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Report: Wilkerson to be called up to Brewers

Andy Reed • Sep 13, 2017 at 4:28 PM

It’s not official, yet, but a Milwaukee Brewers beat writer is reporting former Cumberland pitcher Aaron Wilkerson is being called up by the Brewers from AAA Colorado Springs.

Adam McCalvy, a writer for MLB.com, reports on Twitter that Wilkerson is being called up and that the right-hander’s agent, Burton Rocks, has confirmed the move.

No move has been posted on the Brewers’ website. Wilkerson is not on Milwaukee’s 40-man roster, so a player would have to be removed from that list before he could join the club. Now that it’s September, active rosters can be as high as 40 players, though few, if any, teams carry that many, meaning it’s unlikely an active player would have to be de-activated.

The Brewers recently lost ace Jimmy Nelson, a former Nashville Sound, to a shoulder injury and were to send Chase Anderson to start Wednesday night against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Miller Park on just three days rest as Milwaukee has been using a ‘Johnny Wholestaff’ approach to games as the Brewers chase the Chicago Cubs in the National League Central or the Colorado Rockies for a wild card.

McCalvy reported Tuesday that Wilkerson was scheduled to throw off a mound at Maryvale Baseball Park in Phoenix, the Brewers’ spring training home, on Wednesday to stay sharp in the event of a callup.

Wilkerson, who pitched the championship game of Cumberland’s 2010 NAIA World Series title victory and holds a couple of NAIA records, would become CU’s second alumnus on a playing roster. Former catcher Luis Martinez was a catcher for the San Diego Padres and Texas Rangers earlier in this decade. Also, Lester Strode, a pitcher for Cumberland Junior College in 1977, is the longtime bullpen coach for the Chicago Cubs, though he never played in the majors.

Wilkerson spent the 2017 regular season with the AA Biloxi Shuckers, earning Southern League All-Star honors and twice earning the league’s Pitcher of the Week award. He went 11-4 with a 3.16 earned run average in 24 starts, including two complete games, in 142 1/3 innings.

He was called up to Colorado Springs after the regular season to pitch in the Pacific Coast League. He was spectacular in his lone Sky Sox start last Thursday at Memphis, throwing seven hitless innings in a 5-0 win at AutoZone Park. But the Sky Sox were eliminated by the Redbirds in five games.

Despite pitching an NAIA record 54 straight scoreless innings as a CU senior in 2011 and followed a loss in his first ’10 decision with 26 straight wins, a frayed ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow scared MLB teams from drafting him.

Following Tommy John surgery, he spent two years stocking store shelves before signing a professional contract with the independent Fort Worth Cats in his Texas hometown. He was eventually signed by the Boston Red Sox and rocketed through their system all the way to AAA Pawtucket. Premature reports had him being called up to Boston in the summer of 2016, but the Sox chose another pitcher to make a spot start.

Instead, Boston included the now-28-year-old in a trade with the Brewers in July 2016 for veteran infielder Aaron Hill. Wilkerson spent the remainder of ’16 with Colorado Springs, which plays its home games in the highest elevation of any professional ballpark in the United States. After going 6-3 with an ERA in the low-2.00s pitching for two Red Sox teams in New England, he went 2-6 with a 6.42 ERA in the PCL, a league with several ballparks in high elevations and noted for big offensive numbers.

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