Jimmy Nelson will make a spot start for the injured Yovani Gallardo on Sunday, and instead of sending down another pitcher to make room for Nelson, the Brewers outrighted infielder Jeff Bianchi to Triple-A Nashville.
Bianchi has 72 hours to decide whether he’ll accept the assignment or declare free agency. The Brewers say they hope he accepts the assignment and stays in the organization — infield depth is lacking, especially in the upper levels of the organization — but he says he will talk with his agent and decide what’s best for his future. It’s hard to imagine there being much demand on the open market for him at the moment, though, so it’s probably safe to assume he’ll be playing for the Sounds later this week.
Heading into play on Sunday, the 27-year-old Bianchi was hitting just .214/.249/.281 in 154 games as a Brewer. He was scuffling even worse this season, starting the year just 8-for-55 with only two walks and zero extra-base hits.
While he’s proven to be a steady defensive hand, it hasn’t been enough this year to make up for the deficiencies at the plate — his -0.6 fWAR was second-worst on the team, only slightly better than Lyle Overbay’s -0.7 fWAR. His OPS+ was -11. His wOBA was .147 — lower than Kyle Lohse (.170) and Wily Peralta (.160). His Win Probability Added of -1.07 was the lowest on the team…yes, even lower than Wei-Chung Wang’s.
Nelson will likely be sent back to Nashville after his start, but who takes his spot on the 25-man roster probably depends on how Aramis Ramirez is feeling. Ramirez is eligible to return from the disabled list on Monday, but it’s no guarantee he’ll be ready to go. If he feels like he can run, he’ll be activated and the move will be simple. If he needs more time, the Brewers will need to call up another bat, otherwise they’ll risk carrying 13 pitchers while they try to figure out if Gallardo can make his next start.