The Milwaukee Brewers released pitchers Brad Boxberger and Jordan Zimmermann as the team works to narrow down its season-opening roster.
The Brewers then re-signed Zimmermann to a minor league contract on Saturday, enabling the team to send the 34-year-old right-hander to their alternate site in Appleton, Wisconsin.
Brewers president of baseball operations David Stearns said Friday he hoped to keep both pitchers by signing them to minor league contracts.
"I think both of them have positive experiences here in camp," Stearns said Friday at the club's spring training site in Phoenix. "I think both of them feel good about the organization. I'm hopeful. But we'll leave it at that."
Both right-handers pitched in the majors with other organizations last season. Last month, the Brewers signed them to minor league contracts that included invitations to major-league camp.
The 34-year-old Zimmermann, a two-time All-Star with the Washington Nationals earlier in his career, had struggled with injuries the last two seasons and went 0-0 with a 7.94 ERA for Detroit last year. Boxberger, who turns 33 on May 27, was 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA in 23 relief appearances with Miami.
Boxberger went 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA in eight Cactus League relief appearances. Zimmermann, a starter throughout his major league career, worked in relief this spring and went 1-0 with a 6.00 ERA in four appearances.
Stearns noted the progress of Ángel Perdomo, J.P. Feyereisen, Drew Rasmussen and Justin Topa left little room in a Brewers bullpen that is headed by two-time All-Star Josh Hader and 2020 NL Rookie of the Year Devin Williams.
"When we're talking about Drew and Justin in particular, they were pretty important players for us down the stretch last year and pitched very well in some meaningful games," Stearns said. "That all played a part in this. We're still working through what those last couple spots are going to look like in the bullpen. But given the timing with what we had coming up with Brad, now was the right time to discuss this with them."
Game notes: Stearns said he's optimistic about OF Jackie Bradley Jr.'s availability for Thursday's season opener with Minnesota but said no decision has been made yet. Bradley has been dealing with a wrist issue. ... Stearns added that Lorenzo Cain should be able to play center field a couple more times before the start of the season. "Hopefully that's enough to get him ready," Stearns said. Cain has been slowed by a quadriceps injury this spring and didn't make his Cactus League debut until Saturday.