CINCINNATI -- There was a silver lining to Lewis Brinson's return to the Minor Leagues last weekend: a spot in the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game.Brinson and fellow Brewers outfield prospect Corey Ray will play for the U.S. Team against shortstop Mauricio Dubon and a World Team in the prospect-packed exhibition,
CINCINNATI -- There was a silver lining to Lewis Brinson's return to the Minor Leagues last weekend: a spot in the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game.
Brinson and fellow Brewers outfield prospect Corey Ray will play for the U.S. Team against shortstop Mauricio Dubon and a World Team in the prospect-packed exhibition, which has proven to be a springboard to the Majors for many a prospect since it debuted in 1999. The Futures Game takes place on Sunday, July 9, at 3 p.m. CT at Marlins Park in Miami and can be viewed live on MLB Network and MLB.com.
:: 2017 Futures Game coverage ::
Brinson and Ray are ranked Nos. 1-2 on MLBPipeline.com's list of Milwaukee's top prospects. Dubon is No. 9.
Five of the Brewers' nine starters against the Reds on Thursday night have a Futures Game on their resumes: Jesus Aguilar, Orlando Arcia, Ryan Braun, Jimmy Nelson and Domingo Santana. So do relievers Josh Hader and Jorge Lopez, the latter of whom was called up on Thursday from Double-A Biloxi, where he was Dubon's teammate for much of this season.
"He's going to feel like a big leaguer for one day. That's how I felt," Lopez said. "It made me confident and kept me working hard."
Lopez joins Brewers 'pen
It took Lopez nearly two years to make it back to the Majors after a September stint at the end of his sensational 2015 season. At that point, his ceiling seemed sky-high as a starter. Now he's just beginning a move to the bullpen.
He continued his transition into a relief role during the Brewers' 11-3 win over the Reds on Thursday. Lopez allowed one run on four hits over two innings to seal the victory.
It was "awesome" to be back, Lopez said, who was promoted when the Brewers placed Chase Anderson on the 10-day disabled list with a left oblique strain.
"Everything is a process, man," Lopez said. "I take all of the negative things out and keep pressing. The good thing is I have to keep working every day. In this ballgame, we have our ups and downs a lot, so I just try to keep my mind up and keep working for it."
Lopez is the Brewers' No. 13 prospect, but he is no longer the organization's top pitching prospect. This season, back at Biloxi for the third time, Lopez has a 5.04 ERA. After 13 inconsistent starts, the Brewers moved him to the bullpen for his last three outings before getting called up.
"Jorge has all the weapons to become a successful Major League starting pitcher, and we are not closing any doors on that," Brewers farm director Tom Flanagan said. "But by moving Jorge to the 'pen and getting him on the mound more often, we feel it will be a helpful step in his development."
Then came Anderson's sudden injury swinging the bat Wednesday night. Lopez got the call to fortify the Brewers' bullpen in part because he was already on the 40-man roster.
"A lot of it is, one, he's fresh. He's ready to go," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "He can throw multiple innings today if we need him to. A couple other candidates weren't. When you're talking about [covering] today and tomorrow, that matters. Over the longer term, we'll see how it goes."
"If they want me to be a reliever for the long term, I really don't mind," Lopez said. "I would like to be a starter, too, and have that opportunity, too. But it's the team's choice, and I'm going to work for it."
Counsell was not ready Thursday to name a replacement for Anderson in Milwaukee's starting rotation. He suggested the Brewers could opt to fill that spot on a start-to-start basis.
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.