The battle for the backup shortstop job was cut to two Thursday, as the Milwaukee Brewers optioned Luis Sardinas and outfielder Shane Peterson to Triple-A Colorado Springs.
Acquired from Texas as part of the Yovani Gallardo trade, Sardinas recovered from a 1-for-19 start to hit .294 in 34 at-bats this spring.
Sardinas made his big-league debut with the Rangers in 2014, hitting .261 with eight RBI in 43 games. With Jean Segura returning as Milwaukee’s starting shortstop, the 21-year-old will likely benefit from playing every day in Triple-A. He had two minor-league options left, meaning he can go between the minors and the big leagues in 2015 and 2016.
"It’s difficult coming over to a new team at 21 years old, like he did," manager Ron Roenike said. "I thought he did a good job for us. The last couple games he’s really swung the bat well. I was happy with what he did.
"He’s a guy, when he came over, that we were looking at to possibly make our team. But, we’re also realizing that his future may be as a starting shortstop rather than as a utility man. So you give him an opportunity to play every day and see how good he could be."
The departure of Sardinas leaves Hector Gomez and Elian Herrera as the remaining candidates for the backup shortstop job. Gomez has been the favorite to win the job all along, as he is on the 40-man roster and is out of minor-league options. While he is also out of options, adding Herrera would require a corresponding roster move.
Gomez is hitting .268 with a home run and four RBI in 41 at-bats this spring, while Herrera is hitting .345 with a home run and six RBI in 29 at-bats.
The move to option Peterson to Triple-A was an expected one, as the 27-year-old was claimed off waivers in December to provide outfield depth in Colorado Springs. In 26 at-bats this spring, Peterson hit .296 with a home run and four RBI.
"Offensively I can see why he puts up the numbers he does," Roenicke said of Peterson. "He’s got a very good approach. He’s got a really flat swing and drives the ball to all parts of the field. That’s always going to allow him to be a good hitter. Defensively, I put him in center some, but I think he’s better in the corners. He came in here and showed what kind of hitter he is. And that’s what we wanted to see."
John Pesetski contrbuted to this story from Brewers’ camp in Phoenix