Wilhelmsen DFA'd to make room for Greinke

D-backs activate Brito from 60-day DL, assign him to Triple-A

June 11th, 2017

PHOENIX -- Reliever Tom Wilhelmsen was a leader in the D-backs' improved bullpen and a veteran presence in its keep-it-light clubhouse. But performance outweighed the intangibles Saturday night.

Wilhelmsen was designated for assignment following the team's 3-2 victory over the Brewers, a move necessitated to reinstate staff ace Zack Greinke from the paternity list Sunday morning. Right-handed reliever , who was called up from Triple-A when Greinke went on paternity leave, remains with the big club.

A Tucson native, Wilhelmsen was 1-1 with a 4.44 ERA in 26 1/3 innings after he made the team out of Spring Training as a non-roster invitee.

"Unfortunately for us and him, this move had to be made," manager Torey Lovullo said. "He's meant so much to this team. He's been a leader down in the bullpen. But I think he has passed along the torch to the guys, and it's time for them to take their own lead. He will be missed.

"He impacted me as a first-year manager. It was a tough conversation. It was a tough moment to let him go. ... There are concerns that a piece of the puzzle has been removed, but that's part of the game. That's what happens here sometimes. Even though it wasn't an easy move or a great move chemistry-wise, it's something I believe these guys will work through and overcome."

The right-handed Wilhelmsen, 33, had a 4.35 ERA in April and a 4.97 ERA in May, when he gave up three home runs and walked seven in 12 2/3 innings. Wilhelmsen has been better in June, posting a 2.70 ERA in three appearances.

"He was managing to get through the outings, it just wasn't as pristine as we hoped it would be," Lovullo said. "He said he wished he threw the ball better. He felt like he didn't do exactly what he was capable of doing. I think in Spring Training he was lights-out. He was a non-roster invitee who opened our eyes and made the team. It just didn't continue as consistently as we needed it to."

The D-backs have a week to either trade Wilhelmsen or place him on waivers. If he's neither traded nor claimed off waivers by another team, Wilhelmsen can accept an outright assignment to the Minors or opt for free agency.

Greinke, meanwhile, is enjoying a bounce-back season following a difficult 2016 campaign. In 13 starts thus far, the former Cy Young Award winner has a 3.20 ERA and 100 strikeouts with just 17 walks in 84 1/3 innings. He will start Tuesday's Interleague matchup against the Tigers in Detroit.

The D-backs on Sunday also activated outfielder from the 60-day disabled list and optioned him to Triple-A Reno. Brito had been out since March 8, when he dislocated his left ring finger in an exhibition game against Team Mexico.

The 24-year-old Brito, Arizona's No. 6 prospect according to MLBPipeline.com, hit .333/.406/.491 in 16 games for Triple-A Reno prior to being injured.