Reliever Wooten on paternity list, prompts moves
MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers placed reliever Rob Wooten on the paternity list on Wednesday so he could hustle home to North Carolina for the birth of his first child, a daughter who arrived before dad did.
Manager Ron Roenicke reported that Rob's wife, Katie, and the baby were healthy. Because Rob's trip was planned, doctors began the process of inducing labor on Tuesday night, and things moved a bit more quickly than expected.
"He walked into the room and she was holding the baby," Roenicke said.
Right-hander Donovan Hand, was called up from Triple-A Nashville to replace Wooten, and he pitched 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief in the Brewers' 8-6 loss to the Cardinals, then was promptly optioned back to Nashville along with outfielder/first baseman Sean Halton. Wooten and outfielder Caleb Gindl are expected to rejoin the Brewers on Friday in Cincinnati.
Both Wooten and Hand were non-roster invitees to Spring Training who did not make the Brewers' Opening Day roster but have since assumed significant roles -- Wooten as a reliever and Hand as a swingman. In his first 12 Major League appearances, Wooten pitched to a 0.69 ERA, and with Brandon Kintzler in need of a break on Wednesday after pitching three of the last four days, Wooten would have been the designated eighth-inning man had family matters not pulled him away.
"When Frankie [Rodriguez] left, it changed a lot where guys' roles are," Roenicke said. "[Wooten] pitched himself into a role that's pretty important, whether it's getting out of trouble when I think we need to to win the game, or later on in the game."
Hand arrived at Miller Park about two and a half hours before Wednesday's game, in a much better mindset than when he was optioned on Saturday.
"I get it now," Hand said. "I've had a few days to digest it. It's a business. And I'm back already, so whatever."
Hand posted a 3.83 ERA in his first 20 big league appearances, and held his own in seven starts. He had not pitched consistently as a starter since 2009 at Double-A Huntsville.
"I'm not complaining one bit about it, but I never really got settled in a role," Hand said. "To do that many roles and have that many different mindsets in a three-month period, I'm pretty happy with my ERA. It is tough, but if you can do it, you can make a heck of a lot of money doing it, and you can stay in the big leagues for a long time."
Halton delivered an RBI single as part of a 1-for-4 day on Wednesday, and he said he knew the move was coming. Gindl's required 10 days in the Minor Leagues will expire before Friday, and the Brewers need a more versatile outfielder in reserve, because center fielder Carlos Gomez and right fielder Norichika Aoki are dealing with right knee injuries.
"I was lucky enough to sneak in," Halton said of his six-day stint in the Majors. "Even if it's a short stay, it's always good to contribute, and I look forward to doing that again."