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Jordan Zimmermann back in Brewers' fold with minor league contract
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Jordan Zimmermann back in Brewers' fold with minor league contract

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PHOENIX — Jordan Zimmermann didn’t stay unemployed very long.

The veteran right-handed pitcher, released Friday by the Milwaukee Brewers, signed another minor league contract with the organization Saturday and is expected to open the season at the team’s alternate training site in Appleton.

“I knew this is where I wanted to be,” said Zimmermann, an Auburndale native who starred at UW-Stevens Point before embarking on his major league career. “I feel like this is a good fit for me, so I wasn’t looking to go anywhere else.”

Zimmermann, 34, had been in camp as a non-roster invitee after signing a minor league deal in February. The contract required the Brewers to agree to add him to their 26-man Opening Day roster, pay a $100,000 retention bonus or release Zimmermann, which would allow him to seek opportunities with another club.

“It all comes down to a business move,” Zimmermann said Saturday morning. “They obviously wanted to keep me around but didn’t want to pay the money and I understand.

“The fact that they wanted to keep me around means a lot to me and that’s kind of what went into my decision in coming back. I feel like I have a lot left and I can help this team at some point during the season.”

What his role would be hasn’t been established. Zimmermann was in the process of stretching out his arm, most likely to provide some length out of the bullpen and depth for the starting rotation.

It’s been a bit of an adjustment for a player who’d started in all but two of his 277 career appearances.

“We’ll stretch him out and then see where it takes us and see what our needs are,” manager Craig Counsell said. “I don’t know if I see him at the 100-pitch mark or anything like that. We’ll stretch him out and see where that takes us.”

Prior to his appearance Saturday against the Royals, Zimmermann had appeared in four Cactus League games. He allowed four runs on six hits over three innings in his first two outings but followed that with three scoreless innings in his next two appearances.

“He’s been pitching well,” Counsell said. “He’s healthy and I think it’s just a matter of time until he helps us.”

On the field

Zimmermann gave up three runs over two innings and Miguel Sanchez allowed the tying run to score on a ninth-inning wild pitch as the Brewers and Kansas City Royals played to a 6-6 tie at Surprise Stadium.

Lorenzo Cain had two hits, including his first home run of the spring. Jackie Bradley Jr. also finished with two hits in his return to action after missing more than a week with wrist inflammation.

Right-hander Brandon Woodruff allowed two runs and struck out seven over 4⅓ innings in is final tuneup before taking the mound against the Twins on Opening Day.

“Everything went well,” Counsell said. “It was another good start for Woody and he feels really good with what he’s doing.”

Cain’s home run came in the second game of his first back-to-back appearances of the season.

“Today I felt my best as far as seeing the ball and really kind of letting my swing go as much as I could,” Cain said. “I thought it was a solid day for me.”

From the infirmary

Outfielder Tyrone Taylor suffered a left thigh bruise when he collided with Dustin Peterson chasing down a foul ball in the seventh inning.

“It’s kind of a major issue,” Counsell said of Taylor, who remained in the game for the remainder of the inning. “He took a knee or a head to his side pretty hard. ... We’ll re-evaluate him tomorrow.”

Peterson left the game after reporting dizziness and later a sore right hip.

“They’re both going to be pretty sore tomorrow,” Counsell said.

Around the horn

Cain won’t play in Sunday’s Cactus League finale but expects to play the full game Monday and at least start Tuesday during the two-game exhibition set in Texas. ... Bradley revealed he underwent surgery to remove a cyst from his wrist two days after the 2020 season ended. ... Players sent to the alternate training site will play actual games against players in the Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox camps. The venues for the 13-game schedule will rotate between Appleton, South Bend, Indiana (Cubs) and Schaumburg, Illinois (White Sox).

On deck

The Brewers wrap up the Cactus League portion of their exhibition schedule Sunday when Corbin Burnes (2-0, 1.59 ERA) takes the mound against the Cincinnati Reds at American Family Fields of Phoenix. In four spring appearances, Burnes has allowed just two earned runs, both coming his last time out against the Dodgers. In 11⅓ innings, he’s struck out 17 while walking just four batters. The game gets underway an hour earlier than usual and will not be broadcast either on radio or television.

Here’s everything you need to know as Milwaukee Brewers kick off spring training in Arizona


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