Trade of Kottaras nets reliever for Brewers

MILWAUKEE — After a day in which the Milwaukee Brewers latest trade hung in limbo, the team announced Sunday that backup catcher George Kottaras has officially been dealt to the Oakland Athletics in exchange for right-hander reliever Fautino De Los Santos.

Given 10 days to deal Kottaras after the team designated him for assignment Thursday, general manager Doug Melvin said he intended to find a major league home for Kottaras. And just three days later, Kottaras is with the A’s.

“George is a major league catcher,” Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said on Saturday. “To think about what he’s done for us last year and this year, and for him to have to go back to Triple A, that would bother me.

“We were playing him every fifth day. … Hopefully he’ll get some more at-bats. I think the less amount of at-bats you get, the possibility of it going bad is very likely.”

That had been the case for Kottaras in his last three months in a Brewers uniform, as a fast start soon turned into a .175 average since May began. But in Oakland, Kottaras will likely get the chance to split catching duties with struggling A’s catcher Kurt Suzuki, ensuring him more playing time than he had been getting in Milwaukee.

In return for Kottaras, the Brewers took a chance on De Los Santos, who has struggled mightily in 2012. He will start out at Triple-A Nashville. Though he has a strong 3.00 ERA in six major league games this season, De Los Santos’ time at Triple-A Sacramento — where he was 1-3 with a 7.25 ERA — was concerning. In 2011 — getting his first consistent opportunities at the major league level — De Los Santos tallied a 3-2 record with a 4.32 ERA and an impressive rate of 11.6 strikeouts per nine innings.

To make room for De Los Santos on the 40-man roster, the Brewers transferred pitcher Shaun Marcum to the 60-day disabled list. The move makes Marcum eligible to return to the Brewers rotation Aug. 14.

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