MILWAUKEE -- Brewers general manager David Stearns believes Neftali Feliz will benefit from a change of scenery, and he was certain that it was time for some new choices in a troublesome Milwaukee bullpen.The Brewers designated Feliz for assignment Wednesday to make room for starting pitcher Matt Garza's return from
MILWAUKEE -- Brewers general manager David Stearns believes Neftali Feliz will benefit from a change of scenery, and he was certain that it was time for some new choices in a troublesome Milwaukee bullpen.
The Brewers designated Feliz for assignment Wednesday to make room for starting pitcher Matt Garza's return from the disabled list. It marked the second time in as many days that the National League Central-leading Brewers removed a pitcher from a relief corps that leads the Majors with 18 losses.
"Neftali has struggled here for a while," Stearns said. "Our bullpen as a whole has had some rough patches over the past month or so. Time to get a couple of new arms in there."
Milwaukee's top pitching prospect, lefty Josh Hader, was called up last week, and journeyman Paolo Espino rejoined the club Tuesday for Game 2 of a doubleheader. Both will remain with the team as bullpen options, Stearns said.
For now, the Brewers are sticking with Wily Peralta (1.895 WHIP since being bumped to relief) and Carlos Torres (10 earned runs in his past 6 1/3 innings) based on their previous success. If problems persist, Stearns left open the possibility of Milwaukee seeking outside relief help closer to the non-waiver Trade Deadline.
Stearns admitted disappointment that Feliz, whose 2017 salary is $5.35 million, did not work out. He was coming off a solid season with the Pirates, but he was bitten by the home run bug this year. Besides allowing eight homers in 27 innings, Feliz pitched to a 6.00 ERA and owns a career-worst 1.4 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Manager Craig Counsell moved Feliz out of the closer role more than a month ago to little effect; Feliz has surrendered a home run in three of his five appearances in June.
"At this point in the season, it's our jobs to figure out how to make the best moves in the interests of the team," Stearns said.
What went wrong?
"I think if we knew exactly what -- and how to fix it -- we wouldn't be having this conversation now," Stearns said. "It wasn't for a lack of effort."
On Tuesday, the team designated Rob Scahill for assignment amid a flurry of transactions. More moves could be coming as Stearns addresses a relief corps that leads the Majors in losses, including five charged to Feliz. Opponents have a .782 OPS against Milwaukee relievers, tied for the fifth-worst mark in the Majors.
Stearns and Counsell are also cognizant that Brewers relievers have logged 237 2/3 innings, second-most in the Major Leagues.
"Neftali tried and we tried and it just wasn't working. It was time for a change," Counsell said. "It hurts because it's a piece you're counting on and it's an area where we need help in, so it hurts. We've got to get better there. That's the bottom line."
Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast.