Notes: Thatcher earns unexpected call
Lefty brought up to bolster bullpen; Suppan stellar in win
PHOENIX -- Nobody was "stepping up" in the Brewers bullpen, so the team asked somebody new to step in.In an unusual move Thursday the team invited non-roster left-hander Joe Thatcher to big-league camp. Thatcher, 25, was stretching on a back field at Maryvale Baseball Park with his Minor League colleagues just after 9 a.m. MT when news came that he was wanted in the clubhouse. "I didn't know what was going on at first," Thatcher said. "It's obviously a good day for me." Brewers manager Ned Yost was quick to say that the team will not be looking at Thatcher as a potential upgrade over Brian Shouse, the only other lefty reliever in camp. Shouse appeared in 59 games last season after joining the Brewers in a May 13 trade. And both Yost and assistant general manager Gord Ash insisted that the move was not specifically intended as a wake-up call to any of the club's struggling bullpen arms, though Thursday's combined two-hitter against the Angels was a sign that players may have got the message. Jose Capellan (6.75 ERA entering play Thursday) and Matt Wise (15.43 ERA) finally turned in spotless innings in the 6-1 win. Closer Francisco Cordero continued his solid spring with a scoreless inning of work. "This is more [in case] some other areas of our 'pen don't straighten out," Yost said of Thatcher's arrival. "We're looking for somebody to get somebody out." Thatcher might not be the only arm brought in, Yost said. "I've got no concern that our guys aren't going to be ready to go," Yost said. "But, again, we're going to take the guys who are producing on that mound with us to Milwaukee. If guys are still struggling at that point, we will do what we need to do." The new guy: Thatcher posted a 1.37 ERA and 12 saves in 46 total appearances last season with Class A West Virginia, Advanced Class A Brevard County and Double-A Huntsville. He then posted a 0.73 ERA and one save in 14 appearances in Hawaii Winter Baseball. Thatcher is entering his fourth pro season and has pitched exclusively in relief. In 146 regular-season innings of work, he has struck out 186 batters versus 37 walks. Spanish-language telecasts on Milwaukee's Telemundo affiliate, marking the fifth season that Francisco Romero and Hector Molina will call weekend action. All 13 games are on Sundays, beginning with the April 8 matchup against the Cubs. ... The Brewers' fundamental work Thursday morning included bunt defense and "slashing," whereby a bunter pulls back and tried to bounce a ball over charging infielders.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.