9/2/2013 6:42 P.M. ET
Out of limbo, Blazek joins Brewers' bullpen
By Adam McCalvy and Kevin Massoth / MLB.com
MILWAUKEE -- For a few days, Michael Blazek was in limbo, but on Monday he joined the Brewers, a new team and a new start for the 24-year-old right-hander. It began with a scoreless eighth inning and one strikeout in Milwaukee's 5-2 loss to the Pirates.
Blazek -- the player to be named in the trade that sent John Axford to the Cardinals -- was technically sent down to the Cardinals' Triple-A affiliate in Memphis after he pitched for the Cards on Wednesday, but actually was just at the Drury Inn in St. Louis, waiting for word from the team.
"They just kind of said, 'Go to your hotel. We'll call you and talk to you in the next day with what's going on,'" said Blazek. "At first I was like, 'OK, waiting to see if a spot opens, or to wait until [Memphis'] season is over and I'll come back up.' I really didn't know anything until the second or third day into sitting around.
"Yeah, I've never really had to deal with that kind of thing before. You know, just sitting around not really knowing what was going on. By Saturday, late Saturday, me and [Cardinals manager] Mike [Matheny] kind of talked and he said, 'Just start preparing yourself, you're probably getting traded, you're probably going to be the guy.'"
Blazek, who throws a fastball, curveball, slider, changeup and cutter, and can hit 95-96 mph, made 11 appearances out of the Cardinals' bullpen this season, posting a 6.97 ERA in 10 1/3 innings.
Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said Blazek -- a closer with Double-A Springfield and Triple-A this year, and a reliever with the Cardinals -- will work out of the Brewers' bullpen.
"His fastball was outstanding," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said after Blazek's Labor Day debut. "I saw tapes on him. He's got a good curveball, a good slider, but today, he was up with those pitches. Threw a great changeup to [Garrett] Jones, but his fastball was really good."
Blazek's inflated numbers came from two outings in which he allowed six of his eight earned runs. In his 11 appearances, Blazek walked 10 batters, something he attributed to being a little over-amped in his first big league season. Five of them came in those two rough appearances, against Houston and Cincinnati.
"I think I was trying to do a little too much," he said. "The last outing I had [1 2/3 scoreless innings against the Reds on Wednesday] was actually probably the most comfortable I felt since I first came up. I think in between, I was just trying to prove too much and trying to do too much in those outings, and it kind of got away from me a little bit. But once you get a little comfortable and settle in, everything should be fine."
Crew recalls top prospects Nelson, Hellweg, Halton
MILWAUKEE -- After Monday's 5-2 loss to the Pirates, the Brewers announced three more September callups from Triple-A Nashville: 24-year-old pitchers Jimmy Nelson and Johnny Hellweg, and infielder Sean Halton.
Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said Nelson, who has not pitched in relief since 2011, will be used out of the bullpen, but may get a start down the road.
"He'll join our bullpen," Roenicke said. "Later on, we'll see where we are. If we can slide him in to get him a start, that might be good. But I'm not sure yet."
Nelson -- ranked as the Brewers' top prospect by MLB.com -- will make his Major League debut. In 15 starts with Nashville this season, the right-hander had a 5-6 record and 3.67 ERA. He was promoted to Triple-A in early June from Double-A Huntsville, where he was 5-4 with a 2.74 ERA in 12 starts. Nelson finished with 163 strikeouts and 65 walks in 152 1/3 innings between the two levels.
Hellweg --- the No. 3 Brewers prospect on MLB.com's list -- has had an interesting year, dominating at Nashville on his way to Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Year honors, but scuffling in his first trip to the big leagues.
The 6-foot-9, 205-pound right-hander made three starts and a relief appearance with the Brewers from June 28-July 10 and struggled to an 0-3 record and 10.97 ERA. His control was the major issue, walking five in each of his final two starts and 13 overall in 10 2/3 innings.
At Nashville, Hellweg went 12-5 with a 3.15 ERA in 23 starts. He struck out 89 and walked 81 in 125 2/3 innings.
Hellweg will join the Brewers' rotation, but Roenicke did not announce the schedule.
"We've got it mapped out," Roenicke said. "But like I said, we'll go to a six-man rotation, and he's going to be a little more than just his normal five days' rest."
Halton hit .218 with a home run and six RBIs in 24 games with the Brewers this season. Roenicke said Halton will see time at first base against left-handed pitchers.
Gorzelanny makes quick exit with shoulder tightness
MILWAUKEE -- Tom Gorzelanny faced one batter and threw only two pitches in the seventh inning of Monday's 5-2 loss to the Pirates before exiting the game with left shoulder tightness.
After Gorzelanny gave up a single to Pirates starting pitcher Charlie Morton, he was met at the mound by manager Ron Roenicke and assistant trainer David Yeager.
"He couldn't get loose," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "Little bit of a cuff irritation, but that should be day to day. He's got a little weakness there and a little irritation. I don't think he'll have to be shut down."
Alfredo Figaro came on, and immediately gave up a single to Jose Tabata and a three-run home run to Neil Walker, extending the Pirates' lead to 5-1. One of the three runs was credited to Gorzelanny.
Banged-up Gomez asks Roenicke for rare day off
MILWAUKEE -- After an uncharacteristically trying day of defense Sunday, Brewers center fielder Carlos Gomez asked to take a break on Labor Day.
Gomez was absent from the Brewers' lineup Monday afternoon, a chance to rest a myriad of bumps and bruises, including a right knee that is still giving him trouble. He sprained the knee on Aug. 15 against the Reds, missed six games, then started nine in a row through Sunday.
In recent days, Gomez has been clearly compromised. A Mike Trout line drive knuckled over his head in the first inning Sunday, a Luis Jimenez popup that a healthy Gomez probably tracks down dropped for a hit in the second inning, and another Trout line drive to the right-center field gap got by Gomez for a triple in the third.
"It's a good day, after two early games, to have a day [off]," said Gomez, whose knee "is still not 100 percent. You see me limping, especially after a game I have to run a lot. Yesterday, I had a rough time and I had a few balls in the gap I had to run [for]. I feel a little fatigued."
Gomez passed word through a coach to manager Ron Roenicke that he could use a rare day on the bench. Gomez made clear he was available late in the game.
Offensively, Gomez matched his career high with his 19th home run Sunday, but it was his first since Aug. 6. He entered Monday batting .213 in his last 22 games with four extra-base hits, and batting .241 over his last 60 games to drop his average from .326 on June 12 to .286 on Sunday.
"He's kind of like [shortstop Jean Segura], he's a little beat up," Roenicke said. "Most of these guys are. None of them are enough to keep him out of the lineup, but to just keep putting him out there when he's worn down, he suggested that he needed a day."
Guerrero brings praise for lower-level prospects
MILWAUKEE -- Minor League hitting coordinator Sandy Guerrero has joined the big league Brewers as an extra coach for September, and arrived bearing high praise for some offensive prospects in the lower levels of the team's Minor League system.
Guerrero had particular praise for a trio that played for a Class A Wisconsin club that finished its season Monday afternoon: outfielders Tyrone Taylor and Victor Roache, and shortstop Orlando Arcia.
"We have a lot of kids that did really well at the lower levels," Guerrero said. "These are young kids in their first year playing baseball on the road, and they did really well. A lot of guys did a lot better than we expected."
Of Arcia, who entered Monday batting .249 with 20 steals, Guerrero said: "He played the season mostly at 18 years old, and for 18, he did really good. He missed the whole of last year with a broken ankle, and for a young kid, he plays way above his age. His energy and everything. He improved a lot."
Taylor entered Monday's season finale batting .274 with eight home runs and 57 RBIs. Roache was hitting .248 with 22 homers -- matching Khris Davis' Class A Wisconsin record -- and 74 RBIs.
"Taylor, his overall game is so good," Guerrero said. "He runs, he plays defense and he can also hit. What he brings to the team and to the game, he's shown at his age that he does it all."
Other players who stood out included advanced Class A Brevard County's Mitch Haniger and first baseman Nick Ramirez. Haniger, who is headed to the Arizona Fall League, batted .264 with 11 home runs, 68 RBIs and a .348 on-base percentage between Wisconsin and Brevard County. Ramirez hit .258 with 19 homers -- matching Hunter Morris' team record -- and 81 RBIs in 134 games at Brevard.
"Haniger played at two levels and handled himself really well," Guerrero said. "We forget that this was Haniger's first [full] year, because he played only  games last year and got hurt. His overall numbers are really good. He has that ability -- it's instincts that you have to be born with -- that he gives you a professional at-bat every time. He's thought of the at-bat, thought of the pitcher. That's something you're born with.
"Nick, he had a tremendous improvement season. He cut his strikeouts in a tough pitching league, his average was higher, his walk total is higher, his homers are higher. We know he can play the field -- he's a great defensive guy -- and with the improvement that he's done with his bat, he's looking pretty good."
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. Kevin Massoth is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.