Back from injury, Bianchi embraces utility role

Back from injury, Bianchi embraces utility role

MILWAUKEE -- Jeff Bianchi's arrival Thursday briefly gave the Brewers five -- count 'em, five -- shortstops on the 25-man roster.

Bianchi, Yuniesky Betancourt, Alex Gonzalez, Josh Prince and Jean Segura have all manned shortstop this season, Bianchi and Prince in the Minors and the others for the big league Brewers.

Segura, 23, is the Brewers' present and future at the position, so he is playing there every day. Prince was optioned back to Triple-A Nashville on Thursday night to clear the way for third baseman Aramis Ramirez's return from the disabled list. The others are proving their versatility elsewhere, including Bianchi, who was activated from the disabled list Thursday afternoon and will serve as a utility man.

"I'm ready to help contribute in any way possible," he said.

It could mean playing the outfield in a pinch. Bianchi made his first career appearance in left field Wednesday night for Triple-A Nashville in Oklahoma City.

"No fly balls," Bianchi said. "Last night was a good night not to get any. The wind was swirling really bad, 20-30 mph. But I've been getting reads out there [during batting practice] all the time, going back to last year. I was definitely ready."

His Major League season debut has been a long time coming. Bianchi was a day away from joining Team Italy for the World Baseball Classic when he sustained a groin injury during a March 2 exhibition against the Angels. That injury led to bursitis of his left hip and a season-opening stint on the 15-day disabled list.

After a rehab assignment that took him to Double-A Huntsville and Triple-A Nashville, Bianchi was ready for the Majors by Thursday. He took a roster spot vacated the day before by outfield prospect Khris Davis, who was sent to play every day in Nashville.

"At this point, I'm feeling good," he said. "I feel really good to be back."

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.