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Crew improvises on hill after Anderson injury

Burnes recalled; Barnes fills in as opener against Rockies
@AdamMcCalvy
May 2, 2019

MILWAUKEE -- And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why they are called pitching probables. The Brewers were in scramble mode as Wednesday’s 11-4 loss to the Rockies began to unfold, all beginning with a callus on scheduled starter Chase Anderson’s right ring finger. When that broke open, it set forth

MILWAUKEE -- And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why they are called pitching probables.

The Brewers were in scramble mode as Wednesday’s 11-4 loss to the Rockies began to unfold, all beginning with a callus on scheduled starter Chase Anderson’s right ring finger. When that broke open, it set forth a series of events that set back a Milwaukee pitching staff that was just showing signs of forward momentum, and awakened a Rockies offense that had been limited to three earned runs in the last 37 innings against the Brewers dating to last year’s postseason.

There’s no time to sulk. The series finale is Thursday at 12:10 p.m. CT, when Freddy Peralta comes off the 10-day injured list to start. At least, that’s the probable plan.

"This is a different night," said Brewers manager Craig Counsell. "We're scrambling tonight, basically. We got some great efforts. Donnie Hart gave us three tremendous innings, but you're asking for a lot of guys to do a nice job.”

The first sign that something was amiss came at about 6:15 p.m. CT, 25 minutes before the scheduled first pitch, when Brewers bullpen coach Steve Karsay appeared in Counsell’s office with word that Anderson was bleeding and would be unable to go. At about 6:25 p.m. CT, Brewers reliever Jacob Barnes ran out to the bullpen to warm up for his first Major League start. He delivered the game’s first pitch at 6:41.

While Barnes was laboring through a long first inning, Corbin Burnes started playing catch in the Brewers’ bullpen. That was unexpected, considering Burnes had been pitching for Triple-A San Antonio since a mid-April demotion, and there was no sign of him ahead of Wednesday’s game. It wasn’t until after Nolan Arenado circled the bases for a three-run home run that Milwaukee announced a roster move: Anderson to the 10-day injured list, Burnes recalled to the big leagues.

The Brewers’ received permission from Major League Baseball to make that last-minute move.

Brewers president of baseball operations David Stearns said it all happened within a span of 10 minutes.

“Basically, at that point, everybody is going to have to pitch,” said Counsell. “Jacob was fresh, and I thought he could give us two good innings.”

Why not just give the ball to Burnes? Because he had just arrived at Miller Park ahead of a planned roster move on Thursday and wasn’t even in uniform yet. So Barnes, who’d made his first 224 appearances between the Minors and Majors as a reliever, was quickly sent out to the field to warm up.

“I threw a couple pitches pretty hard to Robinzon [Diaz], our bullpen catcher, and I look down and I had blood coming down from my finger,” Anderson said. “There’s really no good scenario when that happens.”

The timing was particularly frustrating for Anderson, who began the season in the bullpen but shifted to the rotation after Peralta went down with an injury.

“I felt like I was about to get on a pretty good run,” Anderson said. “Building up endurance, I felt like i was right there, ready to turn a corner.”

Barnes’ unexpected start did not go particularly well. He walked the first two batters, and after the runners advanced on a strike-three wild pitch to Daniel Murphy, Arenado blasted a three-run homer to center field.

While fans pondered what had just happened, Mike Moustakas got two of those runs back with a two-run homer in the bottom of the first inning, and Ben Gamel gave the Brewers a lead with a two-out, two-run single in the fifth.

But the 24-year-old Burnes, whose trouble with the long ball prompted his demotion, couldn't hold it. He kept Colorado in the ballpark but surrendered three runs in a go-ahead sixth inning -- the tying run scoring on a wild pitch, then two more on two-out hits for a 6-4 Rockies lead before they broke the game open against Jay Jackson in a four-run eighth inning.

Burnes’ outing boosted his ERA to 10.98. The Brewers brought him back to serve as a bullpen arm, Counsell said.

“I just happened to be here to come in and drop my stuff off and get a little work in the weight room,” said Burnes. “I was getting ready to get out of here, and then all of a sudden it was, ‘Hey, we need you now.’”

Burnes didn’t use the circumstances as an excuse.

“Being out there in the bullpen, it’s kind of like that anyway. As soon as the phone rings, you have to get up and go,” said Burnes. “Today was a little bit more exaggerated, not knowing until 10 minutes before game time that I was going to be activated, so i had to get ready pretty quick. …

“It was a little bit different, but as we get going here, it will fall more into a routine.”

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram and like him on Facebook.