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Reliever Veras elects free agency

MILWAUKEE -- Jose Veras and the Brewers have parted ways after the reliever declined an outright assignment to Triple-A Nashville and elected free agency on Thursday. He is free to sign with any team beginning Friday at 10:59 p.m. CT. In addition, outfielder Nyjer Morgan was outrighted to Triple-A Nashville.

The decision ended Veras' yearlong tenure with a team that is in the process of rebuilding its bullpen.

Veras, 32, joins Francisco Rodriguez and Livan Hernandez as members of the bullpen to hit the market. In 2012, Brewers relievers had the National League's worst ERA (4.66) and 29 blown saves, a franchise record.

Veras' season was one of ups and downs. On one hand, he posted a third straight season of at least 45 appearances and a sub-4.00 ERA, a second straight season with at least 70 appearances, and he did not allow a run in any of his 14 games in September. On the other hand, he walked 40 batters in 67 innings -- the third-most walks among Major League relievers.

Manager Ron Roenicke praised Veras' bottom line, but discussed in late September his occasional frustration with Veras and other Brewers relievers.

"How many times have we put him in a game and we have to go get him? How many times do we have to have somebody else warm up?" Roenicke said. "And I'm not saying this just about [Veras]. That's not what I'm saying. He has had good numbers, he is throwing the ball well -- he is. But look at the whole picture of what happens.

"Sometimes the numbers don't tell the whole story."

But Roenicke also praised Veras' raw talent, adding, "He's got a great curveball. He's also got an outstanding fastball, and when he's locating both pitches, he's not going to get hit."

The Brewers acquired Veras last December from the Pirates for infielder Casey McGehee, who, coincidentally, elected for free agency on Wednesday.

With Veras' departure, the Brewers have seven players eligible for arbitration: pitchers John Axford, Marco Estrada, Kameron Loe, Chris Narveson and Manny Parra; first baseman Travis Ishikawa; and outfielder Carlos Gomez.

Milwaukee Brewers, Nyjer Morgan, Jose Veras