WASHINGTON -- Did the Brewers just option their second-best starter to the Minor Leagues? Technically, yes. But Zach Davies' assignment to Triple-A Colorado Springs was essentially a paper move.
Davies pitched into the seventh inning of Tuesday's 5-2 win over the Nationals in his final start before the All-Star break, giving him a 2.90 ERA over his past eight starts. Because he won't pitch again until the second half, the Brewers optioned him in favor of an extra bat -- left-handed slugger Andy Wilkins -- who joined the team for Wednesday's series finale at Nationals Park.
Rules dictate that an optioned player must spend 10 days in the Minors unless he is called back to fill a void created by an injury. Davies is scheduled to spend only one day beyond that minimum on Colorado Springs' roster before returning to the Brewers to start the third game after the break, on July 17 in Cincinnati.
"We've been playing down a position player, so this allows us to get back to square for a little while," Brewers general manager David Stearns said in an email.
Per rules of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, Davis will have to physically travel to Colorado Springs, where the team finishes its own first half by hosting Iowa. He will then head home to Arizona for the All-Star break -- the Triple-A and Major League breaks coincide -- before rejoining the Brewers in Cincinnati. He'll lose 11 days of Major League service in the process.
Davies will throw a pair of bullpen sessions in the meantime to stay sharp.
"Baseball is a business," he said with a shrug.
Wilkins played first base and right field for the Sky Sox, hitting .238/.321/.437 with 11 home runs and 50 RBIs in 76 games. June was his best month, when he posted a .372 on-base percentage and an .826 OPS.
"I didn't see anything coming," Wilkins said. "I was kind of shocked about it, but I'm happy for it."
It is Wilkins' second stint in the Major Leagues. He appeared in 17 games with the White Sox in 2014, collecting six hits in 43 homerless at-bats. He has 122 Minor League home runs, including a 30-homer season at Triple-A Charlotte in 2014.
"For the better part of two months, we've been with just four guys on the bench," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "Anytime you can get a full complement of bench players -- you don't know when you're going to need or when it's going to be helpful, but there's times when it could be helpful."
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.