MILWAUKEE -- Until the second game of a doubleheader on Tuesday night, Angel Salome was in a small group of the Brewers' top catching prospects, his absence this season to deal with emotional issues notwithstanding. All of a sudden, he's in a much larger pool of outfielders."Salome has informed the club that he no longer feels he can be a catcher," assistant general manager Gord Ash said. "As a result, he is going to stay in [Class A Brevard County] now and transition into the outfield." That move continues a strange season for Salome, who was in big league Spring Training camp with the Brewers. He started the season at Triple-A Nashville, but traveled home for the birth of a child and didn't return, telling the Brewers later that he needed time off. After counseling and a stint in extended spring camp, he was assigned to Double-A Huntsville and was in the Sounds' starting lineup over the weekend at catcher but declined to play. That's when he was demoted to Brevard County. The switch to outfield will probably make Salome's ascent to the Major Leagues more difficult. He was Milwaukee's fifth-round Draft pick in 2004. "If you look at the depth chart in the organization, there are a lot more outfielders on it than catchers," Ash said. "But you cannot force him to play somewhere he's not comfortable playing."
Zaun to have season-ending surgery
MILWAUKEE -- Brewers catcher Gregg Zaun, who was so excited going into this season to prove that a 39-year-old could be a reliable everyday catcher, will undergo season-ending surgery on Tuesday to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder.The procedure will be performed in Cincinnati by Reds team physician Dr. Timothy Kremchek. It requires about six months of recovery time, Zaun said. "The last five or six days of the rehabilitation exercises, we weren't making any progress," Zaun said. "I was coming back feeling exactly the same I did before." So, he chose surgery. "I wanted to feel good about my chances of coming back to play in 2011, and everybody tells me that this rehab is six months," Zaun said. "I'm not unrealistic. I know that next year, whether it's here or somewhere else, I'm going to be the kind of guy who is ready to play the opening day of Spring Training. So I need the extra time, and it was fish or cut-bait time for me. I needed to make a decision." After a spectacular Spring Training cemented his role as Milwaukee's regular catcher, Zaun started the season 0-for-21 at the plate, but batted .333 over his next 81 at-bats to boost his average to .265 before going on the disabled list May 21. He originally injured his shoulder in a plate collision with Washington's Ian Desmond in mid-April. Zaun thanked Brewers general manager Doug Melvin "for the faith he showed in me. He and I had high hopes."
Zaun is earning $1.9 million this season, including his $500,000 signing bonus. He expects the Brewers will decline his $2.25 million club option for 2011 and pay a $250,000 buyout instead. Zaun will turn 40 next April 14.Of the sudden end to his brief Brewers career, Zaun said: "It's tough. I feel like there's work, goals left unrealized. I had a lot higher hopes for this year."
Jeffress assigned to Class A, moved to 'pen
MILWAUKEE -- Former Brewers first-round Draft pick Jeremy Jeffress, coming off a 100-game drug suspension, was assigned to Class A Wisconsin on Wednesday and will probably spend the rest of this season as a reliever.Jeffress, a right-hander with a 100-mph fastball and Milwaukee's first-round pick in the 2006 First-Year Player Draft, had previously been molded as a starting pitcher. He threw two innings Tuesday on the final day of extended spring camp and is expected to make his Timber Rattlers debut on Sunday. "For probably the duration of this year, he will work out of the bullpen," assistant general manager Gord Ash said. "It's a proactive plan to keep him more focused and engaged. He feels, and we agree, that if he's of the mindset coming into the park every day that he may pitch, he will be more engaged in the process. That's OK with us." Jeffress' career has been stalled by trouble with marijuana. He was suspended 50 games in 2007 and 100 games last year, a ban that expired last month just after Jeffress developed some forearm discomfort in extended camp. Now he's ready to pitch, so the Brewers assigned him to their low Class A affiliate in Appleton, Wis., about 100 miles north of Miller Park. It remains to be seen whether Jeffress, 22, will transition back to a starter next season. "We don't know," Ash said. "We'll just have to see how it goes. We'll take it a step at a time. We'll see what we have."
Chris Capuano has been assigned to the Brewers' bullpen, manager Ken Macha said Wednesday. Capuano started against the Marlins last week, his first start in the Majors since September 2007, but the Brewers decided to reinstate Manny Parra to the rotation instead. "We're going to try to keep his arm in condition so that if something were to happen, he's ready to jump into the rotation," Macha said of Capuano. ... Macha batted Craig Counsell in the leadoff hole and Rickie Weeks second on Wednesday to split the left-handed-hitting Counsell and left-handed-hitting No. 3 hitter Prince Fielder. ... Jonathan Lucroy will catch for Thursday starter Dave Bush. Macha tried to pair Lucroy with left-hander Randy Wolf on Wednesday, but the pair had trouble communicating the signs. ... Note that Thursday's first pitch is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. CT. With school out in most of Southeast Wisconsin, the Brewers are finished with their 12:10 p.m. starts.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.