The Brewers announced that reliever J.C. Mejía has cleared waivers and been sent outright to Triple-A Nashville. The club hadn’t previously announced he’d been designated for assignment, but they apparently quietly placed him on waivers in recent days. The move opens a spot on the 40-man roster for Jake Cousins, who has been reinstated from the 60-day injured list and optioned to Nashville. Milwaukee also activated starter Adrian Houser from the 15-day IL to take the ball tonight against the Dodgers, optioning Trevor Kelley to clear a spot on the active roster.
Mejía made his big league debut with Cleveland last season. The right-hander logged 52 1/3 innings across 17 appearances (11 starts), but only managed an 8.24 ERA during his initial MLB action. He also struggled quite a bit in Triple-A, but he’d previously had strong minor league production. When the Guardians designated him for assignment after the 2021 season, the Brewers added him in a trade for a player to be named later (eventually announced as David Fry) with an eye towards converting him to relief.
That experiment never really got off the ground, as Mejía has pitched in just two big league games with Milwaukee. He tested positive for the performance-enhancing substance Stanozolol and was hit with an 80-game suspension in May. He returned from that ban last week, but the club evidently no longer felt they wanted to carry him on the 40-man roster.
Having never previously been outrighted nor not having eclipsed three years of major league service time, Mejía doesn’t have the right to refuse an outright assignment. He’ll remain in Nashville — where he’s only allowed four runs in 14 2/3 innings — and try to pitch his way back to the big leagues before the season is out. The 25-year-old (26 on Friday) would qualify for minor league free agency at the end of the season if Milwaukee doesn’t add him back to the 40-man roster before then.
Cousins hasn’t pitched since April, as he’s missed nearly four months with an elbow effusion. The right-hander has been on a rehab assignment since late July and fared quite well, allowing only three runs over nine innings in Nashville with 13 strikeouts against five walks. The club will give him a bit more time in the minors with his allowed 30-day rehab window wrapping up, but it seems likely he’ll be back in the MLB bullpen before too long. Cousins debuted in the majors last year and impressed, striking out a whopping 35.2% of opponents while working to a 2.70 ERA in 30 games.
Houser, meanwhile, is back after nearly two months on the shelf. The righty suffered a flexor strain in his forearm in late June, but he managed to rehab without requiring surgery. The veteran ground-ball specialist owns just a 4.72 ERA through 15 starts this season, but he worked to a 3.22 mark in 28 outings last year. He’ll reassume his rotation role for the stretch run as Milwaukee looks to erase a one-game deficit in the National League Wild Card standings.