Left-hander Rex Brothers, a dominant reliever in 2013 with the Rockies before being sidetracked by control problems, will get an opportunity to revive his career with the Braves this spring.
The Braves signed the 29-year-old to a minor league contract, after Brothers was released by the Cubs in March 2016 and didn’t pitch last season. His deal didn’t include an invitation to major league camp, so Brothers will be in minor league spring training to continue to rehab and re-strengthen his arm after shoulder problems and work with Braves instructors.
Four years ago, Brothers posted a 1.74 ERA in 72 appearances for Colorado, converting 19 of 21 save opportunities and striking out more than a batter per inning (76 strikeouts with 36 walks in 67 1/3 innings). But his ERA ballooned to 5.59 in 2014 and Brothers made only 17 appearances in 2015, when he had more walks (eight) than strikeouts (five) in 10 1/3 innings. He spent much of that season in Triple-A trying to work through mechanical issues.
Brothers was designated for assignment after the 2015 season and traded to the Cubs, who agreed to a $1.42 million contract with him, avoiding arbitration. Midway through 2016 spring training, the Cubs released him after Brothers’ command problems flared once again, even worse. His velocity reportedly remains in the high-90 mph range and Braves scouts like what they saw in recent throwing sessions.
A native of Murfreesboro, Tenn., Brothers was a first-round (supplemental) draft pick by the Rockies in 2009 out of Lipscomb University in Nashville.