The Brewers have signed right-hander Colin Rea to a minor league deal, as per MLB.com’s official transactions page. Rea has been assigned to the Triple-A Nashville Sounds and is likely to start tomorrow’s game, according to Sounds announcer Jeff Hem (Twitter link).
Rea had a 2.03 ERA over 40 innings for the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks this season, but he left the Japanese team earlier this month in order to return to his family in the United States following the premature birth of his child (reporter Jim Allen has the details). The righty has now caught on with the Brewers and will look to participate in a Major League season for the fourth time in his career.
After tossing 134 1/3 innings with the Padres and Marlins in 2015-16, Rea underwent a Tommy John surgery and then didn’t return to the big leagues until last season with the Cubs. (He pitched in San Diego and Chicago farm systems in 2018-19.) Rea’s comeback year saw him post a 5.79 ERA over 14 innings for the Cubs, before the team released him during the offseason to sign with the Hawks.
Rea has worked as a starter for much of his career, and his assignment Sunday with Nashville indicates that the Brewers will continue to keep him stretched out. He might provide some rotation depth for a team still missing Adrian Houser and Eric Lauer to the COVID list, though the ever-creative Brewers could use Rea as a long man, piggyback starter, or perhaps a bulk pitcher at the MLB level, if not simply as a normal starter or reliever.