Thursday, Jan. 12, 2012

Brewers claim Bianchi, sign McClung, Phillips to minor league deals

By Nicole
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The Brewers claimed 25-year-old infielder Jeff Bianchi off waivers from the Cubs this week. Bianchi was only Cubs property for a month, as they had claimed him from waivers from the Royals.

KC drafted him in 2005. He's spent the last six years in the minors, hitting .281 with a .335 OBP.

He's an infielder and will likely be fighting for the spot of a bench player who would give the Brewers depth for their fairly thin infiled corps. If there were another injury, similar to the one Rickie Weeks suffered last season that kept him out for an extended time, the Brewers don't currently have a long-term solution.

Bianchi had Tommy John surgery in 2010.

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The Brewers brought back RHP relief pitcher Seth McClung this week. He was signed to a minor league contract with no invite to big league Spring Training.

McClung says he wouldn't have signed this contract for any other team other than the Brewers. He expects to get some mop up ST innings and hopes to prove himself.

He hasn't pitched in the majors since 2009.

He did have an odd quote, saying he liked "99.9% of the people in Milwaukee." Not sure why he would go out of his way to point out that there are clearly people in Milwaukee he does not like. For a guy without a definitive shot at the majors, I'm not sure why he'd take the chance of alienating even more folks. Those quotes are usually pretty standard and throw away. Just say "I loved my time in Milwaukee. They're great." and leave it at that.

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They also signed journeyman catcher Paul Phillips to a minor league contract. He will be the 10th non-roster invitee and the third catcher.

The Brewers signed George Kottaras to a one-year deal, so he's likely the second-string catcher on the major league roster. Martin Maldonado is probably third in line. Not sure what role Phillips would have with the club.

From the Brewers story on Phillips' signing:

"Phillips, who will turn 35 in April, has played 91 games in the Majors with the Royals (2004-07), White Sox (2008) and Rockies (2009-10). He spent last season with the Indians' Triple-A Columbus affiliate and batted .237 with three home runs and 24 RBIs in 78 games."

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