Center Field Area Of Focus For Brewers

MILWAUKEE–The Brewers will have some interesting competition for their center field job.

To provide veteran coverage at the position, the Brewers claimed Kirk Nieuwenhuis on waivers from the Mets and signed free agent Eric Young Jr. to a minor league deal. They also acquired speedy prospect Keon Broxton from the Pirates in a deal that sent first baseman Jason Rogers to Pittsburgh.

Also in the mix is Domingo Santana, acquired from the Astros last July in the Carlos Gomez-Mike Fiers trade. Santana is more suited to the corner outfield but played mostly in center over the final weeks of the season, with Khris Davis and Ryan Braun entrenched in left and right field, respectively.

“At this point, we have an open competition there,” general manager David Stearns said. “Anyone can win it.”

Broxton, 25, no doubt welcomes the opportunity because there was no room for him in a Pittsburgh outfield anchored by center fielder Andrew McCutchen. He split the 2015 season between Double-A Altoona and Triple-A Indianapolis, batting .273 with a .357 OBP, 27 doubles, 12 triples, 10 home runs, 68 RBI and 39 stolen bases in 133 games.

“He gives us increased depth in the outfield and has a chance to play center field,” Stearns said. “We think Keon has a chance to be a real asset to our team, beginning this year.”

The other player acquired in the trade with Pittsburgh, righthander Trey Supak, won’t be on the Brewers’ radar for some time. Supak, 19, was taken in the supplemental second round of the 2014 draft and spent his first two pro seasons in Rookie-level ball.

“Trey was a highly sought-after pitcher coming out of the draft in 2014 and we’re pleased that we’re able to continue to stock our system with quality, young pitching prospects,” Stearns said.


• The Brewers assigned catcher Josmil Pinto outright to Triple-A Colorado Springs after he cleared waivers. Milwaukee designated him for assignment to create 40-man space to sign first baseman Chris Carter.

• Mike Guerrero, who was not retained as first base coach by the Brewers, remained in the organization by being assigned to manage at Double-A Biloxi. In essence, he exchanged places with Carlos Subero, who was promoted from managing the Shuckers to coaching first base in Milwaukee.

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