ST. LOUIS -- The Brewers thought they had a nice, tidy transaction on Tuesday when they optioned right-hander Marco Estrada to Triple-A Nashville to clear a 25-man roster spot for Kameron Loe. Not so fast.Estrada complained of right shoulder fatigue after the move, so the transaction was voided, and he was instead placed on the 15-day, Major League disabled list. Baseball rules bar teams from optioning injured players to the Minors, so Estrada will continue to earn his Major League salary while he is on the DL. He had pitched in three straight games before he was optioned out, including a Memorial Day outing in which Estrada was charged with four earned runs after a close call at the plate -- which would have ended a scoreless inning -- went against him. Brewers manager Ken Macha was surprised to learn that Estrada was complaining of a shoulder ailment. "Extremely," Macha said. "He was never, never in the training room or on the treatment list, ever. I asked him every day if he was fine and he said, 'Absolutely.' I don't think his velocity was affected; he was still throwing 91 [mph]. It's not like we looked out there and the guy is throwing 88. ... "You guys have been around me for a year and a half. I don't pitch anybody if they say they are hurt." In other moves: Right-hander Claudio Vargas cleared waivers and was granted his unconditional release. Vargas, who posted a 7.32 ERA in 17 games this season, was designated for assignment last week to clear 40-man and 25-man roster spots for Chris Capuano. Third baseman Mat Gamel reached the end of a rehabilitation assignment, so he was reinstated from the 60-day disabled list and optioned to Nashville. He was already there, continuing his work back from a torn muscle behind his right shoulder. With Friday's move, Gamel is back on Milwaukee's 40-man roster, which is again full.
Pitching decisions coming Tuesday
ST. LOUIS -- Brewers officials are scheduled to meet Tuesday at Miller Park to set some "structure," manager Ken Macha said, to what has become a jumbled pitching staff, and the summit could result in more roster changes.Asked specifically whether he expected a roster move or two to come out of that meeting, Macha paused. He finally said, "I'll let you get your answer from my delay, how's that?" What is known is that Yovani Gallardo will start Tuesday's series opener against the Cubs and Randy Wolf will start either Wednesday or Thursday, depending on whether the Brewers give him an extra day of rest or not. Wolf's preference, Macha said, seems to be remaining on a five-day schedule. Dave Bush could pitch the game against the Cubs that Wolf does not, but that decision is not firm yet. Manny Parra is starting Sunday against the Cardinals in the spot previously occupied by Bush, but his future beyond that is unclear, and it's plausible that the Brewers are trying to feature him for scouts ahead of the July trade season. Chris Capuano returned to the Majors on Thursday after two years of rehabilitating an injured elbow, and it's unknown when, or whether, he will start again. Also unknown is whether the Brewers plan to give Kameron Loe a start at some point. The rotation decisions will have an impact on the bullpen that could see changes soon. Right-hander David Riske's rehabilitation assignment ends Wednesday, general manager Doug Melvin has said, and Riske will have to be restored to the 40-man roster. Entering their weekend series against the Cardinals, the Brewers ranked next to last in the National League with a 5.31 ERA. "We're going to sit down and try to have a little better structure with the pitching," Macha said.
Arm speed at root of Hoffman's woes?
ST. LOUIS -- An unnamed scout weighed in on Trevor Hoffman's recent troubles in a column by ESPN.com's Jayson Stark, saying the problem was arm speed."To be honest, I think his body is quitting on him," the scout said. "He doesn't have the arm speed to make his [changeup] effective anymore. That was always the one thing he had. Even after he lost his fastball, he still had the arm speed. And now it's gone." Brewers manager Ken Macha was asked whether that's a valid criticism. "I think arm speed has something to do with things, but I'm not necessarily saying that's what it is [with Hoffman]," Macha said. "You have to have good arm speed with your changeup, and I don't see a discernible difference in his arm speed between his fastball and his changeup."
Brewers manager Ken Macha was visited Friday by former Cardinals reliever Mike Perez, who works for Major League Baseball vice president of on-field operations Bob Watson. Perez wanted to talk to Macha about pace of game, a major focus for Major League Baseball, and among the topics was Ryan Braun's routine between pitches and the number of mound visits by rookie catcher Jonathan Lucroy during his two games paired with Randy Wolf. The latter problem has been solved; George Kottaras is back to handling Wolf for the foreseeable future. ... Reliever Todd Coffey was still unavailable to pitch on Friday. He injured his right thumb swinging the bat in Saturday's win over the Mets and has not pitched since. ... Brewers players' wives will host a jersey raffle on June 26 to benefit the Down Syndrome Association of Wisconsin. Lucky winners will go on the field immediately after the game and have a game-worn jersey autographed and handed to them off the back of a player from that day's game. For details about the program see the club's official release.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.