CHICAGO -- With Wednesday's somewhat surprising demotion of left-hander Mitch Stetter, the Brewers will go with a lefty specialist by committee for at least the next 10 days, the minimum Stetter must remain at Triple-A Nashville before he's eligible for a recall. Starter-turned-reliever Manny Parra figures to be the committee chairman.
Parra is not as lethal as the side-arming Stetter against left-handed hitters, but he's the best the Brewers have. Entering Thursday's series finale at Wrigley Field, left-handed batters owned a .252 batting average against Parra, with a .709 OPS and 78 strikeouts in 303 plate appearances.
That's not nearly as good as Stetter (.173, .594, 54 strikeouts in 165 plate appearances), but much better than the other lefty remaining in the Brewers' bullpen, Chris Narveson (.274, .771, 17 strikeouts in 73 plate appearances).
"I would assume that I'll see some more lefties in spots where it would have been Stetter," Parra said. "It's not something I've got accustomed to ... but I'm going to prepare the same way. There's only so much we can do, and you just throw to your strengths."
The Brewers announced Wednesday evening that they intended to option Stetter to Triple-A Nashville to clear a 25-man roster spot for Jeff Suppan, who returned from the disabled list to start against the Cubs. The roster move was formally executed Thursday morning.
Manager Ken Macha stressed that it was not a sign of displeasure with Stetter, who retired the only two batters he faced in separate appearances since Opening Day, but a move to preserve organizational depth. Only two Brewers pitchers had options remaining -- Stetter and right-hander Carlos Villanueva -- and Villanueva provides more flexibility.
"The way we've been using our bullpen, we thought it was best to keep someone who can give us multiple innings," Macha said. "Two weeks from now, after he spends his 10 days down there, we're going to take a look at the teams we're playing and the left-handed hitters they present. Mitch was extremely professional about it."
At Nashville, Stetter will also get opportunities to work against right-handed hitters. To be effective against them, he will have to alter his arm angle from batter to batter, depending on whether the opponent is left-handed or right-handed.