Crew boosts 'pen with waiver pickup Kirkman

Crew boosts 'pen with waiver pickup Kirkman

MILWAUKEE -- After a swing and miss on Sam Freeman, the Brewers are taking a chance on another left-handed reliever off the waiver wire.

The Brewers on Thursday claimed 29-year-old Michael Kirkman from the Padres, and the club expects him to join the big league bullpen before Saturday's game against the Reds. Kirkman is something of a known commodity, having pitched last season in the Brewers' organization at Triple-A Colorado Springs, where he posted a 2.81 ERA and kept both right- and left-handed hitters to a batting average below .200.

"He was mid-90s -- 93-95 [mph] -- with his fastball," said Brewers reliever David Goforth, a teammate of Kirkman's last season. "And he had a really good slider. A tough at-bat for lefties, for sure. It was a good pitch to either side of the plate. He had kind of an unorthodox motion, throwing across his body a little bit. A tough at-bat for anybody."

Kirkman signed a Minor League deal with the Padres for 2016 and made five Triple-A appearances before a promotion to San Diego, where he surrendered four earned runs on six hits in 1 1/3 innings in one game.

He was designated for assignment last week, making him available to Milwaukee. When he arrives, the Brewers will have to make a corresponding move to free a 25-man roster spot. There was already an opening on the 40-man roster for Kirkman.

A former fifth-round Draft pick of the Rangers, Kirkman pitched in 94 big league games for Texas from 2010-14. He owns a 5.25 ERA, a .252 opponents' average and a 1.491 WHIP in the big leagues.

Kirkman essentially inherits a role previously held by Freeman, a waiver claim from the Rangers who surrendered 13 hits, 11 runs and nine walks in 7 2/3 Brewers innings.

By importing Kirkman, the Brewers passed an opportunity to promote either of their pitching prospects performing well at Colorado Springs. Jacob Barnes, 26, entered Thursday having allowed four hits in 11 scoreless innings over seven games, with 12 strikeouts versus four walks. Damien Magnifico, 24, had a 3.00 ERA and five saves in 10 games.

"Really, our thought is there is still time for those guys to develop," Counsell said. "Both of them have been at Triple-A for a month now. We'd like to see them there maybe a little longer before we [call them up].

"Jacob Barnes is doing a great job. Magnifico is doing a great job, too. They've both pitched very well, obviously. I just think, let them keep doing their jobs where they're at right now."

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. 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.