Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
The Official Site of the Pittsburgh Pirates

news

On The Move presented by Penske

Busenitz recalled, adds depth to bullpen

MLB.com

MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota recalled right-handed reliever Alan Busenitz from Triple-A Rochester before Sunday's game against Texas in order to add depth to a depleted bullpen. The move was in correspondence to Saturday's announcement that rookie starter Fernando Romero had been optioned to Rochester.

Busenitz, who pitched in four games for the Twins in April, appeared in 17 games for the Red Wings recently, going 2-1 with a 1.27 ERA (28 1/3 IP, 4 ER), five walks, 32 strikeouts and two saves. The 27-year-old Busenitz appeared in 28 games and posted a 1.99 ERA for the Twins in 2017.

View Full Game Coverage

MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota recalled right-handed reliever Alan Busenitz from Triple-A Rochester before Sunday's game against Texas in order to add depth to a depleted bullpen. The move was in correspondence to Saturday's announcement that rookie starter Fernando Romero had been optioned to Rochester.

Busenitz, who pitched in four games for the Twins in April, appeared in 17 games for the Red Wings recently, going 2-1 with a 1.27 ERA (28 1/3 IP, 4 ER), five walks, 32 strikeouts and two saves. The 27-year-old Busenitz appeared in 28 games and posted a 1.99 ERA for the Twins in 2017.

View Full Game Coverage

A newly-discovered feel for his curveball has helped Busenitz become one of Minnesota's more consistent Minor League pitchers.

"I don't want to say we made a mechanical adjustment, but we just changed a mental thought, which is helping stuff stay in the zone longer, more strikes," Busenitz said of adjustments he made during his tme in the Minors. "That was the issue when I was here: I couldn't throw a curveball for a strike. … [now] it seems [I can]. Hopefully I keep doing it."

With Romero in Triple-A, the Twins currently only have four starting pitchers on their roster. Manager Paul Molitor hinted before Sunday's game that the club may not need to add another starter until Saturday's road matchup with the Cubs, due to the way their schedule lines up.

Molitor also indicated that Saturday's likely starter is not currently on Minnesota's 25-man roster.

"[Busenitz] has been as good as anybody down there, hence he got an opportunity," Molitor said. "We all like having him around. I like having another power arm down there with a breaking ball, which plays up here. That's probably been the biggest improvement in his recent run down there, the quality of his secondary pitch, as far as being able to land it for a strike early, or being able to get back in the count, which makes his fastball all the more effective."

Jarrid Denney is a reporter for MLB.com based in Minneapolis.

Minnesota Twins, Alan Busenitz

Shipley recalled, Barrett optioned to Triple-A

MLB.com

PITTSBURGH -- The D-backs' reliever shuffle continued Sunday as they recalled right-hander Braden Shipley from Triple-A Reno and optioned reliever Jake Barrett back to Reno.

Barrett had been called up Thursday to provide an extra arm in the bullpen after the team optioned starter Matt Koch to Reno.

View Full Game Coverage

PITTSBURGH -- The D-backs' reliever shuffle continued Sunday as they recalled right-hander Braden Shipley from Triple-A Reno and optioned reliever Jake Barrett back to Reno.

Barrett had been called up Thursday to provide an extra arm in the bullpen after the team optioned starter Matt Koch to Reno.

View Full Game Coverage

Barrett pitched one-third of an inning Thursday and an inning Saturday. With rain in the forecast for Sunday, the D-backs wanted to have a fresh arm in the bullpen in case there's a lengthy rain delay early that would force starter Clay Buchholz to not be able to continue.

Shipley, the team's first-round pick in the 2013 Draft, has been a starter throughout his professional career, until last month when the team shifted him to the Reno bullpen because it felt it gave him a better chance of contributing more this season.

The D-backs will need to make another roster move with the pitching staff Monday, when Shelby Miller is scheduled to be activated from the 60-day disabled list to start against the Marlins.

Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.

Arizona Diamondbacks

MLB Buzz: Friars interested in Phils' Franco

MLB.com

As the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline approaches, we'll keep you up to date with the latest news, buzz, rumors and more.

Padres interested in Franco
June 24: The Padres are interested in acquiring Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco, according to MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal, but a deal could be tough to swing. In order to part with its once-promising prospect, Philadelphia would need to acquire a third baseman externally. Doing so wouldn't necessarily be out of the realm, as the club has been linked to Adrian Beltre, Josh Donaldson and Manny Machado.

As the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline approaches, we'll keep you up to date with the latest news, buzz, rumors and more.

Padres interested in Franco
June 24: The Padres are interested in acquiring Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco, according to MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal, but a deal could be tough to swing. In order to part with its once-promising prospect, Philadelphia would need to acquire a third baseman externally. Doing so wouldn't necessarily be out of the realm, as the club has been linked to Adrian Beltre, Josh Donaldson and Manny Machado.

With the Phils nearing the All-Star break firmly in the postseason hunt, they could be prompted to make an aggressive move ahead of the Deadline. San Diego boasts a bevy of bullpen arms that have been the club's bright spots -- particularly left-hander Brad Hand, who drew significant interest ahead of last year's Deadline. The Padres are believed to want a significant return in exchange for Hand, perhaps for more everyday talent than just Franco.

The Padres have gotten up-and-down production from Christian Villanueva, who hit .321/.411/.692 in March and April, when he was named the National League Rookie of the Month, though the 27-year-old owns a .176/.229/.382 line in the two months since.

Rangers make Beltre, two relievers available
June 23: The Rangers are shopping Beltre, as well as relievers Jake Diekman and Keone Kela, according to the Dallas Morning News.

Beltre, who collected his 3,000th career hit last season and is 34 home runs shy of 500, is hitting .314/.365/.456 with four home runs in 47 games this season. He's missed time due to hamstring injuries, and injuries limited him to 94 games in 2017.

The 39-year-old is a free agent after this season and can veto any proposed trade given his service-time rights, so he could steer his way to a team with a chance to contend for the postseason. The potential third-base market leans heavily to the supply side, with Machado, Donaldson and the Royals' Mike Moustakas potentially on the move prior to the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.

Morosi: Hot market for hot corner

Diekman, also a free agent at season's end, has a 2.96 ERA over 33 appearances (27 1/3 innings) this season. Kela, the Rangers' closer, has a 3.67 ERA and 18 saves in 29 appearances.

