MILWAUKEE -- Lorenzo Cain returned from the disabled list, Ryan Braun and Manny Pina hit the DL and the Brewers promoted top pitching prospect Corbin Burnes amid a flurry of roster moves on Sunday.It was a week's worth of transactions packed into one busy morning:• Cain (left groin) activated from
MILWAUKEE -- Lorenzo Cain returned from the disabled list, Ryan Braun and Manny Pina hit the DL and the Brewers promoted top pitching prospect Corbin Burnes amid a flurry of roster moves on Sunday.
It was a week's worth of transactions packed into one busy morning:
• Cain (left groin) activated from the 10-day DL
• Braun placed on the 10-day DL with a back strain
• Pina placed on the 10-day DL with a left biceps strain
• Burnes selected from Triple-A Colorado Springs
• Catcher Jacob Nottingham recalled from Triple-A
• Infielder Nate Orf recalled from Triple-A
• Pitcher Aaron Wilkerson optioned to Triple-A
• Pitcher Mike Zagurski designated for assignment
"I don't know that I've been in a situation where you make [this many] moves in a day and feel completely comfortable with what's coming back to replace it," Brewers general manager David Stearns said. "Getting 'LoCain' back is a huge boost for this club."
Cain had been on the DL with a left groin strain but passed a final test on Saturday, just before Braun was scratched with tightness in his back and right side.
"Today was just the combination of a lot of circumstances. It all just came to one day," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said.
Wilkerson was sent back down to Triple-A after an effective start on Saturday against the Braves, and Zagurski was designated for assignment to make room for Burnes, the 23-year-old ranked second on MLB Pipeline's top Brewers prospects behind second baseman Keston Hiura, and No. 56 in the Top 100.
Zagurski, a 35-year-old journeyman left-hander, was ineffective in two Brewers appearances, including Saturday when he yielded back-to-back RBI triples to left-handed hitters Freddie Freeman and Nick Markakis in a three-run eighth inning that sealed Milwaukee's 5-1 loss.
When a player's contract is designated for assignment -- often abbreviated "DFA" -- that player is immediately removed from his club's 40-man roster, and 25-man roster if he was on that as well. Within seven days of the transaction (it was previously 10 days), the player must either be traded, released or placed on irrevocable outright waivers. Zagurski was effective in Triple-A, and the Brewers hope to keep him in the organization, Counsell said.
Timing played role in Braun, Pina moves
The pending All-Star break, which is one week away, played a role in the Brewers' decisions to place Braun and Pina on the 10-day DL with injuries that might have been treated as day-to-day matters in a different segment of the schedule.
Braun said the issue was related to a bout of back tightness last week while the Brewers were in Cincinnati.
"Counsell talked to me after the game yesterday, and where we're at as a team and the timing of it, the fact that I've been dealing with this for a while now, we just felt like it was the right thing to do," Braun said. "I irritated it a little bit again the other day to the point where it's painful to swing.
"I've played through these intercostal-type things plenty of times, but once it gets to that point, you have to shut it down. Sometimes it's two days, sometimes it's 10 days. You just don't know."
Pina said he felt biceps pain on a swing in his second at-bat against the Braves on Friday. He managed to stay in the game before undergoing an MRI on Saturday morning that confirmed a muscle strain.
"There was some debate whether we needed [the DL], but it's close enough with the All-Star break that we can just get him good for the second half, and he'll be active after the break," Counsell said. "It's not a bad injury, but it's enough that DL time is required, especially with a catcher."
Erik Kratz and Nottingham are expected to share starts over the next week. Nottingham, MLB Pipeline's No. 25 Brewers prospect, made his Major League debut in April and played in three games, including two starts.
Burnes set for MLB debut
The Brewers see Burnes as a starter long term, but they recently shifted him to relief at Triple-A to give him experience in that role in the event of a callup. He will be used out of the bullpen.
Like left-hander Josh Hader last year and right-hander Brandon Woodruff this year, it can take some time for prospects accustomed to the routine of starting games to adjust to the bullpen. Of his six relief appearances for the SkySox, Burnes allowed seven total runs on nine hits in 3 1/3 innings in two of them, and pitched scoreless ball in the other four. His three most recent outings were scoreless.
"We had shortened his length in between appearances and amended his prep time," Counsell said. "When you call down there, how fast can you get ready? And that's a big issue, when you're starting and you have this use at the time, or the phone rings and it's two hitters later. That's the biggest adjustment those guys make. We feel like we got through that and he handled it very well."
• Left-hander Wade Miley will rejoin the Brewers on Monday in Miami and is an option to fill the next opening in the starting rotation on Thursday in Pittsburgh. Miley, on the 60-day DL with a right oblique strain, pitched four scoreless innings on 57 pitches in his latest rehab start for Double-A Biloxi on Saturday and is eligible to come off the DL beginning Monday.
• Woodruff's most recent start for the SkySox was cut short after four innings on Monday, and he did not pitch again before the Triple-A schedule reached its All-Star break on Sunday night. That was by design, according to Stearns.
"There's nothing up with him. He's fine," Stearns said. "We got the Triple-A All-Star break coming up, managing innings. We've got a lot of [Major League] innings coming this week, and we're likely going to need a couple of pitchers to cover those innings. We want to make sure we're giving ourselves flexibility."
Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook.