Brewers just barely pretending that Livan Hernandez is still a pitcher

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There’s a long story about all the things Livan Hernandez brings to the Brewers in today’s Journal-Sentinel.

There’s an extended bit about how he’s jovial and well-liked and can help hitters figure out how pitchers pitch them and stuff. Normally such a person is called a coach, but that’s OK.  But really, Doug Melvin, tell us about Livan’s pitching prowess:

“He’s a veteran guy who can take the ball,” said general manager Doug Melvin. “He can take the abuse if he has to on certain nights, but we also think he can get people out. He gives you a little bit different look for our bullpen, too.”

Parsing:

He’s a veteran guy: “That’s a factual statement. I would technically be lying if I claimed Hernandez to be a rookie.”

Who can take the ball: “He is not insubordinate and has at least one hand.”

He can take the abuse if he has to on certain nights: “On other nights he can’t take the inevitable abuse he will receive. Really, it’s about coping for him.”

But we also think he can get people out: “It’s a bonus if he does the one job the pitcher is supposed to do. Gravy, really.”

He gives you a little bit different look for our bullpen, too: “Indeed, we haven’t had anyone with his distinct look since we sent Bob Wickman away in the Richie Sexson deal.”

After the interview, Melvin found the media relations guy and fined him $50 for making him actually answer questions about the value a castoff mopup man brings to the team.

Tigers sign Edwin Espinal to minor league deal

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Free agent first baseman Edwin Espinal has signed a minor league deal with the Tigers, the infielder announced Saturday. The move has yet to be confirmed by the team.

Espinal, 23, capped a seven-year run with the Pirates’ minor league affiliates in 2017. He split his season between Double-A Altoona and Triple-A Indianapolis, batting a cumulative .294/.327/.447 with 15 home runs and 31 doubles in 532 plate appearances. While he’s raked at nearly every level so far, he also profiles well on defense, and rounded off his 2017 performance with a perfect fielding percentage, 208 putouts and a Gold Glove award.

Espinal is untested at the major league level and it’s not yet clear if he’ll make the jump in 2018. He showed some positional versatility during his time in the minors, however, and could take reps at third base or DH if necessary. The Tigers are reportedly on the lookout for pitching depth and left-handed bats — two bills the right-handed Espinal doesn’t fit — and presumably have a lot of moves left to make this winter.