Reds drawing interest in Duvall
June 23: Outfielder Adam Duvall is drawing a "surprising" amount of trade interest according to Rosenthal in a video for FOX Sports. Duvall is hitting .203/.285/.409 with 12 home runs for Cincinnati this season, but has been pretty unlucky according to Statcast™: Entering Saturday, his expected batting average based on launch angle and exit velocity of batted balls was .249.

Over the past two seasons, Duvall slashed .245/.299/.489 with 64 homers in 307 games. He also finished as a Gold Glove Award finalist in both seasons and was selected as an All-Star in 2016. The 29-year-old is under team control over the next three seasons.

O's star Jones 'holds all the cards'
June 23: Five-time All-Star Adam Jones has been stellar for the Orioles, batting .291 with a 109 OPS+ through Friday's action. But Jones told Baltimore Sun reporter Jon Meoli on Friday that the Orioles had not approached him in any capacity about a potential trade, even as the team likely pivots to a rebuilding phase in these weeks leading up to the Trade Deadline.

"I can't let it bother me," Jones told the Sun. "I'm in a different part of my life to where I'm not anticipating a $150 million, $200 million, $300 million offer this offseason. I'm more just, 'Let me go be a pro, do what I do best,' and that's play the game hard and live with the result."

Jones can veto any trade opportunity by virtue of his 13 years of Major League service time and 11 consecutive seasons in Baltimore. Telling the Sun that he "holds all the cards" in a trade scenario, Jones was realistic about his role in the marketplace as he plays through his age-32 season.

"What I'm trying to do is maintain my value and continue the path that I've been on of consistency and performing year-in and year-out," Jones said. "I'm just basically doing me, and not worrying about everybody else."

Jones represents a potentially valuable veteran presence should teams need an outfielder near the Deadline. He is one of a handful of Orioles players including Machado, Zach Britton, Brad Brach and others that make Baltimore arguably the most intriguing potential seller this summer. Jones has hit at least 25 home runs in each of his past seven big league seasons, and he has recorded an OPS below league average just once since 2009.

Nats say asking price on Realmuto too high
June 22: The Nationals could be among the most aggressive teams in making significant roster upgrades these next few weeks, but the cost for Marlins backstop J.T. Realmuto remains prohibitive, at least in the eyes of Nats general manager Mike Rizzo.

Here's what Rizzo said in a candid interview on Friday with MLB Network Radio about potentially acquiring Miami's backstop:

"[The Marlins] are not going to sell him cheap. We know what the return has to be on Realmuto, and we're not willing to meet that price. So unless something changes there, on their end, we're going to go with [Matt] Wieters when he gets healthy and a combination of [Pedro] Severino and [Spencer] Kieboom to back him up."

Feinsand: 10 players whose trade stock is on the rise

The Nats were very publicly linked to Realmuto throughout the winter, but -- as appears to still be the case -- the asking price was too high. Many reports over the offseason alluded that Miami, in the midst of a major overhaul, was asking for at least one of its top two prospects, Victor Robles or Juan Soto, both of whom have excelled in brief MLB stints.

Realmuto, 27, remains under club control through 2020, which assuredly would be one of the many enticing returns for Washington, which has many significant contributors hitting free agency this winter. Realmuto is batting .297/.355/.524 with nine home runs and 27 RBIs in 54 games this season for a Marlins club that entered Friday with a 29-46 record.

Video: Mike Lowell breaks down J.T. Realmuto, his value

Astros remain interested in acquiring Britton
June 22: After nearly trading for O's closer Britton last season, the Astros remain interested in the left-hander, according to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman in an article for FanRag Sports.

Houston and Baltimore agreed on a deal sending Britton to the Astros for multiple players before the non-waiver Trade Deadline in 2017, but it was reportedly vetoed by Orioles owner Peter Angelos after physicals were exchanged.

• Non-waiver Trade Deadline explained

Britton has allowed only one hit over 4 1/3 scoreless innings since he returned from right Achilles tendon surgery, and he's walked just one batter after issuing three free passes in his season debut.

The bullpen arguably remains the Astros' biggest weakness, and yet, the club's relief corps has performed incredibly well lately, posting the third-best ERA (2.03) in the Majors during June.

Hector Rondon has emerged as the Astros' primary closer this month, notching four saves in four chances, and Chris Devenski (1.57 ERA), Collin McHugh (1.13 ERA) and Brad Peacock (2.30 ERA) have also excelled this season. Even Ken Giles, who posted a 7.88 ERA in May and allowed three runs in his first two June appearances, has found a groove, tossing four straight scoreless outings.

Morning Lineup Podcast talks third-base trade market

Rangers willing to pay part of Choo's contract in trade
June 22: The Rangers have made Shin-Soo Choo available and are willing to pay part of the veteran's salary to get a deal done, according to Heyman in an article for FanRag Sports.

The 35-year-old is owed $42 million over the 2019-20 seasons as part of the seven-year, $130 million contract he signed with Texas in December 2013.

Choo has reached base in 34 straight games and owns a stellar 134 wRC+ this season. However, his defensive capabilities in the outfield are limited at this point, and he's spent much of the year as the Rangers' designated hitter. That, along with his contract, could reduce that number of teams interested in acquiring him.

"No chance" Pirates trade Taillon
June 22: Even if the Pirates decide to sell, Jameson Taillon is not expected to be one of the players available, according to Heyman in an article for FanRag Sports.

A source told Heyman there is "no chance" Pittsburgh moves its 26-year-old right-hander, who has posted a 4.03 ERA with a 1.22 WHIP this season.

Taillon won't be arbitration eligible for the first time until the 2019-2020 offseason and has four seasons remaining after this one before he reaches free agency.

Pirates players who are more likely to be dealt include Jordy Mercer, Josh Harrison, Corey Dickerson and Ivan Nova.

Mets more likely to trade Wheeler than deGrom, Syndergaard?
June 21: The Mets have been calling around to gauge other teams' trade interest in their players, according to Heyman in an article for FanRag Sports.

Video: Morning Lineup: Teams that could trade for deGrom

While rivals are dubious the Mets will trade either Jacob deGrom or Noah Syndergaard, the club is finding interest in Zack Wheeler, per Heyman. Meanwhile, there hasn't been much chatter yet regarding Steven Matz.

Rosenthal reported Monday that the Mets are "open for business" as it relates to prospective trade offers ahead of the non-waiver Trade Deadline.

However, it will likely take a major haul to acquire either deGrom or Syndergaard. A Mets source told Heyman the club would need to get Gleyber Torres back to trade deGrom to the Yankees, which provides a sense of the asking price the club has placed on the ace. Of course, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has already nixed the idea of trading Torres, joking that he still has to "walk around this city."

