The Milwaukee Brewers decided to take a chance on a blast from the past when they signed right-hander Kelvim Escobar to a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training.
Escobar, who will be 37 in April, has pitched in just one major league game since 2007 and none since 2009. He resurfaced this winter in Venezuela and was throwing the ball well again, so the Brewers decided to see if he has anything left.
"He'll get plenty of opportunity in the bullpen, and we'll see what he can do," assistant general manager Gord Ash said. "He has done both (starting and relieving) and done them well, but I always thought he was dominant out of the bullpen."
Ash said Escobar has shown "some rust with his command" this winter, but that's to be expected after the long haul back from shoulder surgery. In six outings with Lara, including two starts, he was 0-0 with a 1.64 ERA. He allowed nine hits and nine walks in 11 innings, and he struck out eight.
Escobar won 18 games for the Los Angeles Angels in 2007 but suffered a tear in his right shoulder in March 2008 and missed the entire season. He spent the first few months of '09 in the minors before being recalled by the Angels on June 6, 2009, to pitch against the Detroit Tigers. Escobar went five innings and allowed two runs but suffered another shoulder injury and had season-ending surgery.
The Brewers had interest in Escobar after the 2009 season, but he signed a one-year deal with the New York Mets. He tore the capsule in his right shoulder before throwing a pitch for New York and supposedly was done.
In 12 years with the Toronto Blue Jays and Angels, Escobar was 101-91 with a 4.15 ERA in 411 games (202 starts). Ash knows Escobar from their time together in Toronto, and manager Ron Roenicke was a coach with the Angels when the pitcher was there.