The Milwaukee Brewers trimmed their spring training roster by two on Monday, optioning pitchers Tyler Thornburg and Johnny Hellweg to Triple-A Nashville.
Two of the top arms in the organization, both were considered long shots to break camp with the Brewers.
Thornburg, 24, has appeared in two spring training games and posted a 9.00 ERA in four innings of work. The right-hander pitched in eight games and made three starts for the Brewers in 2012, tossing 22.0 innings with a 4.50 ERA.
With numerous arms ahead of him fighting for a spot in Milwaukee’s rotation, Thornburg will anchor Nashville’s pitching staff and will be available to the Brewers if needed during the course of the season.
Acquired last July in the Zack Greinke trade, Hellweg has a 4.15 ERA in 8-2/3 spring training innings this season. The 6-foot-9 power arm has yet to pitch above Double A, but went 7-11 with a 3.29 ERA between two Double-A teams last season.
The Brewers have yet to make clear whether the 24-year-old will work as a starter or a reliever for Nashville.
Milwaukee is down to 48 in big league camp with Thornburg and Hellweg heading back to the minor leagues.