The Milwaukee Brewers optioned right-handed reliever Michael Blazek to Triple-A Nashville on Sunday, narrowing down the candidate pool for the final spots in the bullpen.
Blazek, who turned 25 on Sunday, again struggled with his command this spring training, walking eight batters with a 10.80 ERA in five innings.
Acquired from St. Louis in the John Axford trade last August, Blazek has the stuff to be a late-inning reliever but hasn’t developed the necessary command. He walked 26 in 45 2/3 minor-league innings last season and issued 13 free passes in 17 1/3 innings with the Cardinals and Brewers.
The Brewers can afford to have some patience with Blazek, as he had two option years remaining entering this season.
With Tom Gorzelanny likely beginning the season on the disabled list, Milwaukee likely has three open spots in its bullpen. Rule 5 pick Wei-Chung Wang, Alfredo Figaro, Rob Wooten, Zach Duke, Donovan Hand and Tyler Thornburg are still in the mix to make the team as relievers.