Brewers bring back Barrios on Minor League deal

Right-handed reliever missed 2016 season after surgery

Brewers bring back Barrios on Minor League deal

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Brewers came away from the General Managers Meetings with a player, albeit a familiar one.

The team on Wednesday announced a Minor League agreement with reliever Yhonathan Barrios, a right-hander who pitched for Milwaukee in 2015, but missed the 2016 season following shoulder surgery. He was extended an invitation to Major League Spring Training camp.

It was the club's only addition during GM David Stearns' stay at the GM Meetings, which typically are quiet in terms of signings and trades, and were even moreso this year as executives, agents and other officials await a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

"I think this time of year you learn new information every single day and it's healthy to have everyone in one place and open up some of these discussions and move some of these conversations forward," Stearns said. "I think as a whole the industry is still kind of at the feeling-out stage. A lot of the talks are at a preliminary point right now, but it's been, I think, a productive couple of days."

He added: "I think this time of year always lays groundwork for what's to come for the remainder of the offseason. ... It's a slightly less chaotic period than the Winter Meetings, so you have a chance to actually meet and have substantive discussions with more people. Some of them 'transactionally' related and some not. So that can certainly lead to more substantive discussions moving forward."

Stearns' discussions included meetings with agents, he said. The Brewers have decisions to make at third base and catcher, and could be in the market for outfielders if they trade left fielder Ryan Braun.

"Similar to the trade market, it's early," Stearns said. "Both clubs and agents are just touching base to try and determine where there might be overlaps and some fits."

Barrios was a fit as the Brewers build bullpen depth. It was former Brewers GM Doug Melvin who acquired Barrios from the Pirates for Aramis Ramirez in a July 2015 trade that started a flurry of players-for-prospects deals. Barrios made a favorable impression that September, allowing three hits and no walks while striking out seven batters in five scoreless appearances.

He reported to 2016 Spring Training well positioned for an Opening Day bullpen spot, but never threw a pitch in the Cactus League because of a rotator cuff injury. He underwent surgery during the first week of April.

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.

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.