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05/27/08 9:55 PM ET

Brewers add Tavarez to bullpen mix

Extra reliever needed with slew of injuries at back end of 'pen

MILWAUKEE -- The newest Brewer wanted to introduce himself to all of his teammates before introducing himself to reporters.

So veteran reliever Julian Tavarez asked for time to get settled before answering questions. He had a busy Tuesday, undergoing a physical examination and then signing a contract with the Brewers for the rest of the season.

Tavarez, 35, surrendered nine earned runs in nine appearances for Boston this year before he was designated for assignment. He was in uniform No. 50 for the opener of the Brewers' three-game series against the Braves.

"He's available," Milwaukee manager Ned Yost said. "He hasn't pitched in a while, but I think he threw a couple of innings against a junior college after he was released [and] he's kept himself sharp. He's been in this game a long time and he knows what he needs to do to stay sharp."

The Brewers needed as many arms as they could get. Right-hander David Riske will not be ready to come off the disabled list when he becomes eligible on Friday, according to assistant general manager Gord Ash. Riske hyperextended his right elbow earlier this month and was still experiencing discomfort. He was scheduled to see head team physician William Raasch on Wednesday and could undergo another MRI.

Closer Eric Gagne is also on the DL, with a right shoulder injury. He is eligible to return on June 5.

Tavarez worked out for Brewers officials on Saturday in Washington, D.C., then traveled with the team back to Milwaukee and passed a physical on Tuesday.

To clear a spot on the 25-man roster, the Brewers optioned left-hander Zach Jackson back to Triple-A Nashville.

The Brewers will pay Tavarez a pro-rated portion of the Major League minimum salary.

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.