TEMPE, Ariz. -- Jared Fernandez has one knuckle in the door, but his spot on the Brewers' Opening Day roster is not ensured just yet. The Brewers placed Ben Sheets on the 15-day disabled list and optioned right-hander Mike Adams to Triple-A Nashville on Thursday, apparently opening a spot for Fernandez, the 34-year-old knuckleballer who is in camp as a non-roster invitee. Not so fast, cautioned manager Ned Yost, who said the team has an eye on the waiver wire and may add a player before Sunday's deadline to set the 25-man roster.
"I'd say his chances improved," Yost said, "but as far as being set in stone, it's not." Seven others appear to have solidified spots in the bullpen: Jose Capellan, Jorge De La Rosa, Rick Helling, Dan Kolb, Justin Lehr, Derrick Turnbow and Matt Wise. If Fernandez makes the roster, he would join Helling and perhaps Lehr as options for long and middle relief. Fernandez has allowed one run in 13 innings of relief this spring, including two scoreless frames against the Angels on Thursday, and the Brewers like the fact they could use him extensively because the knuckleball is not hard on his arm. "I think it's going to be a good thing," said Fernandez, who held off further comment until the roster is formalized. Fernandez has made an Opening Day roster only once in his 12-year professional career, in 2004 with the Astros. He has spent parts of each of the last nine seasons at Triple-A. Rosters do not have to be finalized until Sunday, and the Brewers still have several moves to make. Utilityman Vinny Rottino and catcher Mark Johnson will be returned to Minor League camp, and Fernandez would have to be added to the roster if he makes the cut. No such luck: Adams' bid to make the team was hampered by back spasms early in camp and then a minor auto accident. He made four one-inning stints in Cactus League games and surrendered one earned run. "I'm between working on stuff and trying to make the team," Adams said after his most recent appearance, Tuesday against the Royals. "I'm still trying to figure out a few things, but at the same time, I can't. ... My time to work on stuff is in the bullpen [on days I don't pitch in games]. It's a little added pressure." Adams was to pitch in Thursday's game, but instead he reported to Minor League camp. Adams opened last season as the Brewers' closer, but he lost the job in April to Turnbow, and he could be an option to close games for Nashville. "There's no reason he can't get back to the big leagues," assistant general manager Gord Ash said.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.