deadline, but he suffered a torn UCL and may have to undergo Tommy John surgery. He won’t pitch for at least the remained of 2021, and could end up missing much of next year, as well.

Lastly, the Brewers have recently added two MLB veterans to the fold in Triple-A as experienced depth pieces. Connor Sadzeck has appeared in parts of two MLB seasons, with the Rangers (2018) and the Mariners (2019). The 29 year old had been pitching in Triple-A with the White Sox until he was recently released, posting a 5.86 ERA in 27.2 innings pitched, before giving up three runs in two-thirds of an inning during his debut with the Sounds. For his career, Sadzeck has a 2.18 ERA in 33.0 MLB innings, as well as a 4.31 earned run average in 559.1 innings in the minor leagues covering 179 appearances (91 starts).

The other hurler that the Brewers brought on board is right-hander Colin Rea, who has pitched in parts of three MLB seasons, including time with the Cubs last year. Rea was formerly a top prospect with the Padres who made his MLB debut in 2015, but underwent Tommy John surgery shortly thereafter and has yet to find a footing at the game’s highest level. He’s pitched to a 4.79 ERA in 148.1 MLB innings mostly as a starter, though across the minor leagues he’s posted a 3.76 ERA in 710.0 innings pitched (169 appearances, 135 starts). Rea had been pitching well in Japan this year (2.81 ERA in 48.0 innings) but he requested to return home to the States for the premature birth of his child. Now that he’s gotten things squared away with his family, he’s joined the Sounds and started in his debut game, pitching 3.0 innings with two runs allowed. He’s likely to continue serving as rotation depth in the upper minors, for now.

Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference