Journeyman earns spot in Crew's rotation, will make MLB debut at Wrigley on Friday
By Tim Powers
Special to MLB.com |
SAN DIEGO -- After 10-plus seasons in the Minors, Paolo Espino is finally getting his big chance.
The Brewers on Thursday announced that Espino will be called up from Triple-A Colorado Springs and make his Major League debut against the Cubs in Chicago on Friday. Espino will be stepping into the spot in the starting rotation that opened when the club moved Wily Peralta to the bullpen.
"Paolo Espino is going to start tomorrow," manager Craig Counsell said. "From our perspective, Paolo has just pitched really well, and he has kind of earned his shot, is really how we see it. The days match up, and it works for him."
The 30-year-old Espino joined the Brewers' organization in the offseason as a Minor League free agent in November, and the right-hander has responded in a big way. In seven starts for Colorado Springs, Espino has gone 4-0 with a 2.54 ERA. Over his Minors career, he has logged 1,304 innings over 291 appearances (191 starts).
"We're excited for him," Counsell said. "It's a great opportunity. He has certainly paid his dues and logged a lot of innings in the Minor Leagues. He started to really perform last year, and again at the start of this year, he has really performed. It's a good opportunity for him."
In a corresponding move, the club optioned left-hander Brent Suter to Triple-A Colorado Springs. Suter appeared in five games, posting a 4.91 ERA since being recalled on Monday for his third stint with the team this season.
Peralta was moved to the bullpen after posting a 6.08 ERA in eight starts, while going 4-2. In his most recent start against the New York Mets on Sunday, he allowed six earned runs over 4 1/3 innings. Peralta has thrown only one big league inning in relief, when he made his Major League debut in 2012.
A native of Panama, Espino has also pitched for the Nationals' organization, as well as Cleveland, who drafted him in the 10th round in 2006.
As for what to expect when Espino takes the mound, Counsell compared Espino in some respects to Thursday's starter, Zach Davies.
"He's definitely a command pitcher," Counsell said. "He has had five walks in six or seven starts this year. He is going to mix it up. His ability to throw offspeed stuff any time in the count is part of it."
Espino will join the club in Chicago, and he will likely arrive before the rest of the team, who will travel following the series finale in San Diego.
"Everybody roots for the guys who stick to it," Counsell said. "There is always an element of luck in these things."
Tim Powers is a contributor to MLB.com based in San Diego who covered the Brewers on Thursday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.