The Milwaukee Brewers made more cuts following Friday’s exhibition victory over Arizona, optioning three players to Triple-A and returning four to minor-league camp.
First baseman/outfielder Sean Halton, right-hander Mike Fiers and right-hander Hiram Burgos were optioned to Triple-A Nashville, while outfielder Kevin Mattison, catcher Matt Pagnozzi, infielder/outfielder Eugenio Velez and right-hander Dustin Molleken were returned to minor-league camp.
Needing another catcher in camp to replace Pagnozzi, the Brewers added Lucas May to big-league camp as a non-roster invitee.
Halton, who made his MLB debut with the Brewers in 2013, spent most of his spring playing in the outfield. The 26-year-old hit .261 with three RBI in 23 at-bats over 14 spring training games. He’ll see plenty of playing time at the corner outfield spots or first base for the Sounds.
Fiers was a long shot to make the roster, as he’s looking to bounce back from a tough season. The right-hander allowed two runs in two innings this spring. He broke onto the scene in 2012 with a 3.74 ERA in 23 starts for the Brewers but only appeared in 11 games with a 7.25 ERA in 2013.
The 28-year-old suffered a broken forearm in early June while pitching for Nashville and didn’t pitch again.
Burgos is also coming off a season-ending injury, as a shoulder ailment cut short his year in 2013. He allowed six runs in 6 2/3 innings this spring and will likely be in the starting rotation in Triple-A.
Mattison, Pagnozzi and Molleken didn’t have much of a chance to break camp with Milwaukee, while Velez had slim hopes of winning the utility bench spot. The Brewers wanted to see what Velez could do with the bat after he hit .377 in Triple- A last season, but he had just one hit in 18 spring at-bats (.056 batting average).
The 29-year-old May played in 12 games for Kansas City in 2010, hitting .189 with six RBI. He spent 2013 in Triple-A with the Pirates.
Milwaukee now has 36 players remaining in big-league camp.