Schoeneweis signs Minors deal with Crew

Schoeneweis signs Minors deal with Crew

MILWAUKEE -- Coming off a year marked by tragedy, veteran left-hander Scott Schoeneweis has a fresh start with the Brewers.

Schoeneweis inked a Minor League contract on Tuesday that includes an invitation to Milwaukee's big league camp, where he will compete to be a second lefty out of Milwaukee's bullpen. Schoeneweis, 36, made 45 appearances for the Arizona Diamondbacks in a 2009 season punctuated by the sudden death of his wife, Gabrielle, on May 20.

"I still want to play," Schoeneweis said. "But first and foremost I had to make sure that my family was all right, and they are. We'll make it work. Last year was difficult, no doubt, but we're all in a better situation now."

The Brewers made sense on several fronts, chief of which is that they hold Spring Training in Phoenix and Schoeneweis lives in the area with his four children, all of whom are younger than 16.

They also have a new pitching coach, Rick Peterson, who worked with Schoeneweis for parts of two seasons with the Mets in 2007 and '08. The Brewers had Peterson speak to his former pupil before committing to a contract.

"Once I made the decision to play, this was a good place to settle in," Schoeneweis said. "I'm excited to get back into the game, I'm excited to compete for a job and I expect to make the team and go back to Milwaukee."

If he makes Milwaukee's roster, Schoeneweis' salary would be $800,000.

"You go through a year like he went through, maybe getting back to baseball is the best thing," Brewers general manager Doug Melvin said.

Gabrielle Schoeneweis died at the family's home of a drug overdose and Scott Schoeneweis spent more than three weeks on the bereavement list before returning to duty. Understandably, his performance suffered as the season wore on, and he finished with a 7.12 ERA.

"Last year had nothing to do with my ability as a baseball player," Schoeneweis said. "I don't see any reason why I can't perform at a high level for years to come."

The Brewers' primary left-handed reliever is Mitch Stetter, who appeared in a career-high 71 games last season with a 3.60 ERA and held left-handed batters to a .178 average. In parts of 11 seasons with six Major League teams, Schoeneweis has limited lefties to a .229 average.

"He's been pretty good left-on-left and we always talk about trying to squeeze two lefties on our staff," Melvin said. "That can be tough to do on a National League pitching staff. Mitch Stetter has done a nice job for us, but you never know when somebody is going to be hit by a line drive or turn an ankle. It's nice to have some experienced depth."

Asked whether Schoeneweis expressed a willingness to begin the season in the Minor Leagues, Melvin said, "That's not the focus right now. I don't know if he will or not. I told Scott we would be fair with him."

Schoeneweis also declined to say whether his contract included a specific "out" date.

"I'm not even thinking about that," he said. "I'm thinking about making the team, and I think I have some people there who want me to make it."

Melvin also confirmed that the Brewers had re-signed left-hander Chase Wright to a Minor League contract, but Wright's deal does not include an invitation to big league camp. Wright's agent contacted the Brewers looking for a job, Melvin said.

With Schoeneweis, the Brewers have 57 players on their Spring Training roster, including 32 pitchers. Melvin, who was scheduled to travel to Phoenix on Wednesday for a few days off before the start of Spring Training, might be just about finished adding pieces.

"You never know, but you get to the point where you've got too many people," he said. "You don't want to be where nobody can get innings and nobody can get at-bats. We're probably getting close to that point. We're pretty deep right now."

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.