PHOENIX (AP) Pitchers Chris Capuano and Blaine Boyer, and infielders Yadiel Rivera and Colin Walsh have earned roster spots with the Milwaukee Brewers.
Because they were major league free agents, Milwaukee had to decide by Tuesday whether to put Capuano and Boyer on the roster, release them or pay $100,000 retention bonuses. Capuano gets a contract that pays him $1.5 million in the big leagues and Boyer $950,000.
Capuano has started 120 of his 139 major league games but will come out of the bullpen exclusively for the first time in his major league career. The 37-year-old left-hander became more valuable when co-closer Will Smith tore the lateral collateral ligament in his right knee while taking a shoe last week. Smith is attempting rest and rehabilitation in an attempt to avoid surgery,
Capuano has a 1.54 ERA in 11 2/3 innings over eight spring training appearances.
''Chris is becoming a reliever for the first time,'' Milwaukee manager Craig Counsel said. ''It's different, but Chris has survived and figured things out through his career.''
Boyer, 34, was signed as a free agent on Feb. 12 and made the team despite a 6.23 ERA in the exhibition season. Counsell said he like Boyer's veteran presence on what will be a very young bullpen.
Rivera, 23, has hit .302 with three homers and 10 RBIs in 43 at-bats and showed smooth defensive abilities at shortstop and second base. He played seven games with the Brewers at the end of last season.
''It's a dream come true to be on the opening-day roster,'' Rivera said. ''I'm pretty excited right now. I still can't believe it.''
Walsh, 26, was acquired from Oakland in the winter meeting draft; if he had not made the roster, Milwaukee would have had to offer him back to the Athletics. He hit .238 in 42 at-bats and walked 11 times for a .400 on-base percentage.
''It's kind of a culmination of a lot of stuff for a long time. Been working for a long time, playing since I was 4,'' said Walsh, who has never played above Double-A. ''It's a chance to prove that I belong there and not just make one roster.''