Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers ’14 – #3 Elian Herrera

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And then there were three.

Just three days (or sleeps, depending on your preferred vernacular) remain until Opening Day at Miller Park on March 31. As such, today we profile the member of the Brewers organization who has been wearing #3 on his back throughout Cactus League play…

Elian Herrera.

ElianHerrera1

Elian Herrera is a 5’10” switch-hitting utility player who hails from the Dominican Republic. He turned 29 years old just before Spring Training got underway this year. The Brewers claimed him off waivers from the Los Angeles Dodgers and were awarded his rights on November 4, 2013.

The Brewers are only Herrera’s second organization. He was originally signed into professional baseball as an 18-year-old amateur by the Dodgers back in 2003.

Herrera made his big league debut in 2012 for Los Angeles, piling up 214 plate appearances over 67 games. He hit just .251/.340/.332 with very little power, but proved his value in the field as he logged time at all three outfield spots as well as second and third base, and even a pittance at shortstop.

His cup of coffee in 2013 was just four games, only two of which saw him line up defensively at all.

Throughout his minor league career he’s easily played the most second base but has had enough experience in all other spots (except right field) listed above. He’s capable defensively at many spots which makes him versatile and, especially in a league of double-switches and on a team with limited bench roles, particularly valuable.

He did impress the Brewers coaches in camp, however with limited space, Herrera didn’t make the 25-man roster out of spring training. He was added to the group of minor leaguers who traveled with the team to Milwaukee for the pair of exhibition games against the Kansas City Royals this weekend, however. There’s also still a chance that Herrera’s name will be announced during roster introductions on Monday, albeit one the Brewers are hoping to avoid.

If the shoulder of starting All-Star shortstop Jean Segura continues to ail him, there’s still a very real possibility that the Brewers would have to place Segura on the 15-day disabled list to begin the year. That would shift Jeff Bianchi into the starting lineup (most likely) and as the only other player on the 40-man roster who can handle shortstop defensively, Herrera would likely get the call.

Regardless of how that plays out, the Brewers have already used Herrera’s final option year. He can go up and down all year to and from Class-AAA Nashville. He’ll certainly be the guy who gets called up first if injury befalls any one of the infielders.

Milwaukee likes his switch-hitting, loves his versatility, and is happy with the player who they acquired for practically nothing from the west coast.

If only all acquisitions were that simple.

Miss anyone along the way? Catch up on the “Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers” profiles to this point:

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