Brewers calling up Francisco Rodriguez

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Today’s the day Francisco Rodriguez can opt out of his minor-league contract with the Brewers if they haven’t called him up and Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports that K-Rod is on the way back to the majors.

Rodriguez’s deal pays him $2 million for cracking the Brewers’ roster, so they clearly feel he can help in a setup role. And he was plenty useful last season, throwing 72 innings with a 4.38 ERA and 72/31 K/BB ratio.

Rodriguez made a total of four appearances between Single-A and Triple-A, throwing four scoreless innings with seven strikeouts and three walks. And given how the Brewers’ late-inning situation has been influx it’s not totally inconceivable that he could be in line for some saves at some point.

Mariners claim Kaleb Cowart off waivers from Angels

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The Mariners announced that the club claimed Kaleb Cowart off waivers from the Angels. Interestingly, the Mariners list Cowart as both an outfielder and a right-handed pitcher. Cowart has never pitched professionally, but the Mariners will try him as a two-way player next season, Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times reports. Cowart was a highly regarded pitcher in high school.

Cowart, 26, has played all over the field, spending most of his time at third base and second base, but also logging a handful of innings at first base, shortstop, and left field.  He hasn’t hit much at all, owning a career .177/.241/.293 triple-slash line across 380 plate appearances in the big leagues. It makes sense to try another angle.

Shohei Ohtani, of course, is helping to popularize the rebirth of the two-way player. In his first year in the majors after having played in Japan for five years, Ohtani won the AL Rookie of the Year Award by posting a .925 OPS in 367 plate appearances along with a 3.31 ERA over 10 starts. Don’t expect Cowart to hit those lofty numbers, but additional versatility could prolong his life in the majors.