01/10/13 7:26 PM ET
Crew signs Escobar, avoids arbitration with Narveson
Limited since 2007, righty inks Minors deal; southpaw agrees to one-year pact
By Adam McCalvy / MLB.com
The Brewers signed Escobar to a Minor League contract Thursday that includes an invitation to big league camp, where he will reunite with former Blue Jays general manager Gord Ash (now Milwaukee's assistant GM) and former Angels coach Ron Roenicke (now Milwaukee's manager). Escobar, 37 in April, will compete for a spot in the Brewers' remodeled bullpen.
"It's been a while," Escobar told fans via Twitter on Thursday night, "but I feel great and know I can help this team."
He made 201 starts and 209 relief appearances for the Blue Jays and Angels from 1997-2007, but developed shoulder injuries after going 18-7 with a 3.40 ERA for the Angels in '07 and did not pitch again in the Majors until 2009, when he made one start and again went down.
The Brewers pursued Escobar in free agency the following winter, but he signed a one-year deal with the Mets instead, only to re-injure his right shoulder before throwing a regular-season pitch. He has not appeared in the U.S. since then.
But he has pitched at home in Venezuela and indicated recently an interest in mounting a comeback. Brewers scouts there, including director of Latin American scouting Manny Batista, reported Escobar reaching the mid-90s with his fastball and filed favorable reports. He allowed two earned runs in 11 innings for Lara in the Venezuelan Winter League.
"We'll give him a look and see what we have," Ash said. "Sometimes guys take a couple of years off, and they're refreshed."
Also on Thursday, the Brewers announced that left-hander Chris Narveson had agreed to a one-year contract -- worth $840,000 as reported by The Associated Press -- avoiding arbitration in his first year of eligibility. Relievers John Axford and Burke Badenhop, starter Marco Estrada and center fielder Carlos Gomez remain eligible.