The Milwaukee Brewers came into the morning of Thursday's matchup against the San Diego Padres with no probable starter listed. After a series of transactions by the ballclub earlier today, that problem has now been solved.
Right-handed pitcher Colin Rea, whose last MLB appearance was in 2021 as a member of the Brewers, had his contract selected from Triple-A Nashville on Thursday, thus adding him to both the 40-man and 26-man rosters. Yesterday's starter, right-handed pitcher Janson Junk, was optioned back down to Triple-A while catcher Payton Henry was designated for assignment.
Rea had been signed to a minor league contract last January and also got the invite to spring training. Now, he'll already be taking the mound to open a four-game set against the Padres with the team briefly needing to go to a sixth starter.
RHP Colin Rea has been added to the Brewers roster and will get the start in Thursday night's game against the Padres.
With the Brewers in the middle of a stretch of 13 games in as many days, it meant a sixth starter became necessary. That starter likely would have been Junk, but he was pressed into duty yesterday instead when Brandon Woodruff was sent to the injured list with what is hopefully just a minor shoulder injury.
Some Brewers fans may recall that Rea has made one appearance for the Brewers back in 2021. It was a late season outing against the Dodgers that year where he pitched the final six innings of the game, giving up five runs on seven hits and no walks while striking out five on October 2nd.
Rea would become a free agent that following offseason and play the next season in the Japanese Leagues with the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks. He would end up going 6-6 with a 3.57 ERA and a 1.108 WHIP over 26 games, striking out 92 and walking 34.
Outside of Rea, the Brewers didn't have many options for the spot start. They could have moved Bryse Wilson from the bullpen for a day as he was expected to be somewhat of a swingman this season, but with the Crew in the middle of such a long stretch, they may have wanted to keep their bullpen as fresh as possible.
Meanwhile, the DFA of Henry leaves the Brewers with just two catchers on the 40-man roster: William Contreras and Victor Caratini. Neither are at risk of losing their MLB roster spot so if either suffer an injury at some point this year, Milwaukee will worry about adding a third catcher back to the roster when it becomes necessary.
The addition of Rea is just another example of the ever evolving reality of an MLB roster. He wasn't the first person to be added to the 40-man roster this regular season and he likely won't be the last.