Brewers designate veteran RHP Josh Lindblom for assignment

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MILWAUKEE (AP) — Brewers right-hander Josh Lindblom has been designated for assignment after struggling as he shifted from the starting rotation to a bullpen role this season.

Milwaukee made the move while recalling left-hander Eric Lauer from its Triple-A Nashville affiliate to start Wednesday night against the San Diego Padres.

Lindblom, who turns 34 on June 15, has a 9.72 ERA in eight relief appearances.

“It just hasn’t gone great for Josh this year, unfortunately,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “He’s an incredibly hard worker, a great teammate. He’s tried to figure it out. It just unfortunately hasn’t been going his way this year. At this point, we just needed to get more production out of that spot, and so we designated him for assignment.”

Brewers president of baseball operations David Stearns said he wants Lindblom to remain in the organization and hopes to have the right-hander work as a starter for Nashville if he clears waivers.

“I do think it’s a possibility he could be back with us this year,” Stearns said. “We’re going to need innings this year and that will continue. We’ve already used a large number of pitchers, and we’re not even a third of the way through the season. I think it’s reasonable that if Josh can get himself going in Triple-A, there will be opportunities for him.”

The Brewers signed Lindblom to a $9,125,000, three-year contract in December 2019 after he went 63-34 with a 3.55 ERA during five seasons in South Korea. Lindblom had won consecutive Choi Dong-Won Awards — the Korean equivalent of a Cy Young Award — in 2018 and 2019.

Lindblom went 2-4 with a 5.16 ERA while making 10 starts and 12 overall appearances for Milwaukee last season. He moved to the bullpen as someone who could pitch multiple innings of relief.

Opposing hitters have a .324 batting average and .424 on-base percentage against him this season.

“He was in the long role, and those games don’t sequence the right way all the time,” Counsell said. "There was a stretch where he went 10 days off, and that doesn’t help a pitcher and that makes it challenging for him — especially for a pitcher like Josh that’s really relying on execution on the edge of the zone, has four to five pitches in his repertoire that he needs to be able to execute, and that just wasn’t conducive to being able to perform as that type of pitcher.

“That did hurt him early in the season, for sure, and it got him kind of behind, and then we could just never get him that regular work that I think he needs, a guy like him needs to be effective.”

Lindblom is 7-12 with a 4.78 ERA in 134 career major league appearances. He was mostly a reliever before his time in South Korea.

He has pitched for the Los Angeles Dodgers (2011-12), Philadelphia Phillies (2012), Texas Rangers (2013), Oakland Athletics (2014) and Pittsburgh Pirates (2017).

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Follow Steve Megargee at https://twitter.com/stevemegargee

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More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Steve Megargee, The Associated Press

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