Brewers replace Estrada with Nelson in rotation
By Andrew Wagner
The Sports Xchange
MILWAUKEE — Before his team took the field to face Philadelphia on Thursday afternoon, Milwaukee Brewers manager Ron Roenicke was asked whether or not right-hander Marco Estrada would still make his scheduled start Saturday against the Cardinals.
Considering Estrada struggled lately, posting a 2-4 record and a 6.53 ERA in his last seven starts while giving up 10 of his MLB-leading 27 home runs, it was a logical question but one Roenicke wasn’t going to answer.
“I won’t comment on that,” he said.
Hours after the Brewers melted down late for a 9-1 loss, their fifth in a row and ninth in their last 10 games, the question was answered as Milwaukee summoned right-hander Jimmy Nelson from Triple-A Nashville.
Nelson has been lights-out while waiting for his moment. In 17 games (16 starts), he is 10-2 with a 1.46 ERA and has struck out 114 in 111 innings of work.
In one spot start for the Brewers this season, Nelson threw five scoreless innings against the Miami Marlins, allowing five hits and three walks with six strikeouts.
With Nelson in the fold and slated to start Saturday against St. Louis’ Adam Wainwright, the MLB ERA leader, Estrada, will move to the bullpen.
The Brewers’ front office and coaching staff had been debating the move for a while, Roenicke said.
“We’re in discussions all the time about this and what to do, and how do we improve,” Roenicke said. “Not just with other people, but how do we improve internally with what we have?
“Sometimes you wait until the all-star break to do things. But when the timing calls for something to be done, you try to do it. If it makes sense right then, why wait on something? That’s what we talk about all the time. We talk about what goes on in here, how guys are feeling right now, and do we need a change?”
To make room for Nelson on the roster, Milwaukee placed left-hander Wei-Chung Wang to the 15-day disabled list with tightness in his shoulder.
Wang, a 22-year-old Rule 5 pick out of the Pirates’ organization last winter, has been used sparingly this season — with little to show for it.
In 13 appearances, Wang allowed 21 earned runs in 17 innings of work, including six home runs.
As a Rule 5 pick, the Brewers are required to keep him on the 25-man roster all season or return him to Pittsburgh for $25K.
However, once players have been on the active roster for at least 90 days — a threshold Wang crossed on June 27 — the player can be placed on the disabled list without the team losing contractual control.
Milwaukee, though, will have to keep Wang on its active roster next season for as many days as he spends on the DL.