The Brewers announced tonight that they will activate right-hander Corey Knebel from the disabled list tomorrow and designate fellow righty reliever Neil Ramirez for assignment in order to clear a spot on the roster.
Ramirez, 27, was claimed off waivers from the division-rival Cubs just nine days ago and made only two appearances with the Brewers before his somewhat surprising DFA. The former No. 44 overall pick yielded two runs in 1 2/3 innings in his short time with Milwaukee, but as recently as 2014 he looked to be an emerging setup man with the Cubs. Ramirez was originally drafted by the Rangers out of high school in 2007, and he was included in the trade that sent right-hander Matt Garza (now with Milwaukee) from Chicago to the Rangers in 2013. He posted a 1.87 ERA with 68 strikeouts against 23 walks in 57 2/3 innings with the Cubs from 2014-15, though his 2015 campaign was derailed by right shoulder inflammation and an abdominal injury. Ramirez also dealt with triceps soreness back in 2014, and his fastball velocity is down more than two miles per hour since that strong 2014 debut.
While the injuries are clearly a cause for some concern, Ramirez’s former prospect pedigree and success in the 2014-15 season make him somewhat of an intriguing play for a team that can afford to take a chance on a controllable bullpen piece. It’s worth noting that the Braves, Reds, Padres and D-backs — each of whom had waiver priority over the Brewers when he was claimed on May 31 — passed on Ramirez last time he was placed on waivers, however, so it’s also certainly possible that he could slip through waivers a second time around if the Brewers elect to go that route rather than pursue a trade.