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Wilkerson called up to support weekend starters

@AdamMcCalvy
August 3, 2019

CHICAGO -- The Brewers passed on promoting one of their Trade Deadline acquisitions and instead called up Aaron Wilkerson before Saturday’s 4-1 loss to the Cubs, opting for “length” over the temptation to take a look at an intriguing new arm in the organization. Wilkerson got the call over Ray

CHICAGO -- The Brewers passed on promoting one of their Trade Deadline acquisitions and instead called up Aaron Wilkerson before Saturday’s 4-1 loss to the Cubs, opting for “length” over the temptation to take a look at an intriguing new arm in the organization.

Wilkerson got the call over Ray Black, a power right-hander acquired with veteran lefty Drew Pomeranz in a Trade Deadline deal with the Giants. Black has the sort of arm -- 338 strikeouts in 186 2/3 professional innings, including time spent in Arizona Fall League -- that could help the Brewers navigate some recent bullpen blips, but for now they chose to send him to Triple-A San Antonio, where he was awaiting his debut.

When a need arose Saturday, the club went for Wilkerson, who has pitched as a starter this season for San Antonio. Because of that, he could provide multiple innings if needed behind Sunday's starter Adrian Houser (who will be making his second start since his latest move to the rotation). He came in for one out Saturday -- getting out of a bases-loaded jam in the eighth inning.

“Just adding a fresh arm to protect us today in any sort of game,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “That’s why he’s here, to provide multiple innings.”

It was a situation that might have called for another Trade Deadline acquisition, right-hander Jake Faria, who came in a swap with the Rays. But unlike Black, Faria was in the big leagues at the time of the trade, so when the Brewers chose to send him to San Antonio, they had to option him there. By rule, an optioned player must stay in the Minor Leagues for at least 10 days except in the event of an injury on the Major League club.

Eventually, the Brewers expect to take a look at both Black and Faria this year.

Supak pitches Triple-A gem

Rising prospect Trey Supak dazzled in his second Triple-A start on Friday, when he struck out eight and scattered four hits in 6 2/3 innings in San Antonio’s 1-0 win in 10 innings over the Fresno Grizzlies. It was Supak’s ninth scoreless start this season, including his time with Double-A Biloxi.

“One of the big things he’s done is he’s commanding the ball better,” Brewers assistant GM Matt Arnold said. “He’s a really good athlete. I know he’s a big guy, but he’s a very good athlete. I think he played football in high school. He can hit. And he’s using his four-pitch mix more. He’s not going to overpower anybody, but he has enough to get people out, for sure.”

The Brewers promoted Supak to Triple-A at the same time they were suffering a spate of injuries at the big league level. Were those developments connected?

“I think maybe a little bit but, frankly, he deserved a promotion,” Arnold said. “He had really dominated [Double-A], so we didn’t feel like there was much more for him to prove there.”

Last call

• Keston Hiura was the fifth different Brewers player to be named National League Rookie of the Month since the Brewers shifted from the American League in 1998. The others were Ben Sheets in June 2001, Scott Podsednik in August ‘03, Prince Fielder in April ‘06, Ryan Braun in June and July ‘07, and Casey McGehee in September ‘09.

• Left-hander Brent Suter, working back from July 31, 2018, Tommy John surgery, has made a pair of appearances for the Brewers’ Arizona League affiliate and will probably pitch a few more times at that level before joining a full-season club. Suter hopes to help the Major League team in September.

• The Brewers lost a pair of pitchers to the waiver wire on Saturday, when the Mets claimed left-hander Donnie Hart and the Royals claimed right-hander Jacob Barnes. Hart had been designated for assignment at Wednesday’s Trade Deadline, when the Brewers acquired three players for the 40-man roster but only traded two. Barnes, Milwaukee’s 14th round Draft pick in 2011 who made 167 Major League appearances over the last four seasons, was designated for assignment Thursday when the Brewers promoted outfield prospect Trent Grisham (the No. 6 prospect in Milwaukee’s system according to MLB Pipeline).

The team also released veteran reliever Alex Wilson, who was on Milwaukee’s Opening Day roster but had been at Triple-A since late April.

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram and like him on Facebook.