Less than a week away from Opening Day, it looks like the Brewers’ 25-man roster to start the year is set.
With Tom Gorzelanny still recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, Zach Duke was told he’ll be making the 25-man roster out of camp. To make room for Duke, Rob Wooten was optioned back down to Nashville to start the season. With that move, this is your group of pitchers to start the year:
In the field, Jeff Bianchi won the utility man job, sending Elian Herrera to Nashville. With the second base platoon taking up two roster spots, Bianchi will be the only “extra” middle infielder on the roster. Juan Francisco’s release over the weekend makes Lyle Overbay and Mark Reynolds the two first basemen on the roster. The rest of your 25-man roster:
Rotation orders are also starting to be announced, with Ron Roenicke saying the Brewers will start the year going Gallardo-Lohse-Garza-Estrada-Peralta. Rotation orders always end up getting jumbled due to off days and injury, but at least the Brewers are starting their three best pitchers (in some order) in the first three games of the season.
The Nashville Sounds also announced their starting rotation, which may give some insight into how the Brewers rank the arms that are just a step away from the majors:
Pitching rotation for 2014 season lines up as follows: Hellweg, Nelson, Burgos, Pena, Fiers. Complete roster to be unveiled this weekend.
— Nashville Sounds (@nashvillesounds) March 25, 2014
It will be interesting to see what happens when Tom Gorzelanny is ready to come off the disabled list — does Duke, as the presumed last pitcher to make the team, get the axe? Or does Will Smith get sent down because he has options remaining (although this seems unlikely, with Roenicke saying Smith may pitch late innings in a set-up role). Do the Brewers trust Wei-Chung Wang to pitch in many games that they’re leading or are still in reach? Or as a guy jumping from rookie ball to the majors, do they just stash him at the bottom of the bullpen to soak up innings in a blowout? If that’s the case, how long can they justify using a roster spot on a player they aren’t willing to totally trust?