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Herrera's versatility coming up big for Brewers

MILWAUKEE -- In the span of only a few days, Elian Herrera has gone from a paternity list fill-in to a vital member of the Brewers' 25-man roster.

Called up on Thursday when Lyle Overbay hustled home to attend the birth of his son, Herrera's stay was extended by outfielder Logan Schafer's stint on the disabled list for a hamstring injury. Now, with potential suspensions looming for center fielder Carlos Gomez and Martin Maldonado, Herrera stands to see time as the Brewers' starting center fielder and emergency catcher.

On Monday, Herrera was a last-minute addition to Milwaukee's starting lineup when left fielder Khris Davis was scratched with the stomach flu.

"Just be ready," Herrera said of his role. "I have to be ready wherever they need me. I have to take fly balls, I have to take ground balls, and I guess I have to catch bullpens, too."

In fact, he caught rehabbing reliever Brandon Kintzler's bullpen session on Monday. The Dodgers signed Herrera as a catcher in 2003, but by 2006 he was already playing second base and other positions. In recent years, Herrera, a switch-hitter, has embraced a utility role because of the opportunities it creates.

He has not caught in a professional game since his days in the Dominican Republic, but came close last year at Triple-A Albuquerque, when the Isotopes' starting catcher suffered an injury. In the end, Herrera wasn't needed.

"He did real good today," manager Ron Roenicke said of Herrera's work with Kintzler. "So, he's our backup. And [backup infielder Jeff] Bianchi has also been catching bullpens. He's been going out and catching in between innings. So we do have options. …

"If suspensions come down, the catching part is going to be big. Center [field] is big, too. We don't have anybody else who can play center. [Ryan Braun] is really our backup center fielder if we don't have Gomez or Herrera here."

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy.
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