Lofgren Appreciates New Opportunity With Brewers





MARYVALE, Ariz.—Thanks to maneuvering beyond his control, lefthander Chuck Lofgren never had much of a chance to make the Brewers' big league roster during spring training.

But that didn't mean the Brewers wanted to surrender their big league Rule 5 draft pick.

Rather than offering Lofgren back to the Indians, the Brewers worked out a deal in which they traded righthander Omar Aguilar to Cleveland as compensation. The Brewers then sent Lofgren outright to Triple-A Nashville.

"I'm really excited to stay in the organization," Lofgren, 24, said. "I feel like the Brewers have given me a great opportunity here.

"I couldn't be happier. It's a fresh start with a new team and a class organization like this."

Lofgren cleared waivers before the deal was made, allowing the Brewers to remove him from their 40-man roster. Though he pitched strictly in relief in spring camp, tossing four scoreless innings, Lofgren will return to his former starting role.

"When we drafted him in the Rule 5, we hadn't signed (Doug) Davis," general manager Doug Melvin said. "We added more depth later on. But we liked what we saw of him. I liked his attitude, how he goes about things.

"We think he's maybe ready to take off. We'll let him go down there and get a chance to pitch on a regular basis. Rule 5 guys don't get much of an opportunity."

Aguilar, 25, was once considered one of the top pitching prospects in the system, but he fell out of favor after an extended streak of wildness earned him a demotion from Double-A Huntsville to high Class A Brevard County last season.

Lofgren, a fouth-round pick by the Indians in 2004, knew the odds were stacked against him.

"When you have a rookie, like myself, on a team that's going to be one of the best teams in the National League, they want more of a veteran approach," Lofgren said, "with pitchers who have been in the league awhile, which I fully understand.

"I'll just control my part and I'll be ready when they make the call," he said. "I've come a long way in the last two years. I think this is best for me, especially with the way I've pitched here. I feel I belong here."

MICROBREWS

• Third baseman Mat Gamel suffered a partial tear of the latissimus dorsi muscle in his right shoulder midway through spring training and was expected to miss six to eight weeks.

• Righthander Josh Butler was not able to pitch during exhibition season because he suffered inflammation in his elbow and had to be shut down.