PHOENIX -- Opening Day of Minor League Spring Training games meant the end of big league camp for three of the Brewers' top outfield prospects. Lewis Brinson, Ryan Cordell and Brett Phillips were optioned to the Minors on Friday.The trio -- Brinson No. 1 on MLBPipeline.com's list of Milwaukee's top
PHOENIX -- Opening Day of Minor League Spring Training games meant the end of big league camp for three of the Brewers' top outfield prospects. Lewis Brinson, Ryan Cordell and Brett Phillips were optioned to the Minors on Friday.
The trio -- Brinson No. 1 on MLBPipeline.com's list of Milwaukee's top prospects, Phillips No. 10 and Cordell No. 16 -- will form the core of a Triple-A Colorado Springs outfield that could also include No. 28 Michael Reed and former top prospect Kyle Wren, who is coming off a solid season, but was bumped from the list by recent arrivals.
Brinson is expected to see the bulk of playing time in center field, but all of the outfielders will man all three positions to stay sharp in the event the Brewers have a need in the Majors.
"Performance-wise, I think I did pretty good," said Brinson, who posted a .973 OPS in 34 Cactus League at-bats, with two home runs and four doubles among his 10 hits. "I just tried to come in here and not try to do too much, [not] try to impress somebody. Just try to go out there and play my brand of baseball -- that will impress people enough, I think. Not to sound cocky, but I have a lot of confidence in my game now."
Because they are on the 40-man roster, the trio cannot come back for more Cactus League games. That will mean additional opportunities in the remaining two weeks of Spring Training for Reed while he remains in camp, and for Wren, who is not yet on the roster.
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"All three of them [Brinson, Cordell and Phillips] are still at places where they need to be at Triple-A and they have development left," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "They have lots of room for growth still. It's not like a finished product with any of them."
Said GM David Stearns: "We're excited. We're excited about the athleticism, about the improvement we've seen these guys make in their time in our organization."
All three were acquired in trades, Phillips in former GM Doug Melvin's July 2015 trade with the Astros, and Brinson and Cordell in Stearns' August 2016 trade with the Rangers.
Now that Brinson's one call away from the Majors, will it be difficult to treat this season the same as any other?
"It's actually easier, to be honest, knowing I'm one call away," Brinson said. "All I have to do is go down there and play hard. Results are going to take care of themselves. If I go down there and try to hit .500 the first three months or whatever, it's not going to happen; I'm going to press and everything is going to fall to pieces. If you go down there and try to have fun and play baseball, and not worry about who is up there doing what, not worry about things you can't control, you're going to go down there and be fine."
Also returned to Minor League camp was non-roster pitcher Forrest Snow.
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.