Wheeler will surely cost teams less than it would take to acquire deGrom or Syndergaard. The righty owns a 4.82 ERA this season and has an extensive injury history, but his FIP is a promising 3.80. He was also hitting 99 mph with his four-seam fastball in his most recent start on June 17 against the D-backs.

Could Phils jump into Machado sweepstakes early?
June 21: The Phillies, who have been thought to be planning a pursuit of Machado when he hits the free-agent market this offseason, are having problems on the left side of their infield: Not only have they been getting little production there, rookie shortstop/third baseman J.P. Crawford recently broke his left hand when he was hit by a pitch.

Duquette: 7 potential trade destinations for Machado

According to Heyman in an article for FanRag Sports, Philadelphia -- with several front-office executives having been with Baltimore when Machado was drafted -- would love to add the superstar third baseman, but the question remains whether the Phillies will be a contender as the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline nears.

Royals shift focus to trading Moustakas after Herrera deal
June 21: After a trade that sent closer Kelvin Herrera to the Nationals, the Royals are now shifting their focus to moving Moustakas, according to Heyman in an article for FanRag Sports.

Moustakas is on a one-year deal with Kansas City that includes a mutual option for 2019. He's having a solid season, slashing .263/.319/.480 with 14 home runs after belting a career-high 38 in 2017, though he has been slumping of late. Moustakas has played his entire eight-year career with the Royals.

Video: MLB Tonight on Herrera being traded to the Nats

Padres a potential trade suitor for Machado?
June 21: The list of potential trade destinations for Machado could surprisingly include San Diego, according to Heyman in an article for FanRag Sports.

The Padres have certainly shown a willingness to make bold moves during general manager A.J. Preller's tenure, trading for Justin Upton, Matt Kemp and Craig Kimbrel prior to the 2015 season and signing Eric Hosmer to a club-record $144 million, eight-year contract in February 2018. And with the No. 1 farm system in baseball, per MLB Pipeline's preseason rankings, the Padres certainly have a prospect group that will entice the Orioles.

Video: Morosi discusses Machado trade possibilities and more

A trade between the Padres and Orioles remains unlikely, however, as San Diego is in last place in the National League West and would have little chance of re-signing Machado after this season, given their sizable commitment to Hosmer and Machado's preference to remain at shortstop long term. San Diego's top prospect is shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr.

Per Heyman, a Padres source downplayed the possibility of a Machado deal and said the club is simply doing its "due diligence."

Red Sox looking to upgrade bullpen; Hand an option?
June 20: The Red Sox are interested in bolstering their relief corps, according to MLB Network insider Jon Paul Morosi, and Padres closer Hand may be a target for the club.

However, San Diego's asking price for Hand could be prohibitive. Per Morosi, the Padres are expected to seek a young everyday player, such as Rafael Devers, in exchange for the left-hander.

Hand, who has a National League-leading 21 saves with a 2.43 ERA and a 0.97 WHIP this season, is signed through 2020 with a team option for 2021, so the Padres are in no rush to deal him.

Boston has the sixth-best bullpen ERA (3.17) in the Majors, but the club's 'pen lacks depth with Carson Smith out for the season following shoulder surgery and Steven Wright currently starting in place of the injured Drew Pomeranz (left biceps tendinitis).

Video: DeRo discusses his Top 5 trade candidates

O's, D-backs have talked Machado trade
June 19: The Orioles and D-backs have engaged in discussions regarding a potential trade for Machado, according to Morosi, and dialogue remains open between the two clubs.

Morosi described the trade talks as "due diligence on Arizona's part as the team's needs become clear." The two clubs also reportedly discussed a Machado trade this past offseason. Arizona currently holds the top spot in the National League West, but the second-place Dodgers narrowed the gap when they defeated the Cubs in Game 1 of a doubleheader Tuesday afternoon.

It's unclear whether the D-backs are interested in acquiring Machado to play shortstop or third base.

The 25-year-old would be an offensive upgrade over starting third baseman Jake Lamb and shortstop Nick Ahmed, as he's hitting .310 with 18 homers, 53 RBIs and a .945 OPS over 69 games for the Orioles in 2018 and owns a lifetime 118 wRC+.

But Machado has struggled defensively in his first season as the O's primary shortstop, recording -15 defensive runs saved (DRS). Ahmed, meanwhile, has notched six DRS. Machado has proven to be a stellar defender at the hot corner in the past, posting 81 DRS as a third baseman during his career and winning two AL Gold Glove Awards at the position.

Video: MLB Tonight on the D-backs' interest in Machado

Yanks, M's looking to acquire Happ
June 18: As the Yankees and Mariners have emerged as true contenders in the American League pennant race, so, too, have their roster voids -- specifically within their starting rotations. Both clubs are believed to be in the market for an available arm over the next six weeks, and Morosi reported on Monday that each is interested in Blue Jays left-hander J.A. Happ.

In the midst of an All-Star-caliber season, Happ has a 3.48 ERA over 82 2/3 innings in 14 starts. He is in the final year of a three-year, $36 million contract, and due to his lingering free agency, he might not be as costly a return in what is shaping up to be a thin trade market for starters.

Both Seattle and New York have gotten above-average production from their starting staffs, though each has shown signs of vulnerability.

Video: Morosi on potential trade fits for J.A. Happ

Beyond AL Cy Young Award candidate Luis Severino, the Yankees have gotten inconsistent results from Sonny Gray and Masahiro Tanaka, Jordan Montgomery was lost for the season because of Tommy John surgery and Domingo German hasn't yet exhibited enough to warrant the fifth spot for good. CC Sabathia has been reliable, when healthy. To complement their elite offense and lights-out bullpen, the Yankees have long been speculated to retool their rotation ahead of the Deadline.

Morosi noted that the Yankees might have more incentive to go after a lefty given that the division-rival Red Sox have an MLB-best .813 OPS against righties but only a .672 mark against southpaws. In addition to their 13 regular-season meetings remaining, there's a strong chance the Yankees could go through Boston in the postseason.

The Mariners' rotation has also proven to be top heavy, with arguably the AL's best starter in James Paxton. However, No. 2 starter Felix Hernandez has struggled to a career-worst 5.44 ERA, and he has given up five or more earned runs in five of his 15 starts. No. 5 starter Wade LeBlanc has been a pleasant surprise, but at 33 years old, there have been questions about his sustainability.

