© 2008 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.
04/22/08 7:00 PM ET
Brewers trade Gross to Rays
Club receives Minor League pitcher Butler in return
By Adam McCalvy / MLB.com
MILWAUKEE -- Gabe Gross rounded third and headed home to score the winning run Tuesday.
Then he headed to Tampa.
Capping a weird day at Miller Park that included a four-hour, 28-minute game in which Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols played three innings at second base and three pitchers appeared as pinch-hitters, the Brewers traded Gross to the Rays for a Minor League pitcher just minutes after Gross crossed the plate for a 12-inning, 9-8 victory over St. Louis.
"Some day," Gross said with a shrug.
In return for Gross, a left-handed-hitting outfielder who spent two-plus seasons with the Brewers, the team received 6-foot-5 right-hander Josh Butler and will send him to Class A Brevard County. Butler, 23, was Tampa's second-round pick in the 2006 First-Year Player Draft.
To replace Gross on the 25-man roster, the Brewers will recall outfielder Tony Gwynn, Jr. from his rehabilitation stint at Triple-A Nashville before Wednesday's game against the Phillies at Miller Park. Gwynn made his fourth start for Nashville on Tuesday while recovering from a left hamstring strain and went 3-for-4, boosting his average there to .538 (7-for-13).
With Gwynn getting healthy and center fielder Mike Cameron set to return from a 25-game suspension next week, the Brewers were flush with outfielders.
"Something had to give," Gross said. "I do my best not to try to figure this game out as far as trades and different things like that. We've got a lot of quality baseball players and a lot of quality outfielders. When Mike comes back there's going to be a lot less playing time."
Gross had moved into a starting role for Milwaukee with injuries to Gwynn and Gabe Kapler (shoulder) and had just started to produce. After going 2-for-3 against the Cardinals on Monday he was 2-for-4 in Tuesday's win and scored three runs including the game-winner on Kapler's single in the bottom of the 12th inning.
Gross walked and stole second base to spark the rally. He's batting .209 with two RBIs for the season, but has come on over the last week.
"I really struggled the first couple of weeks," said Gross, who entered an April 16 game in St. Louis batting .091. "I was hitting the ball hard and not getting any hits. Really, in the last four or five days I've really, really started feeling good. Hopefully that can continue and I can go down there and help [the Rays] win ballgames."
With Gwynn back in the fold, it's clear that the Brewers will stick with 14 pitchers and only 11 position players for the time being. Cameron will play five games at Nashville beginning Thursday and is eligible to join the Brewers on April 29 in Chicago.
Butler was 0-2 with a 6.35 ERA in three starts at Class A Vero Beach this season.