The Brewers have claimed righty Junior Guerra off waivers from the White Sox, per a club announcement (hat tip to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, on Twitter). To create roster space, Milwaukee has designated catcher Nevin Ashley for assignment.
Today’s waiver claim marks the team’s first acquisition under the leadership of GM David Stearns. It’s not an obviously significant move at first glance, but it is interesting.
Guerra, 30, returned to a big league organization for the first time since 2008. In the interim, he played independent ball and threw in the Venezuelan winter league. Despite never before appearing above the High-A level, Guerra jumped into the upper minors and earned his first MLB call-up in Chicago.
Though he only tossed four big league innings, he averaged 94.1 mph with his fastball. Guerra obviously showed enough in the minors to draw Milwaukee’s attention. Over 83 1/3 frames — most of them at the Triple-A level, and including 11 starts — he pitched to a 3.13 ERA with 11.3 K/9 against 3.6 BB/9.
As for Ashley, the 31-year-old also made his MLB debut this year, registering two base hits in limited action. He earned that brief promotion with a solid year at Triple-A, putting up a productive .306/.374/.442 batting line over 381 plate appearances. That represents the sixth season in which Ashley has seen time at the highest level of the minors, where he’s slashed .259/.339/.391 over 1,161 turns at bat.