In a loaded AL East, Toronto entered 2018 with its most realistic avenue to the postseason via an AL Wild Card berth, but it entered Monday 12 1/2 games back of the second AL's spot. The Jays are 32-38 despite winning seven of their last 10, including sweeps of the Nationals and Orioles.

Angels claim righty reliever Robles from Mets

MLB.com

ANAHEIM -- The Angels bolstered their bullpen depth Saturday, claiming right-hander Hansel Robles from the Mets. Robles was optioned to Triple-A Salt Lake, but the Angels vacated a spot on their 40-man roster for him by transferring catcher Rene Rivera to the 60-day disabled list.

Robles, 27, logged a 5.03 ERA over 19 2/3 innings for the Mets this season before being designated for assignment on Friday. Robles, who possesses a mid-90s fastball, struck out 229 batters over 208 career innings (9.9 K/9) with the Mets, but he also surrendered 32 home runs over that span.

View Full Game Coverage

ANAHEIM -- The Angels bolstered their bullpen depth Saturday, claiming right-hander Hansel Robles from the Mets. Robles was optioned to Triple-A Salt Lake, but the Angels vacated a spot on their 40-man roster for him by transferring catcher Rene Rivera to the 60-day disabled list.

Robles, 27, logged a 5.03 ERA over 19 2/3 innings for the Mets this season before being designated for assignment on Friday. Robles, who possesses a mid-90s fastball, struck out 229 batters over 208 career innings (9.9 K/9) with the Mets, but he also surrendered 32 home runs over that span.

View Full Game Coverage

"Right now, he's in Triple-A," manager Mike Scioscia said. "We'll see what the next couple of days bring."

The Angels have been searching for arms to fill the gaps in the back end of their bullpen left by the injuries to Keynan Middleton, Blake Wood and Jim Johnson. They claimed right-hander Oliver Drake from the Indians last month, but he was designated for assignment after four shaky appearances.

On Friday, the Angels also recalled right-hander Deck McGuire, who was acquired from the Rangers in exchange for cash considerations on Tuesday. McGuire has yet to debut for the Angels, but he's already been designated for assignment twice this year.

Skaggs on track to return Monday

Left-hander Tyler Skaggs said he felt "really good" after completing a bullpen session Saturday. Skaggs, who was scratched from his scheduled start against the Blue Jays on Thursday with right hamstring tightness, is likely to fold back into the rotation on Monday, when the Angels face the Royals at Kauffman Stadium to make up for the April 15 game that was postponed due to inclement weather.

Right-hander Felix Pena will pitch Sunday against the Blue Jays in his second career MLB start.

Youth movement

With Ian Kinsler, Albert Pujols and Martin Maldonado receiving routine days off on Saturday, the Angels started five rookies against Toronto on Saturday: David Fletcher, Jose Briceno, Jose Fernandez, Michael Hermosillo and Jaime Barria.

Fletcher, who is 5-for-13 (.385) over his first six MLB games, batted leadoff and started at second base in place of Kinsler.

Video: TOR@LAA: Fletcher leads off the 1st with a single

"He's a grinder," Scioscia said. "I think that he fits right in with the guys on our club. Nobody on our team gives an inch in the batter's box. Defensively, his head is in the game. He runs the bases well. He's athletic, so hopefully he'll get a chance to get on base for some of our guys in the middle of the lineup tonight."

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Los Angeles Angels, Hansel Robles

Robles claimed off waivers by Angels

Reliever was DFA'd by Mets Friday; New York announces more Draft signings
MLB.com

NEW YORK -- As Mets officials suspected, reliever Hansel Robles did not last long on the waiver wire.

The Angels announced Saturday that they claimed Robles off waivers, a day after the Mets designated him for assignment. Los Angeles subsequently optioned Robles to Triple-A Salt Lake.

View Full Game Coverage

NEW YORK -- As Mets officials suspected, reliever Hansel Robles did not last long on the waiver wire.

The Angels announced Saturday that they claimed Robles off waivers, a day after the Mets designated him for assignment. Los Angeles subsequently optioned Robles to Triple-A Salt Lake.

View Full Game Coverage

Posting a 5.03 ERA this season, Robles became a victim of the Mets' roster crunch when they needed to clear two 40-man spots for call-ups Kevin Kaczmarski and Drew Smith. Although Robles still possesses a dynamic right arm capable of throwing in the mid-90s, he served up 32 home runs in 208 career innings with the Mets.

New York had other options to clear roster space, but chose to part ways with Robles even knowing there was a high likelihood he would be claimed.

"You kept on seeing the same thing," manager Mickey Callaway said. "The adjustments that he probably needed to make to be that consistent guy that was going to be able to get consistent outs was looking more and more difficult. It looked like it wasn't going to happen for us. He went out there, he attacked, probably did the best he could and the results just weren't coming."

Draft signings
The Mets announced another wave of Draft signings, inking fourth-round pick Adam Hill, fifth-rounder Ryley Gilliam and 14th-rounder Andrew Mitchell to their first professional contracts. The Mets have now signed 23 of their 40 selections, including 14 of their top 17 picks.

First-rounder Jarred Kelenic is scheduled to take batting practice at Citi Field on Wednesday. He made his professional debut Saturday for the Rookie-level Gulf Coast Mets, going 3-for-4 with a triple, an RBI and two runs scored.

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo, Instagram and Facebook.

New York Mets, Hansel Robles

Orioles activate Hart for bullpen help vs. Braves

Wilkerson optioned to Triple-A Norfolk
MLB.com

ATLANTA -- After a 15-inning, five-plus-hour game on Friday night that called for 13 different relievers spanning between the Orioles and Braves, both clubs needed an extra arm out of the bullpen to help finish out the weekend.

O's manager Buck Showalter announced before Saturday's game that left-handed reliever Donnie Hart was recalled from Triple-A Norfolk for the weekend's second of three games against the Braves at SunTrust Park, while utility man Steve Wilkerson was optioned to Norfolk.

View Full Game Coverage

ATLANTA -- After a 15-inning, five-plus-hour game on Friday night that called for 13 different relievers spanning between the Orioles and Braves, both clubs needed an extra arm out of the bullpen to help finish out the weekend.

O's manager Buck Showalter announced before Saturday's game that left-handed reliever Donnie Hart was recalled from Triple-A Norfolk for the weekend's second of three games against the Braves at SunTrust Park, while utility man Steve Wilkerson was optioned to Norfolk.

View Full Game Coverage

"We would have liked to have kept (Wilkerson)," Showalter said. "He has presented himself well, but we just need a pitcher today, and Donnie was our best option."

