MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Brewers optioned right-hander Mike Fiers to Triple-A Nashville following Thursday’s 7-2 victory over San Francisco, opening the door for right-hander Hiram Burgos to come up from Nashville to make his big-league debut in a Saturday start against the Cubs.
Burgos, 25, was Milwaukee’s minor league pitcher of the year in 2012, posting a 10-4 record with a 1.95 ERA in 27 starts with three different minor league affiliates. After finishing the season with eight starts in Triple-A, Burgos returned to the Sounds to begin this year and has a 2.70 ERA in three starts.
Milwaukee’s sixth-round pick out of Bethune-Cookman College in 2009, Burgos doesn’t have an overpowering fastball but has a wide array of secondary pitches in his arsenal. Burgos was outstanding in this year’s World Baseball Classic, allowing just one run in 13 innings for a Puerto Rico team that made it all the way to the championship game.
Fiers has appeared in three games, making one start and posting an 8.59 ERA in in 7 1/3 innings. Making the rotation despite struggling in spring training, Fiers has been unable to find the command that made him one of the biggest surprises in baseball over a two-month span last season.
“Nothing is surprising in this game,” Fiers said Thursday. “I didn’t start off the year that well, so I’m definitely the odd man out to go down. They need someone right now that is reliable, and I guess they feel like I’m not that guy right now so I need to just get better.”
Fiers will start for the Sounds on Sunday and was told he will make at least two starts for Nashville before the Brewers make a decision on where they are at pitching-wise.
“Sending me to Nashville is not the end of the world,” Fiers said. “I still need to pitch well there, prove myself there and come back up and pitch again. It’s on me to pitch well and get back up here as soon as possible.”
Fiers had a 1.77 ERA in his first 11 outings and 10 starts for the Brewers last season, but struggled down the stretch and finished with a 3.74 ERA in 22 starts. He was unable to get back on track during the spring, and that carried over to this season.
Though he started the year as the fifth starter, Fiers has made just one start. The Brewers weren’t going to need a fifth starter until May, but last week’s rainout in Chicago made one necessary Saturday.
Roenicke wanted to see Fiers throw the ball well before giving him another start, but Fiers struggled in his relief outing Tuesday against the Giants and had to be pulled earlier than his manager had wanted.
He’s taking the approach that a trip to the minor leagues and consistent innings will help him get back on track.
“That’s how this game is,” Fiers said. “You are up and down and it’s tough. Every start is cruicial for me. Every outing I have to be at the top of my game. It’s tough, but I have to go through it and it will make me better for it in the end.”