Brewers Find Bullpen Lefty In Shouse

With Jorge de la Rosa struggling mightily, the Brewers were in the market for another lefthanded relief option. They found one on Saturday, acquiring Brian Shouse from the Rangers for minor league third baseman Enrique Cruz and a player to be named.

Shouse, 37, is a sidearmer who has held lefty hitters to a .218 average in his seven seasons in the majors. His stuff won’t blow anyone away’"he has an 83-86 mph sinker and a slurvy breaking ball’"but he throws strikes and keeps the ball down in the zone. He had a 6.23 ERA in seven appearances for the Rangers this year before going on the disabled list April 23 with a strained calf. Eligible for arbitration for the first time following the 2005 season, he avoided the process and signed a one-year contract for $725,000 plus $50,000 in appearance-based incentives. He has a career 5-4, 3.99 record with one save in 221 big league games.

Signed out of the Dominican Republic by the Mets in 1998, Cruz was the No. 1 overall pick in the major league Rule 5 draft at the 2002 Winter Meetings. He spent all of 2003 in the majors with Milwaukee, going 6-for-71 (.085) with 30 strikeouts, and hasn’t made it back since. Now 24, Cruz has some gap power and hit .300 last year in Double-A, but he doesn’t control the strike zone well and his luster has faded. The Brewers gave up trying to make him a shortstop after he committed 37 errors in 2005, and he has spent most of this season at third base. Playing at Triple-A Nashville, he has batted .261/.320/.377 with one homer and 10 RBIs in 24 games. He’s a good athlete with enough arm for the hot corner.

Update: The Rangers received cash considerations from the Brewers to complete the trade.

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