The news comes after Wilkerson recorded his first Major League hit in Friday night's 10-7 win over the Braves -- an RBI single during the Orioles' six-run ninth inning. The O's selected Wilkerson's contract from Norfolk on Tuesday.

Video: BAL@ATL: Wilkerson drills RBI single for 1st MLB hit

Wilkerson notched his first big league hit in front of a crowd of friends and family on Friday night. A Georgia native, Wilkerson went to Pope High School in Marietta, Ga., less than 10 miles from SunTrust Park.

"Coming back here last night and getting the hit in front of friends and family was really special," Wilkerson said. "I think I did my job as well as I could. The game [on Friday night] brought me a lot of opportunities to be in it."

And while Wilkerson had the opportunity to play in Friday night's game, so did a handful of Orioles relievers, causing the need for more relief out of the bullpen for the remainder of the weekend.

Hart has made six appearances out of the bullpen for Baltimore throughout 2018. He holds a 1.35 ERA through 6 2/3 innings in the Majors this year. The Orioles are 1-5 when Hart has made an appearance in relief.

The left-handed reliever has allowed just one home run through 31 1/3 innings at all levels in 2018, while striking out 31 in 26 game appearances.

But despite the need for a pitcher on Saturday, Showalter said the decision to send Wilkerson down did not stem from his play -- he was 1-for-5 through three game appearances -- but from the circumstance the club is in this weekend in Atlanta. He assured that this was not the last Major League appearance for Wilkerson.

"He'll be back," Showalter said.

Tori McElhaney is a reporter for MLB.com based in Atlanta.

Baltimore Orioles, Donnie Hart

Martini recalled, notches first Majors hit, RBI

Bassitt, Coulombe optioned to Minors; Buchter to be activated on Monday
Special to MLB.com

CHICAGO -- The A's recalled outfielder Nick Martini from Triple-A Nashville before Saturday's game against the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field, optioning right-hander Chris Bassitt back to Nashville.

Left-hander Danny Coulombe, who served as the 26th man for the second game of Friday's doubleheader, was also optioned to Nashville.

View Full Game Coverage

CHICAGO -- The A's recalled outfielder Nick Martini from Triple-A Nashville before Saturday's game against the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field, optioning right-hander Chris Bassitt back to Nashville.

Left-hander Danny Coulombe, who served as the 26th man for the second game of Friday's doubleheader, was also optioned to Nashville.

View Full Game Coverage

Bassitt started the nightcap on Friday, allowing five runs (four earned) on six hits in 5 1/3 innings. He is 0-3 this season, and he has lost nine straight decisions, dating back to 2015.

Video: OAK@CWS: Bassitt strikes out Sanchez looking

Martini, 27, was hitting .305 (68-for-223) with 38 runs, five home runs and 33 RBIs in 62 games with Nashville. He was 0-for-9 with the A's during a three-game stint earlier this month, but he recorded his first Major League hit on Saturday, a pinch-hit, go-ahead single in the eighth inning to put Oakland ahead by a run. The score held, and the A's went on to win, 7-6.

Martini had family and friends in attendance for the big moment. The only downer was that his father was away on a business trip and couldn't attend.

"Which stinks, but he's definitely someone that's gotten me to this point," Martini said. "I wish I could share it with him here, but I'm glad to get it here."

It was quite a whirlwind for Martini, who didn't learn he was being called up until late Friday night.

Video: KC@OAK: Martini makes a diving catch in left field

"I grew up a Cubs fan, but I came to a lot of games here," Martini said. "I found out late last night, and when I found out they were here, I was super excited."

Before the game, Martini said he believes he's better prepared for this opportunity.

"It definitely eases the nerves, especially since I've been here for a few at-bats, and I know most of the guys here," Martini said.

Despite Saturday's success, Martini's time in the Majors may be brief. The A's are going with a 12-man pitching staff, and Melvin said lefty reliever Ryan Buchter -- who completed a rehab stint with Nashville on Friday -- will be activated on Monday for the opener of a four-game series at Detroit.

Video: OAK@TEX: Buchter strikes out Choo, but leaves game

"It'll be big," Melvin said of having Buchter back. "We've been missing that piece, that late-inning lefty that also gets righties out. That's one of the reasons we got him here, not necessarily just situationally to use him against lefties. It just makes us a better team."

For his part, Martini said he's not focused on how long he's in the Majors.

"My mindset is to just put together good at-bats, play good defense and hopefully it gets noticed," Martini said.

John Jackson is a contributor to MLB.com based in Chicago.

Oakland Athletics, Chris Bassitt, Ryan Buchter, Nick Martini

Red Sox recall infielder Lin, option lefty Scott

MLB.com

BOSTON -- Prior to Saturday night's game against the Mariners, the Red Sox recalled infielder Tzu-Wei Lin from Triple-A Pawtucket. To make room for Lin on the 25-man roster, the club optioned left-handed pitcher Robby Scott to Pawtucket.

Lin, 24, is making his second appearance with the Major League club this season, having gone 6-for-32 (.188) with two doubles in 14 games for Boston from April 10-May 3. He was batting .188 for the PawSox through May 22, but he has since raised his batting average to .299 by going 40-for-116 (.345) with 10 doubles and three home runs in his last 28 games, hitting safely in 25 of those, including in 16 consecutive games from May 27-June 14.

View Full Game Coverage

BOSTON -- Prior to Saturday night's game against the Mariners, the Red Sox recalled infielder Tzu-Wei Lin from Triple-A Pawtucket. To make room for Lin on the 25-man roster, the club optioned left-handed pitcher Robby Scott to Pawtucket.

Lin, 24, is making his second appearance with the Major League club this season, having gone 6-for-32 (.188) with two doubles in 14 games for Boston from April 10-May 3. He was batting .188 for the PawSox through May 22, but he has since raised his batting average to .299 by going 40-for-116 (.345) with 10 doubles and three home runs in his last 28 games, hitting safely in 25 of those, including in 16 consecutive games from May 27-June 14.

View Full Game Coverage

Lin has spent his entire professional career in the Boston system since signing as an international free agent in June 2012. In 39 Major League games since his 2017 debut, the infielder has hit .239 (21-for-88) while making 13 starts at shortstop, six at third base and five at second base.

Video: BOS@CLE: Scott strikes out Zimmer to preserve the tie

Scott, 28, was recalled by the Red Sox on June 19 and made his lone Major League appearance of the season that night at Minnesota, allowing two runs in one-third of an inning. He has made 24 relief appearances for the PawSox this season, posting a 1.48 ERA (4 ER/24 1/3 IP) with 36 strikeouts, a 1.03 WHIP, and a .187 opponents' batting average.

Twenty of his 24 appearances have been scoreless, including 13 of his last 14. Since May 5, Scott has posted a 0.61 ERA (1 ER/14 2/3 IP) while holding opponents to a .137 batting average (7-for-51) and zero home runs. Signed by the Red Sox as a non-drafted free agent in 2011, he is 3-2 with a 3.64 ERA (17 ER/42 IP) in 65 career Major League relief appearances (2016-18), having made his first career Opening Day roster with Boston in 2017.

Boston Red Sox

Brewers send Santana to Triple-A, recall Miller

MLB.com

MILWAUKEE -- With a crowded outfield since the return of Eric Thames from left thumb surgery earlier this month, the Brewers optioned right fielder Domingo Santana to Triple-A Colorado Springs and added some infield depth on Saturday morning.

After hitting 30 home runs in 2017 and starting on Opening Day in right field for Milwaukee, Santana has struggled to find any pop. The 25-year-old has three homers in '18 and has not started since June 12 against the Cubs, only filling in as a pinch-hitter since.

View Full Game Coverage

MILWAUKEE -- With a crowded outfield since the return of Eric Thames from left thumb surgery earlier this month, the Brewers optioned right fielder Domingo Santana to Triple-A Colorado Springs and added some infield depth on Saturday morning.

After hitting 30 home runs in 2017 and starting on Opening Day in right field for Milwaukee, Santana has struggled to find any pop. The 25-year-old has three homers in '18 and has not started since June 12 against the Cubs, only filling in as a pinch-hitter since.

View Full Game Coverage

"I think as we really just looked at what Domingo's role was going to be moving forward, we know at some point we're going to need Domingo going, and we'd both prefer that he's rolling and clicking when that time comes," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "It's tough to do when you're not playing that much."

Counsell credited Santana for being "a big part of the Brewers' success last season" and believes he will return to the Majors at some point this season.

"We're hoping we're putting him in a spot to be successful," Counsell said. "When that time comes for him to be up here, we'll want him to be able to carry that load and count on him regularly."

Video: NYM@MIL: Santana flicks go-ahead 2-run double into RF

Milwaukee already sent down struggling Opening Day shortstop Orlando Arcia this season, but he was swiftly called back up after Tyler Saladino's ankle forced him onto the disabled list.

The Brewers called up infielder Brad Miller from Triple-A as Saturday's corresponding move. They will look for Miller, who was acquired from the Rays in a trade for Ji-Man Choi earlier this month, to add some offense to a scuffling middle infield.

"I'm pretty excited to get the call and come to a team in first place," Miller said. "Just getting in this organization, everybody so far to me has been first class, and I want to contribute to this winning culture."

Tweet from @Brewers: Brad Miller, the newest member of the #Brewers, meets with the Milwaukee media. Prior to today, Miller had never been to Miller Park. He bats sixth today and will play second base. #MILvsStL pic.twitter.com/JH5jGJkbrb

This is Miller's first stint with a National League team after spending six seasons with the Mariners and Rays. He has started everywhere except pitcher and catcher in his career, and Miller thinks his skillset should work with an NL team, especially during double switches and pinch-hitting scenarios.

"In Interleague games, the few of them I've had, it's kind of fun," Miller said. "Definitely, I think my ability to play everywhere and be a left-handed bat fits well."

Miller knocked 30 home runs in 2016 with Tampa Bay, but he hit .201 last season. Still, he believes he can get back to his '16 level and contribute offensively for the first-place Brewers. In 48 games primarily at first and second base with the Rays in '18, Miller hit .256 with five home runs and 21 RBIs. Miller hasn't been at shortstop for a couple of seasons, but Counsell said his ability to play all over the field regularly makes him "versatile and a very good athlete."

"Each year's different, and you kind of go with the ebbs and the flows," Miller said. "But being in this environment, the culture they've created here, it seems pretty positive for everyone involved."

Miller, who started at second and batted sixth, drove in a run with a bloop single and drew a walk in his Brewers debut in Saturday's 3-2 loss to the Cardinals. He was pulled in favor of Eric Sogard during a double switch in the seventh inning. His performance came one night after Milwaukee's middle infielders -- Arcia, Hernan Perez and Jonathan Villar -- combined to go 0-for-7. But getting the start just hours after arriving in Milwaukee didn't startle the newest Brewer.

"That first day -- no matter how much sleep you have, no matter the travel -- it doesn't really matter," Miller said. "You're just running on adrenaline and want to get out there and get going."

Video: STL@MIL: Miller hits an RBI single in 1st Brewers AB

Brewers sign sixth-round pick Rasmussen
The Brewers on Friday agreed to terms with another one of their top picks from the 2018 Draft, signing Oregon State right-hander Drew Rasmussen.

Rasmussen, Milwaukee's sixth-round selection, signed for $135,000, although his pick value (No. 185) was $251,700, according to MLB.com's Jim Callis. A redshirt junior, Rasmussen has undergone two Tommy John surgeries and missed all of last season. He was drafted as a supplemental first-rounder by the Rays in 2017, but he failed his physical and returned to college.

Only first-rounder Brice Turang and ninth-round pick Arbert Cipion remain unsigned for the Brewers in the top 10 rounds.

Stephen Cohn is a reporter for MLB.com based in Milwaukee. Follow him on Twitter @Stephen__Cohn.

Milwaukee Brewers, Brad Miller, Domingo Santana

Giants option Williamson, recall prospect Slater

MLB.com

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants' revolving door in left field continued to spin Saturday as they optioned Mac Williamson to Triple-A Sacramento and recalled Austin Slater from the same club.

As of right now, the Giants don't have a starting left fielder, or even one who will receive most of the playing time at that spot. "We have four guys who can play left field," manager Bruce Bochy said, referring to Alen Hanson, Austin Jackson, Hunter Pence and Slater, who is ranked by MLB Pipeline as the Giants' No. 5 prospect. "It's hard to rotate."

View Full Game Coverage

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants' revolving door in left field continued to spin Saturday as they optioned Mac Williamson to Triple-A Sacramento and recalled Austin Slater from the same club.

As of right now, the Giants don't have a starting left fielder, or even one who will receive most of the playing time at that spot. "We have four guys who can play left field," manager Bruce Bochy said, referring to Alen Hanson, Austin Jackson, Hunter Pence and Slater, who is ranked by MLB Pipeline as the Giants' No. 5 prospect. "It's hard to rotate."

View Full Game Coverage

Slater came into Saturday's 5-3 win as a pinch hitter in the eighth inning and added an insurance run when he drove in Brandon Crawford with a sacrifice fly.

For instance, Hanson started Saturday against San Diego. Bochy said that Pence likely will start Sunday. "We have to find ways to get them in the lineup," Bochy said.

As for Slater, Bochy said, "It's going to be up to us to give him as many at-bats as we can." Slater, who has experienced four recalls from Sacramento, was hitting .344 with 24 doubles, five home runs and 32 RBIs for the River Cats.

Entering Saturday's game against San Diego, left field ranked as San Francisco's least productive offensive position, other than pitcher. The eight players to occupy left for San Francisco (including Gregor Blanco, Gorkys Hernandez and Brandon Belt) had combined for a team-low slash line of .227/.287/.347. Left fielders also contributed seven home runs and 28 RBIs, well behind positions such as first base (14 homers, 42 RBIs) or third base (12 homers, 46 RBIs).

Not long ago, Williamson appeared poised to claim the position. After beginning the season in Sacramento, he joined the Giants on April 20 and collected three homers and five RBIs in his first five games.

Then Williamson sustained a concussion while colliding with the left-field wall in foul territory in an April 24 game against Washington at AT&T Park. Four days later, he went on the disabled list, missed 28 games and lost his hitting groove. Upon being optioned, Williamson owned a .213/.295/.383 slash line with four homers and 11 RBIs in 28 games.

Bochy said that Williamson "was in a very good place. Then we had to shut him down for quite a while. It would have been nice if he didn't have to deal with that and kept playing and staying with the roll he was on."

Even with these moves, speculation remained that Steven Duggar, the club's No. 3 prospect and widely considered San Francisco's center fielder of the future, soon will be summoned to the Majors. "I'm not saying no," said Bochy, who added, "It's not been talked about."

• Bochy announced that right-hander Jeff Samardzija will start Tuesday for Sacramento at Albuquerque. This most likely will be the right-hander's final Minor League rehab start before he rejoins San Francisco's rotation.

Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles.

San Francisco Giants, Austin Slater, Mac Williamson

Solid alternatives to big-name trade options

Ross, Lucroy, others could be vital for contender, may be had for lower cost
MLB.com

The trade market has heated up earlier than usual, with this week's trade of Kelvin Herrera serving as evidence of the active discussions taking place well in advance of the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. The market is deep with star-caliber talent in some places and woefully shallow in others. But as is the case every year, you don't have to be a big name to have a big impact.

With that in mind, here are five areas in which lower-profile names might be worthwhile targets for contending teams.

The trade market has heated up earlier than usual, with this week's trade of Kelvin Herrera serving as evidence of the active discussions taking place well in advance of the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. The market is deep with star-caliber talent in some places and woefully shallow in others. But as is the case every year, you don't have to be a big name to have a big impact.

With that in mind, here are five areas in which lower-profile names might be worthwhile targets for contending teams.

1. Starting pitchers Tyson Ross (Padres), Marco Estrada (Blue Jays) and Francisco Liriano (Tigers)
Alternatives to: J.A. Happ (Blue Jays) and Cole Hamels (Rangers)

Happ and Hamels front a predominantly weak starting-pitching market (that is, unless the controllable likes of Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Blake Snell are actually dealt). But these guys rate as more affordable and, therefore, possibly more attractive options.

Ross, viewed as a reclamation project the past couple years, has been outstanding for the Padres, boasting a 3.34 ERA and 117 ERA+ in 15 starts. He actually has better numbers away from pitcher-friendly Petco Park than in it. And though he doesn't get as many ground balls or swings and misses as he did in his rising-star turn in 2014 and '15, before injuries set in, he has been a dependable weapon on a very reasonable (and expiring) contract, so he could augment a contending rotation right now. By and large, Estrada's 2018 numbers resemble the numbers from his 2017 decline. In fact, he entered Friday's start with an ERA+ of 91, identical to his '17 mark. But his string of quality starts this month are a positive step in the right direction, and it's worth noting that his hard-hit percentage allowed (31.7) and barrel percentage allowed (7.0) are more similar to his 2016 campaign (30.4, 7.1), when he was an All-Star, than 2017 (36.5, 10.7). So this might be the right time to buy in.

Video: SD@SF: Ross K's 3 over 7 innings of 1-run ball

And if clubs are dead set on a left-handed starting rental, Liriano has once again established himself as worthy of consideration. He's returning this weekend after missing several weeks due to a hamstring issue, but prior to the injury, he had a respectable 112 ERA+ in 10 starts for the Tigers.

2. Relief pitchers Craig Stammen and Kirby Yates (Padres)
Alternatives to: Brad Hand (Padres)

As is the case every summer, there are loads of interesting options in the relief market, and there could be opportunities for clubs to uncover an unexpected gem. I'm singling out the Padres only because their closer, Hand, has been a known trade commodity for what feels like forever, yet he's surrounded by other, less discussed but very interesting relief assets.

Stammen is a veteran pitching well (2.04 ERA, 0.93 WHIP) on a two-year deal that runs through 2019, and Yates has been fantastic (0.93 ERA, 0.90 WHIP) on a cheap one-year contract. Rookie Adam Cimber is also an attractive bullpen option here, but with so much contractual control attached to him, the price tag would be extremely high -- as it is with Hand, who signed an extension with the Padres not long after they were unable to find a team to meet their asking price for him last summer.

Video: SD@PIT: Stammen retires Cervelli, escapes jam

3. Lefty reliever Jake Diekman (Rangers)
Alternative to: Zach Britton (Orioles)

Britton is another guy with huge name recognition who is also worth singling out in this discussion. He's still working to build up strength and trade value in his return from a ruptured Achilles, and it probably shouldn't be surprising that his velocity is down slightly following his injury.

Diekman, a fellow lefty relief rental, might be the safer pickup. He's not having an extraordinary season (1.39 WHIP, 5.3 walks per nine), but the Rangers feel he has become more comfortable with the 40 pounds he has added since surgery to remove his colon, and he has thrown the ball very well in recent weeks. The Blue Jays' Aaron Loup is another lefty rental worth consideration here.

