Going into the 2021 season, it was no secret that the Brewers were going to end up making much more liberal use of their 40-man roster than normal due to the adjustment from 2020’s 60-game season. So far, that has turned out to be exactly the case.
41 players had already appeared in a game for Milwaukee as of May 15th. If you look back to the last time the Brewers played a full season, they’re already not far off from the 50 players who appeared in a game for the team back in the 2019 season.
As quickly as Saturday night’s game against the Braves, the Brewers could already elevate this year’s count up to 42. That’s because the team made yet another move to add a new player to the 40-man roster before the game.
On Saturday, the Brewers added left-hander Hoby Milner to the roster, optioning Eric Lauer to the minors in his place.
More than any other position, it was the pitching staff that was probably expected to see the most activity in roster flip-flopping over the course of the 2021 season. So Saturday’s move should have come as no surprise as the Crew brought a fresh new arm up to the big leagues.
For those who don’t remember, Hoby Milner was signed by the Brewers back in mid-December to a minor league contract. Most recently a Los Angeles Angel, he has a career 4.53 ERA and 1.509 WHIP over 74 career games and with three different MLB teams.
Milner was very solid in Cactus League play for the Brewers, throwing seven scoreless innings total and giving up just three hits and two walks while striking out nine. Not being on on the 40-man was a disadvantage, though, and he didn’t end up making the big league club after the spring and instead headed down to the minors.
Milner was off to a good start down at Triple-A Nashville as well, though, as he hadn’t given up a run, hit, or walk over his first two innings with the team prior to Saturday. That was apparently enough to get him added to the MLB roster.
In his place, fellow lefty Eric Lauer heads back down to the minors. The 25-year-old pitched a gem in his first action in 2021, a spot start in the Dodgers in which he threw five scoreless innings while giving up just four hits. His two most recent outings had been out of the bullpen, though, which was a big reason for the move per MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy.
After four appearances, Lauer sits with a 2.81 ERA and a 1.188 WHIP on the 2021 season. It’s much better than Brewers fans had seen from him in limited action in 2020 and gives hope that he’ll be an effective piece for the pitching staff going forward.
The addition of Milner is just one more move to keep the Brewers’ roster carousel turning. And we can all be pretty certain that he won’t be the last.