MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers picked right-hander Alfredo Figaro to replace the demoted Mike Fiers in the starting rotation, opting to pluck an arm from the bullpen rather than a prospect from the Minor Leagues.
In doing so, they passed over two hard-throwing right-handers, Triple-A Nashville's Johnny Hellweg and Double-A Huntsville's Jimmy Nelson for a promotion that might have been temporary, since left-hander Chris Narveson is nearing a return from a sprained finger. Narveson is scheduled to make his second rehabilitation start at Nashville on Tuesday, and could need only one more outing after that before he is reinstated.
"I don't want to be doing that, experimenting with our young guys," general manager Doug Melvin said. "I don't want to make evaluations based on short periods."
Melvin prefers a patient approach with prospects like Hellweg and Nelson, as opposed to a move like the one the Brewers made last June with right-hander Tyler Thornburg. He was pitching well at Huntsville before the promotion, but lost to the Blue Jays and then struggled in a second half spent jettisoning back and forth between Milwaukee and Nashville. So far this season, Thornburg is 0-7 with a 6.25 ERA in 12 Triple-A starts.
Fiers was optioned to Triple-A on Monday amid a flurry of moves, and Figaro will replace him beginning Friday against the Phillies.
"When he's come in, he's done a pretty good job for us, and he's stretched out to a point," manager Ron Roenicke said of Figaro. "Nobody in Triple-A is lighting it up to where we're saying, 'Let's bring him up.'"
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. Kevin Massoth is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.