MILWAUKEE -- Brewers general manager Doug Melvin's memory was sparked last week by a report about the death of Randy "Macho Man" Savage. Macho Man's real name, Melvin learned, was Randy Poffo, and he was a professional baseball player before he was a pro wrestler.
"I think he hit a homer off me," Melvin said.
It would have been 1972, when Melvin was pitching for the Pirates in the Gulf Coast League and the future "Macho Man" was playing for the Cardinals' affiliate. Melvin tried to find box scores to see if his memory was correct, but came up empty.
Brewers claim lefty for Triple-A depth
MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers claimed diminutive left-hander Daniel Ray Herrera off waivers from the Reds on Monday and optioned him to Triple-A Nashville, adding some depth to an area in which the organization is thin.
Milwaukee lefties Zach Braddock (sleep disorder), Manny Parra (elbow) and Mitch Stetter (hip) all remain stuck on the disabled list. Braddock was the closest to returning, but he was scratched minutes before a rehab start at Class A Wisconsin on Monday with a cracked fingernail.
"There are times you claim a guy out of need, but that is not necessarily the case here," Brewers pro scouting director Zack Minasian said. "We had guys who liked him."
Among Herrera's backers were Brewers special assistant Dan O'Brien, the former Reds GM, who has seen his share of that team's games in recent seasons because he still lives in Cincinnati.
Herrera, 26 years old and only 5-foot-6, posted a 3.63 ERA in 113 appearances for the Reds from 2008-10 and limited left-handed hitters to a .206 average. He had a 3.86 ERA in 17 appearances for the Reds' Triple-A club before being waived last week, and had been facing both left-handed and right-handed hitters.
To make room for Herrera on the 40-man roster, the Brewers transferred pitcher Parra to the 60-day DL.
Setbacks for Almonte, Braddock and Kintzler
MILWAUKEE -- Brewers reliever Takashi Saito played catch in the Miller Park outfield on Monday afternoon, and reported more positive progress in his return from a rib-cage injury. It was otherwise a lousy day for Brewers on the disabled list.
Here's the rundown of a busy day for athletic trainers Roger Caplinger and Dan Wright:
Utility man Erick Almonte was struck in the face by a thrown ball for the second time this season, a potentially serious setback as he looks to return from a concussion.
Almonte became the first Major Leaguer placed on the new 7-day DL for concussions, when he missed a throw from Craig Counsell on April 26 and was struck above his right eye. He's since moved to the traditional 15-day DL, and was preparing to leave for a Minor League rehabilitation assignment next weekend.
He was playing catch with catcher Mike Rivera on Monday, when the baseball glanced off his glove and struck him on the right cheek. Almonte doubled over and was helped to the clubhouse by Wright. He spent the rest of the afternoon sitting disconsolate at his locker.
"I can't believe it," he said. "I don't know what happened. I guess I didn't see it."
"Thank God, it hit his glove first," Rivera said. "It wasn't a bad throw -- just when he went to catch it, he closed his glove too early and it hit him. I don't know how it happened."
Left-hander Zach Braddock was scratched minutes before a daytime start at Class A Wisconsin with a cracked fingernail. It would have been Braddock's second Minor League appearance, as he works back from a sleep disorder. The setback came so close to game time that the Timber Rattlers' first pitch was delayed by 16 minutes.
Braddock was back at Miller Park by 3:30 p.m. CT, but he did not speak to reporters.
He's the third Brewers reliever to suffer a second injury while rehabbing something else in the Minors. Saito strained his rib cage while working back from a hamstring injury, and Manny Parra hurt his elbow during a comeback from a facet joint injury in his back.
Right-hander Brandon Kintzler said he's been shut down with a recurrence of pain near his right elbow. Kintzler is on the DL with a strained triceps, and developed stiffness after throwing for a second consecutive day on Sunday.
"We were letting it go pretty good, too," a frustrated Kintzler said.
Seven weeks into the Major League season, the Brewers have been represented in three of the National League's Player of the Week Awards. Shaun Marcum shared the honor on Monday with D-backs pitcher Daniel Hudson. Ryan Braun won the award for April 18-24, and Prince Fielder won it for April 4-10.