Off-day roster moves: McClendon, Thornburg, Conrad
By Brad White
Following a much-needed series win over the Blue Jays, the Brewers made a series of moves on their scheduled off-day.
The Brewers found themselves in need of bullpen help after Tuesday’s 10-9 loss to the Jays, in which Tyler Thornburg made his Major League debut in place of the injured Shaun Marcum. Today, they recalled right-hander Mike McClendon from Triple-A Nashville so they can have a fresh arm for the upcoming series against the White Sox. This is already McClendon’s third stint with the Brewers this season alone, as he’s already been called up in one of these situations before. He posted an ugly ERA that was over 10.00 in his first stint, then lowered his season ERA to 6.75 during the latest stint. McClendon also had brief stints with the Brewers in 2010 and 2011 with the Brewers. In ’10, he was a September call-up and posted solid numbers, going 2-0 with a 3.00 ERA while being used in the long relief role. He was with the team early in 2011 and went 3-0 with a 2.63 ERA before being optioned back to Triple-A. Unfortunately, McClendon hasn’t had the same luck this year thus far, as shown by his sub-par numbers.
McClendon fills the spot previously vacated by Thornburg, who was optioned to Triple-A yesterday afternoon. This was expected, since Thornburg was called up due to the need of an emergency starter in the absence of Marcum. He went 5 1/3 innings against the Blue Jays on Tuesday while giving up five runs on seven hits. He didn’t walk anyone and struck out two, but served up four home runs. Three of those homers came in sequence in a rocky sixth inning for Thornburg. It was noted that this may have been due to a serious drop in his fastball velocity that inning. Thornburg’s fastball was living in the 93-96 MPH range up until that inning, when it dropped to the mid-to-high 80’s. Whether it was fatigue or nerves, hopefully he gets it straightened out in Triple-A.
The Brewers also announced today that Brooks Conrad was claimed off waivers by the Rays. They had previously designated him for assignment to give Thornburg a spot on the 40-man roster. But all I can say to Conrad is goodbye and good riddance- I doubt any Brewers fans will miss him. He became the laughing stock of the Brewers after not having a hit through his first 27 or so at-bats in a Brewers uniform. He appeared to be breaking out of it in the Pirates series a few weeks ago, when he hit home runs on consecutive days. But Conrad couldn’t use that as momentum to break out of his season-long slump, and finished with a .075 (3-for-40) batting average as a Brewer. At least can say that the he hit .405 at Triple-A, though.