Just in case there was any doubt that Nyjer Morgan’s tenure in Milwaukee was coming to an end, the Brewers announced today that they have outrighted the outspoken outfielder to Triple-A Nashville. The moves clears him from the 40-man roster and sets the stage for him to become a free agent.
After playing a key part in the Brewers’ NL Central title in 2011, Morgan batted just .239/.302/.308 with three home runs, 16 RBI, 12 stolen bases and a .610 OPS in 122 games this season. The 32-year-old earned $2.35 million in 2012 and is arbitration-eligible for the second time this winter, so he was already an obvious non-tender candidate. According to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Brewers assistant general manager Gord Ash said today that the club has no intention to attempt to work out a new deal with Morgan.
In other Brewers news, Jose Veras elected to become a free agent today after refusing an assignment to Triple-A Nashville. The 32-year-old right-hander was acquired from the Pirates last December for Casey McGehee and posted a 3.63 ERA and 79/40 K/BB ratio over 67 innings this season.
Adrian Beltre has been on the disabled list all year because of nagging right calf strain, but he’s about to take a big step toward getting back to action.
Beltre has been cleared to begin playing in extended spring training games. He’ll commence them tomorrow at the Rangers facility in Surprise, Arizona. After three games the team’s doctors will reevaluate him. If things go well, he’ll likely be sent off for a full minor league rehab assignment.
Joey Gallo has filled in for Beltre all season, bringing a lot of power but not much else to the table. While Beltre is 38, his all-around game would be welcomed back on the field and his leadership would be welcomed back in the Rangers clubhouse. On a personal note, Beltre is only 58 hits shy of 3,000 for his career.
Barring a setback, he’ll be back with the big club in early June and will hit the milestone eventually.
Outfielder Michael Bourn was traded by the Diamondbacks to the Orioles late last season and hit a solid .283/.358/.435 in 55 plate appearances with them through the end of the season. While that’s not enough to outweigh the miserable season he had in Arizona, it was enough to get the O’s to give him a look in spring training with a minor league deal. They signed him to one in late February.
Then, a couple of days later, Bourn broke his finger while playing catch with a football. Unable to play, the O’s cut him. In early April, once Bourn healed, the O’s signed him again. He played 11 games for their Triple-A affiliate and went 9-for-41 with ten walks in 51 plate appearances. While that makes for a decent OBP, his lack of any sort of pop or good contact suggests that if someone throws him strikes, he can’t do much with the ball.
As such, the O’s had not called him up to Baltimore. And as a result of that, Bourn exercised his opt-out rights and became a free agent.
Someone may take a look at him given that his batting eye seems to be intact and given that, in an admittedly small sample size, he still performed last season. But if he does get a look, it’ll likely be back at the minor league level.