DENVER -- The news surprised Jacob Barnes, a mainstay of the Brewers' bullpen since the middle of 2016. In need of a fresh arm and with the Triple-A team passing through Denver on Saturday morning on the way home to Colorado Springs, the Brewers demoted Barnes to the Minors and
DENVER -- The news surprised Jacob Barnes, a mainstay of the Brewers' bullpen since the middle of 2016. In need of a fresh arm and with the Triple-A team passing through Denver on Saturday morning on the way home to Colorado Springs, the Brewers demoted Barnes to the Minors and recalled another righty, Alec Asher, who would soon be making the same drive down Interstate 25.
"It was not anything expected, but it's part of the game," Barnes said. "Unfortunately, I have no control over it. All I can do now is go to Colorado Springs and try to get back up there as soon as possible.
"They didn't give me an exact timeline or anything like that. It's part of it. It's frustrating out of the blue, but I kind of knew that there was only a few people with options down there. … I get it. It's a business, and I'm not the first person to have it happen to me."
The Brewers moved left-hander Wade Miley to the 60-day disabled list to free up a 40-man roster spot for Asher, who was acquired off the waiver wire from the Dodgers last month but designated for assignment two days later. Asher pitched two scoreless innings in Saturday's 4-0 loss to the Rockies and was optioned after the game amid a series of moves that brought in yet another fresh 'pen arm in Jorge Lopez.
General manager David Stearns cited "a confluence of events" in the decision to option Barnes. The Brewers needed bullpen help after covering seven innings of Friday's come-from-behind, 11-10 win over the Rockies, the fifth straight game a Brewers starter failed to clear six innings. Barnes pitched in relief of starter Brandon Woodruff and yielded a walk and three hits, including Trevor Story's three-run triple.
It continued a string of rough outings for Barnes. He has surrendered five runs (four earned) on 12 hits in three innings over four appearances this month, and all three of his inherited runners scored in those games.
And he did have Minor League options. It was either Barnes or rookie Taylor Williams if the Brewers wanted to option a reliever, and they opted to keep Williams.
"He struggled in his last couple of outings, but we know Jacob Barnes is a Major League pitcher," Stearns said. "We know he's going to help this bullpen for the vast majority of the season."
Barnes pitched 73 times for the Brewers last season and had a 2.84 ERA and a 1.68 WHIP through 17 appearances in 2018. He was unscored upon in 13 of his first 17 appearances this season.
"Jacob is going to be back soon," manager Craig Counsell said. "But I also think there are some things Jacob needed to straighten out a little."
Said Barnes: "They didn't say anything specific to me. They just kind of said, 'Keep working down there. We expect you back soon.' With the usage of the bullpen, they needed a fresh arm."
Aguilar at hot corner
It was Orlando Arcia who called with the news. Arcia arrived early at Coors Field on Saturday, and when he saw a lineup with Jesus Aguilar starting at third base, he called Aguilar.
Brewers coaches hadn't given Aguilar -- a first baseman listed at 6-foot-3 and 296 pounds in this year's media guide -- any notice about his first career start at the hot corner on a planned off-day for Travis Shaw.
"Thank God," Aguilar said. "If they told me last night, I wasn't going to sleep."
Aguilar had logged 3 1/3 innings at third base in his Major League career before Saturday. His only professional start at the position was in 2014 for the Indians' Triple-A affiliate, but he converted all three chances Saturday, including a tough short-hop of Ian Desmond's grounder for the final out of the third inning.
"We're just looking for him to pick up the routine ground ball and throw it to first," Counsell said. "I don't expect a lot more than that. I think it would be unfair to expect more than that. You're betting on some offense."
Said Aguilar: "I'll try to do things the right way and we'll see what happens. With Arcia, I've got a Gold Glove beside me. I've got a lot of support."
Brewers catching prospect Jacob Nottingham was in the middle of a hot streak for Triple-A Colorado Springs when he suffered a strained intercostal muscle in his rib cage on a check swing Friday night in Nashville. He landed on the SkySox DL on Saturday.
Nottingham is No. 26 on MLB Pipeline's list of the top Brewers prospects.
"Look, we've had enough of these where I'm not going to say we're not worried. You're always worried about any injury," Stearns said. "We do think this is mild. He will be re-evaluated on Monday, and we'll go from there."
Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook.