The Milwaukee Brewers, like every other Major League Baseball team, are starting to make cuts in order to narrow down their roster to 25 players. The Brewers recently decided to option right-handed pitchers Tyler Thornburg and Johnny Hellweg to Triple-A Nashville.
Thornburg is a bit of a surprise to fans that follow the team closely as many expected him to be one of the last pitchers assigned to the bullpen this season. However, Milwaukee has decided it would be better for Thornburg to get consistent play in Nashville as a member of the starting rotation considering that is the expectation the Brewers have for him in the big leagues.
The 24-year-old posted a 0-1 record with a 9.00 earned run average and two strikeouts in two games (one start) this spring. The Houston native did not perform nearly as well as the team had hoped he would, which made the decision easy to send him down to the minors. There is a good chance Thornburg will appear again in Milwaukee at some point this season, especially if the team’s pitchers catch the injury bug again.
Unlike Thornburg, Hellweg has never appeared in a regular season game. The 24-year-old started out of the gates hot in Spring Training, but cooled off as the weeks went on. He was 0-1 with a 4.15 ERA and seven strikeouts in 8 2/3 innings over five appearances.
Unfortunately, it was his last outing that eventually allowed the Brewers to feel comfortable optioning him to Nashville. Hellweg allowed two runs (none earned) on two hits Saturday against the Cincinnati Reds in which he blew the save and took the loss. He has been utilized as a starter as well as a reliever in the minors, but it is unknown how Milwaukee will use him if he ever steps foot in the majors.
After these moves, the Brewers must still release 23 players in order to be set for Opening Day.