Video: DET@TEX: Diekman strikes out Jones to escape trouble

4. Catcher Jonathan Lucroy (A's)
Alternative to: Wilson Ramos (Rays) and J.T. Realmuto (Marlins)

Ramos, like Lucroy, is a rental, and the Marlins' Realmuto is the big Fish (pun intended) behind the dish. But while both of those guys are having All-Star-caliber campaigns and Lucroy's value is nowhere near what it was two years ago with the Brewers, don't lose sight of what an impact acquisition Lucroy can be. His help in developing the young A's pitching staff has been profound.

Lucroy might not give a club as much offensive thunder as he showed when he joined the Rockies in the second half last year (including a 1.016 OPS at Coors Field), but this is still a guy who can help a pitching staff reach its ceiling down the stretch.

Video: Must C Comeback: A's tie it in 9th, win it in 11th

5. Infielder Yangervis Solarte (Blue Jays)
Alternative to: Manny Machado (Orioles), Mike Moustakas (Royals), Josh Donaldson (Blue Jays), Adrian Beltre (Rangers), Brian Dozier (Twins), Starlin Castro (Marlins), Josh Harrison (Pirates) and Scooter Gennett (Reds)

As you can see, there is a healthy inventory of high-profile names available in the infield. (Not long ago, I would not have considered Gennett a "high-profile" guy, but he's third in the National League All-Star voting at his position, leading the league in batting average and has double-digit homers, so he certainly has earned the label.) Long story short: A buyer's market could develop here.

Video: WSH@TOR: Solarte smashes 2 homers in a 3-hit game

Solarte has never been an All-Star or anything close to it, but he has been a really valuable piece for a Blue Jays club in transition. He can play anywhere in the infield and has done a decent job filling in at third when Donaldson has been hurt. After an offseason trade from the Padres, he has made the adjustment to the AL with a solid wRC+ mark of 112 (or 12 percent better than league average). He's under control through 2020 with two affordable team options. Because of that last point -- and the wealth of infield options in this market -- I tend to doubt he'll get dealt. But he's a worthwhile trade target worth mentioning in a market loaded with more recognizable names.

Anthony Castrovince has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2004. Read his columns, listen to his podcast and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince.

Jake Diekman, Marco Estrada, Francisco Liriano, Jonathan Lucroy, Tyson Ross, Yangervis Solarte, Craig Stammen, Kirby Yates

2nd-rounder Gray signs with Crew, meets idol

Outfielder, 18, plays catch alongside Yelich before game
MLB.com

MILWAUKEE -- Joe Gray Jr. signed a contract to play professional baseball on Friday, and when he came to Miller Park, the thing he was most excited for was to meet Brewers left fielder Christian Yelich.

"That's my favorite guy, no offense to anyone else on the team, but that's my guy," said Gray, the Brewers' second-round pick in the 2018 MLB Draft. "When I got to the park, I really wanted to make sure I met Yelich and [Lorenzo] Cain before I left."

View Full Game Coverage

MILWAUKEE -- Joe Gray Jr. signed a contract to play professional baseball on Friday, and when he came to Miller Park, the thing he was most excited for was to meet Brewers left fielder Christian Yelich.

"That's my favorite guy, no offense to anyone else on the team, but that's my guy," said Gray, the Brewers' second-round pick in the 2018 MLB Draft. "When I got to the park, I really wanted to make sure I met Yelich and [Lorenzo] Cain before I left."

View Full Game Coverage

When Gray was playing catch in foul ground on the first-base side of the field before Friday's game between the Cardinals and Brewers, Yelich was right beside him.

On if that was cool, Gray nodded and smiled, "That's, mm-hmm, yeah."

Tweet from @stephen__cohn: Introducing Joe Gray Jr. ��� the #Brewers��� 2nd round pick. pic.twitter.com/cSVIXf3K5N

Gray's goal is to one day be manning the outfield at Miller Park alongside Yelich, but the 18-year-old -- the Brewers' first Draft pick born in the 2000s -- has a way to go.

"I had a little bit of knowledge about the Brewers," Gray said. "It's a phenomenal organization, they're really playing well this year, and I hope I can be a part of that the next few years."

2018 Draft Tracker: Every Brewers pick

The Hattiesburg, Miss., native made the trip to Milwaukee on Friday with his mother, father and younger sister, but he is headed to Arizona to begin his professional career Saturday. He had been committed to Ole Miss to play college baseball. Gray, the 60th overall pick, signed for the full slot value at $1,113,500, according to MLB.com's Jim Callis.

Tweet from @Brewers: #Brewers 2nd round pick @JoJo2Gray took BP at Miller Park for the 1st time today. He also got to wear some pretty sweet threads. #ThisIsMyCrew pic.twitter.com/c66sZvsN8M

At 6-foot-1, 195 pounds, Gray hit .474 with seven home runs and 45 RBIs last season, and comes from the same high school program that has produced five Major Leaguers, including former outfielder Wendell Magee.

"It's always a great day when there's an opportunity for somebody to start their dream," said Brewers scouting director Tod Johnson. "We're happy it came together for us."

Video: Draft 2018: Brewers draft OF Joe Gray No. 60

Before heading off to Maryvale, Gray is just a kid soaking it in and standing next to his idol.

"It's an unreal situation right here," Gray said. "It's what every kid would dream of, and I can't be any happier."

Milwaukee's first-round pick, shortstop Brice Turang, has not signed, but Johnson said the organization is "still working through the process." Ninth-round pick Arbert Cipion also remains unsigned inside the top 10 rounds. The deadline for players to sign is July 6.

Video: STL@MIL: Stearns on Draft picks, team's defense

Barnes continues to attack
Jacob Barnes was a fixture in the Brewers' bullpen a season ago, but he was optioned to Triple-A Colorado Springs on May 12. Since being recalled May 28, he has appeared in nine games and allowed zero runs over 9 1/3 innings.

"Jacob has been really good since he got back," said manager Craig Counsell. "For him it's all about attacking hitters, go after the hitters. When he does that, he always gets good results."

The strikeout numbers are down for Barnes -- he had eight since returning from Triple-A and just one multi-strikeout appearance after having six such outings over his first 10 appearances -- but his ERA is down to 1.91 after reaching 2.84 at the time of the demotion.

"When he's on the attack, making them swing the bat or offering pitches right on the end of the strike zone, he's going to have success," Counsell said.

Amid a stretch of 24 games in 24 days leading into the All-Star break, the Brewers need options in the bullpen, especially because no starter has worked into the eighth inning this season. Brent Suter has lasted seven innings twice in his past two starts, and Jhoulys Chacin finished seven frames once.

Stephen Cohn is a reporter for MLB.com based in Milwaukee. Follow him on Twitter @Stephen__Cohn.

Milwaukee Brewers