Brewers in need of fresh arms, add Chulk | Disciples of Uecker

Disciples of Uecker

We'd like to go to the Playoffs, that would be cool.

The Brewers are just two games into a 9-game, 10-day road trip, but already bullpen reinforcements are needed. After dropping the first two games in St. Louis by a combined score of 20-4 and seeing the bullpen cover 8 of 16 innings, a fresh arm was needed.

That’s why it wasn’t much of a surprise to see Mike McClendon optioned back down to Nashville after the game. The surprise is who’s coming up to join the Brewers.

Chulk is a 33-year-old righthander who last pitched in the majors in 2009 for Cleveland. His best year came in 2007 with the Giants, when he struck out 41 while walking 14 in 53 innings. He started his big league career with Toronto in 2003. Needless to say, he’s been a bit of a journeyman, especially lately, with trips in the Pirates and A’s systems spliced with a stint in Japan in 2010. In terms of stuff, when he was previously in the big leagues, he was a fastball/slider guy who occasionally mixed in a changeup. Through 2009, the fastball average about 92 mph, with the slider coming in at 79-80 mph. In terms of pitch values, the slider was his best pitch from 2003-2009, coming in at 4.9 runs above average.

Since Chulk was not on the 40-man roster, a corresponding move had to be made. With Chris Narveson’s season over, the Brewers transferred him to the 60-day DL to open a spot for Chulk.

We say the move for Chulk is a bit surprising because he isn’t the first name you’d expect the Brewers to bring up. A minor league free agent signing that flew under the radar, Chulk is getting a crack in the majors before more familiar names like Mark Rogers or Seth McClung. McClung has had a rough go of it in his return to the Brewers system, giving up 15 earned runs on 23 hits and 7 walks in 16.2 innings. Rogers is finally done serving a 25-game suspension that started at the end of last season and has shown some rust in limited action — he’s given up 5 runs on 8 hits and 4 walks in his first 6 innings of the year. Mike Fiers is also on the 40-man roster, but is starting for Nashville today and therefore wouldn’t be of much use out of the bullpen right away.

Chulk isn’t likely to set the world on fire out of the bullpen, and in all reality probably won’t be around for very long. McClendon is being sent down for Chulk, but McClendon is the better bullpen option — he’s only being sent down because he’s one of the few in the bullpen that has options remaining, and he was going to be unavailable for another day or two after throwing 3 innings Friday night. Chances are we’ll see him back in the big leagues before long.

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