He has allowed seven runs in 2 2/3 innings over his past three outings, but prior to that had a 2.55 ERA and was holding opponents to a .228 average. The recent struggles prompted the Padres to remove Linebrink from the setup role that he had filled since the start of 2005 in favor of Heath Bell.Brewers scout Chris Bourjos had been following Linebrink and "was not backing off" on his positive reports, Melvin said. Linebrink has served for the past 2 1/2 seasons as the primary setup man for Padres closer Trevor Hoffman, and from 2004-06, he led the National League in holds. He fits the mold of the pitcher the Brewers were after: an experienced power arm to complement Turnbow. Padres ace Jake Peavy called the news of Linebrink's departure "devastating." "He has a plus fastball in the 93-94-[mph] range, and he goes right at you," Melvin said. "He doesn't throw a lot of pitches. One of the things that impressed us is that he goes out there and usually has some pretty quick innings. ... He's a good power arm and he's durable. He'll fit in with our bullpen." Linebrink was previously scheduled to spend Wednesday night in Austin, Texas, where his wife, Kelly, is due to give birth next week. The Padres begin a series against the Astros on Thursday, but instead Linebrink will travel to St. Louis on Friday to join the Brewers. The team will have to make a corresponding roster move at that time. Linebrink and Brewers closer Francisco Cordero will both be free agents at season's end and will likely command significant multi-year contracts. Both are Type A free agents, meaning if either signs elsewhere, the Brewers would get two high Draft picks as compensation. "That's the one thing," Melvin said. "We'll see. We're not going to get into contract negotiations with anybody this year. We'll wait until the year is over, and at that point, we will look at it. "We probably wouldn't do this if it wasn't for the [possible] Draft choices. It would have been tough to do, to give up three guys not knowing if you would get Draft choices back." The Padres expected Thatcher, 25, to join their bullpen on Thursday in Houston. The Brewers signed him out of an independent league in 2005, and he briefly was invited to Spring Training camp this year. Thatcher had a 2.08 ERA in 24 appearances this season for Triple-A Nashville. The key player from San Diego's perspective could be Inman, a third-round Draft pick in 2005 who entered the year 16-2 with a 1.77 ERA in his first two Minor League seasons. Inman has split this year between Class A Brevard County and Double-A Huntsville, going 5-8 with a 2.97 ERA in 21 starts. Garrison, also 20, has spent the entire season with Brevard County and was 8-4 with a 3.44 ERA in 20 starts. "We still have some top prospects," Melvin said, rattling off pitchers like Manny Parra, Yovani Gallardo, Luis Pena, Zach Jackson and Tim Dillard. "We have players. Will Inman is a top prospect and Garrison is a prospect. You have to give up something to get something. [Padres GM] Kevin [Towers] had a couple of clubs knocking on his door, and in the end, we stepped up and put a third pitcher [Garrison] in the deal to get the deal done."
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.