ST. LOUIS -- Already sidelined by a suspension, Brewers pitching prospect Phil Bickford's season debut will be further delayed after he underwent surgery on Wednesday for two broken bones in his throwing hand.Bickford, the right-hander acquired in a trade with the Giants last August, was suspended in December following a
ST. LOUIS -- Already sidelined by a suspension, Brewers pitching prospect Phil Bickford's season debut will be further delayed after he underwent surgery on Wednesday for two broken bones in his throwing hand.
Bickford, the right-hander acquired in a trade with the Giants last August, was suspended in December following a second positive test for a drug of abuse. Now he will be sidelined 8-12 weeks, Brewers farm director Tom Flanagan said, after being struck by a line drive during an extended spring training game at Maryvale Baseball Park.
X-rays revealed fractured metacarpals in his ring finger and pinkie finger. The surgery, performed in Phoenix by Dr. Don Sheridan, will delay a season debut that was scheduled for the final week of May into early July at the earliest. Bickford will turn 22 on July 10.
Bickford is ranked 12th on MLBPipeline.com's list of the top Brewers prospects.
When he was originally suspended, Bickford ranked fifth on the Brewers' list and was the No. 54 prospect in baseball, per MLBPipeline.com. He fell out of the top 100 when the list was updated during Spring Training.
Roache traded to Dodgers
The Brewers traded former first-round Draft pick Victor Roache to the Dodgers on Thursday for a player to be named or cash. The teams have six months to finalize the deal, Brewers general manager David Stearns said.
The outfielder, who was at Double-A Biloxi, was one of Milwaukee's two first-round Draft picks in 2012, when the Brewers had an extra selection as compensation for free agent Prince Fielder signing with the Tigers. Roache ranked as high as eighth on MLBPipeline.com's Brewers list, but his hitting struggles, combined with Milwaukee's improved crop of outfield prospects, pushed Roache out of the top 30.
"I think you come to a point where sometimes a change of scenery is the best thing for a player," Stearns said. "We've got a lot of outfielders in our system, obviously, and Victor fell down the depth chart a little bit."
Roache was hitting .176/.238/.230 with no home runs in his third season at Biloxi.
Cravy still waiting
Is Tyler Cravy paying a price for his fiery response to missing the Opening Day roster? No, Stearns insisted.
"We are not mad at Tyler Cravy," Stearns said.
Cravy had to walk back talk of quitting baseball after the Brewers optioned him to Triple-A at the end of Spring Training. Four times in the first four weeks of the regular season, the team called up a reliever, including Rob Scahill this week, and Cravy, who had a solid 1.00 WHIP as of Thursday, has yet to get the call.
"We said this at the end of camp when we sent Tyler down: My expectation is that Tyler is going to pitch up here this year," Stearns said. "We are a month into the season, and at this point we did not feel the opportunity has presented itself."
Lopez staying put
Right-hander Jorge Lopez, the Brewers' No. 13 prospect, was dominating Double-A entering his start for Biloxi on Thursday. But the organization has no plan to promote him to Colorado Springs, where Lopez struggled last season.
"I don't think that's necessary," Stearns said. "If the situation is right, we wouldn't hesitate from calling a player up from Double-A. Particularly a pitcher, and particularly a pitcher who has already pitched at Triple-A [and in the Major Leagues] and is on the 40-man.
"I think he's in a good spot there. Obviously, he's having success. He works well with our pitching coach there, Chris Hook. It's a stable spot for him where he can continue to grow and develop. If we have a need for him, we know he is easily accessible. We can get a flight from Biloxi just as easily as we can from Colorado Springs."
Former Brewers first-round pick Jed Bradley has retired, according to reporters who cover his current organization, the Orioles. The Brewers drafted Bradley 15th overall in 2011, three picks after they took Taylor Jungmann.
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.