CINCINNATI -- Former Royals and A's right-hander Aaron Brooks was back in the big leagues for the first time since 2015 on Thursday after the Brewers called for reinforcements in the wake of Wednesday's long and wild win over the Reds.
After covering 13 1/3 innings over the past two games, the Brewers promoted Brooks and Jacob Barnes from Triple-A Colorado Springs and optioned Freddy Peralta and Taylor Williams, both of whom, by rule, can't return for 10 days -- unless they replace an injured player -- even though the Minor League regular season is about to conclude.
To clear a spot for Brooks on a full 40-man roster, the Brewers designated right-hander Ariel Hernandez for assignment.
"It was [Brooks'] start day, so he's fully stretched out and ready to go with that," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "And by everybody's account, he's probably thrown the ball better than anybody on the [Colorado Springs] staff, and he's on a streak of really well-pitched games. He's been on the radar for the last couple of weeks, actually."
Brooks joined the SkySox rotation for good on June 17 after bouncing between starting and relief. In 12 starts since, he was 5-1 with a 2.34 ERA and 15 walks versus 50 strikeouts in 65 1/3 innings.
Peralta and Williams both pitched in Wednesday's four-plus-hour marathon, Peralta charged with five earned runs in 4 1/3 innings and Williams hanging a slider to slugging Reds reliever Michael Lorenzen for a three-run home run -- one pitch after Williams thought he had Lorenzen retired on a foul bunt.
Both are expected back with the Brewers once they are eligible.
"It's a calculus where you're losing a guy for 10 days, but we also have to win today," said assistant GM Matt Arnold. "It's tough, because they are both real contributors here."
Davies to take Peralta's spot
The Brewers will replace Peralta in the starting rotation with right-hander Zach Davies, who is scheduled to return from a long rehab from shoulder and back injuries on Monday afternoon against the Cubs at Miller Park.
It will be his first big league start since May 29 against the Cardinals.
"It's been a long road back for Zach, but we did get him back in this consistent routine, which hopefully benefits him," Counsell said. "He's had a good set of starts consecutively and been able to get in a groove, so he's ready to go."
Pina day to day
Brewers catcher Manny Pina said his brother has been on him for some time to wear a helmet with a protective "C-flap" that has become popular around the game in recent years. After a scare on Wednesday night, Pina is ready to give it a try.
His left lower lip was swollen Thursday morning, a day after Pina was struck in the face by a pitch and required five stitches. He passed a concussion test and was listed as day to day, but the Brewers were hoping not to use him until rosters expand Saturday and they can call up a catcher.
"Thank God it's nothing worse," Pina said. "I got five stitches, but I think I'm fine. It hit my shoulder first and bounced right to my lip."
With Pina down, the backup to catcher Erik Kratz was utility man Hernan Perez. Catcher is the only position Perez has yet to play in the Major Leagues.
The candidates for a Saturday callup are Jett Bandy, who was on Milwaukee's Opening Day roster but subsequently removed from the 40-man roster and sent to the Minors, and Christian Bethancourt. Both have been hitting at Triple-A but would require a 40-man move. The other catcher already on the 40-man roster, Jacob Nottingham, is still recovering from a fractured right wrist and won't be ready by Saturday.