Riske arrives day after Suppan's release
Brewers owner explains decision to let veteran righty go
MILWAUKEE -- David Riske returned to active duty for the Brewers on Tuesday for the first time in more than a year, and he joined a pitching staff in the midst of a makeover.Riske, who underwent Tommy John surgery last June, was reinstated from the 60-day disabled list and assumed the 25-man roster spot vacated over the weekend by fellow reliever Todd Coffey, who was placed on the 15-day DL with a thumb injury. To clear a spot on the 40-man roster, the Brewers transferred another reliever, LaTroy Hawkins, to the 60-day DL -- a sign that he is still struggling to make progress with what club officials originally believed was a minor case of right shoulder fatigue. "[Riske] has gone through the rehab, the couple of steps to get here," Brewers manager Ken Macha said. "We'll get him in there and see what we've got." Riske's arrival came the day after the Brewers released veteran righty Jeff Suppan, despite owing him more than $10 million through the end of this year. Replacing Suppan beginning Tuesday night was right-hander Chris Smith, who had been serving as the closer at Triple-A Nashville. Macha said he would wait a few days before reaching out to Suppan, but Brewers principal owner Mark Attanasio said he spoke to the pitcher via telephone on Monday. Attanasio was particularly close with Suppan, and hosted a dinner at his home back in December 2006 when the Brewers wooed the then-free agent. "Whenever we end up separating with a player I'm fond of, or even a player I'm not fond of, I usually like to call and say thank you," Attanasio said. "I thanked him for how hard he worked. Doug [Melvin, Milwaukee's general manager] said this, and it's true -- that without Jeff going 5-0 [in September 2008], we don't make the playoffs. "Now, I know the fans, and frankly we, too, say it's not 2008, it's 2010, and we need to be better now. Jeff was as disappointed as anyone in his inability to get the job done here. Hopefully, a change of scenery helps him get back to where he was before." Suppan had about $8 million left on his four-year contract, and is also owed a $2 million buyout of his 2011 club option. But Attanasio said that financial commitment will not prevent the Brewers from being active ahead of the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline if the team fights back into contention. "Honestly, financial considerations were never part of the picture here," Attanasio said. "I never called Doug and said, 'Gee, for financial reasons, we can't make a move here.' It was always Doug's call as to what we do with players on the roster. "This seems a little hard to say at 11 games under .500 here, but if we can climb back, it's not to say that we wouldn't add players and add payroll at midseason. But we have to get back to .500 first."
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.