MILWAUKEE -- Brewers general manager Doug Melvin is reserving judgment on left-hander Manny Parra's future with the team until he sees how Parra performs out of the bullpen.The Brewers bumped Parra from the starting rotation on Wednesday for the third straight season. Parra is 0-5 with a 7.42 ERA in his last eight starts, a stretch that has bumped his season ERA to 5.65, but he is due a big raise this winter because he's arbitration-eligible for the first time. Melvin and the Brewers will have to decide where -- and whether -- Parra fits in their plans. "We'll see how he does out there," Melvin said. "Those are questions for the offseason." Melvin preaches patience with pitching, and the Brewers have certainly shown it in Parra's case. The 27-year-old -- he turns 28 on Oct. 30 -- owns a 5.29 ERA in 101 career appearances, 74 of them starts. After going 10-8 with a 4.39 ERA in a very promising 2008 season, he was 11-11 with a 6.36 ERA in 2009 and 3-10 with a 5.65 ERA so far in 2010. "Pitchers can bounce back," Melvin said. "He still has a good arm. He has the attributes that you look for, but you do have to have better performance. Manny works hard at it. He physically has the ability. It's the ups and downs of what pitchers go through." The deadine to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players is Dec. 12.
Jeffress could see Majors in September
MILWAUKEE -- Jeremy Jeffress, the hard-throwing Brewers pitching prospect who finished a 100-game substance-abuse suspension earlier this season, could earn a promotion to Triple-A Nashville in the next week or two and then a subsequent promotion to the Major Leagues in September. Jeffress is already on the 40-man roster."We've discussed it," general manager Doug Melvin said. "We haven't made any decisions." The bigger decision could be coming this winter, when the Brewers will have to decide whether to keep developing Jeffress as a starter or move him permanently to relief. Jeffress has been working out of the bullpen since returning from his suspension for marijuana use, a move designed by the Brewers to keep him more focused on a day-to-day basis. "That will be a big offseason discussion," Melvin said. "The tough part is, with some of the power-type pitchers, where are they at in their pitch counts? Are they going to get you deep into games? The strike zone up here is tighter. The [hitters] are more selective." So far, Jeffress has displayed an excellent work ethic, club officials say. In his first nine games at Huntsville, he posted a 1.54 ERA in 11 2/3 innings and 11 strikeouts to only two walks.
Cain shows he can play defense, too
MILWAUKEE -- Rookie center fielder Lorenzo Cain has been "better than expected" defensively, manager Ken Macha said. Cain caught the eye of the opposing manager, too."This kid in center field is pretty special," Dodgers skipper Joe Torre said. Both Macha and Torre were talking about Cain's throw home in the fifth inning of the Dodgers' win over the Brewers on Wednesday night. He ranged into right-center field for Matt Kemp's sacrifice fly, then somehow halted his momentum long enough to fire a perfect throw home that nearly beat Ryan Theriot to the plate. "Oh, man, what a throw," Macha said. "His defense has been better than expected." Macha didn't know Cain had such a strong arm. He had few chances to show it off in Spring Training games. "It's pretty darn accurate, too," Macha said. "When you're running like he was running on that sacrifice fly, and then you put the brakes on and make a fairly accurate throw and get a close play ... I didn't even think he had a chance."
Gomez playing it safe with new helmet
MILWAUKEE -- Carlos Gomez says it will take some getting used to the extra weight, but he has agreed to wear a reinforced batting helmet at the urging of the Brewers' medical staff.Gomez just returned Tuesday after spending three weeks on the disabled list with a concussion, the result of a high and tight fastball from Cubs reliever Brian Schlitter on Aug. 3. For all four of his at-bats against the Dodgers, Gomez wore a new helmet that is larger and heavier but can also withstand more force than the traditional plastic headgear. "You feel pressure on your head," Gomez said. "It's my size, but it's more deep and you get more pressure on my forehead. If you use it more, you're not going to feel it. When I was in rehab, I used it. It's getting more comfortable. I would rather be more safe than sorry." Such helmets were made mandatory in the Minor Leagues this season, and players including the Brewers' Ryan Braun and Corey Hart wore them in the All-Star Game. Gomez believes they will be even more widespread in the future. "I think next year, everybody is going to wear them," he said.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.