Brewers fill 40-man roster with trio of claims

Milwaukee acquires Nieuwenhuis, Pinto and Wilkins

Brewers fill 40-man roster with trio of claims

MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers found another center-field option while also bolstering catcher and first base with a trio of waiver claims Wednesday. The team filled its 40-man roster by grabbing outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis from the Mets, catcher Josmil Pinto from the Padres and first baseman Andy Wilkins from the Rangers.

Nieuwenhuis, a 28-year-old left-handed hitter, joins recently acquired Keon Broxton and Ramon Flores and holdovers Shane Peterson and Michael Reed as outfielders with extensive professional experience in center on the 40-man roster. The Brewers also signed former Pirates outfielder Alex Presley to a Minor League contract that includes an invitation to big league camp.

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Milwaukee has prioritized center field this offseason after deciding that 23-year-old slugger Domingo Santana was better suited to a corner spot, where he will mix in with regular left fielder Khris Davis and right fielder Ryan Braun.

A former third-round Draft pick, Nieuwenhuis (pronounced NEW-en-hice) is a career .232/.306/.389 hitter in 693 plate appearances with the Mets and Angels since 2012. The Mets sold him to the Angels in May, only to re-acquire him two weeks later via waivers. He is out of Minor League options and entering his final pre-arbitration season.

Pinto is 26 and has hit 11 home runs in only 280 Major League plate appearances for the Twins over two seasons. He's a career .271/.348/.434 hitter in parts of 10 years in the Minors, and he has been claimed off waivers twice in the past month. He previously went from Minnesota to San Diego on Nov. 20.

The Brewers have added a number of catchers as of late as they weigh trade offers for starter Jonathan Lucroy. They had previously acquired Minor Leaguer Manny Pina in a trade with the Tigers and signed Rene Garcia to a Minor League contract. Each of those players will also be in big league camp.

Wilkins, 27, is a well-traveled power hitter who briefly played in the Major Leagues for the White Sox in 2014. He has hit 111 home runs in parts of six seasons in the Minors, including 30 homers in 2014 at Triple-A Charlotte before his callup. In 2015, Wilkins hit .251 with 18 home runs and 79 RBIs at the Triple-A level for the Dodgers and Blue Jays.

The Brewers are Wilkins' seventh organization since March. He was claimed off waivers by the Blue Jays from the White Sox, then purchased by the Dodgers and claimed by the Orioles, Mariners and Rangers before going to the Brewers.

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.