Johnny Hellweg's next start might also be his last in the Majors for a while. The 24-year-old right-hander is set to take the mound for the Brewers on Wednesday in the finale of a three-game set against the Reds, but his future after that remains uncertain.
With just four games left before the All-Star break following Hellweg's start on Wednesday, Milwaukee could potentially bring in an extra bat or a fresh arm to take Hellweg's spot on the active roster.
"We'll talk about that," manager Ron Roenicke said. "We have been. We know what we want to do, [but] things change sometimes. We'll see what we need to do."
If Hellweg wants to make the decision regarding his immediate future tougher for the Brewers, he'd be well served to improve on his first two big league starts.
Making his debut on June 28, Hellweg gave up five earned runs in just 1 2/3 innings against the Pirates. Most recently, he gave up three earned runs last Friday against the Mets, leaving the game with the bases loaded and the Brewers trailing 7-2 after 3 2/3 innings. In between those two starts, Hellweg gave up two runs (one earned) in one inning of relief against the Nationals on July 1.
Milwaukee errors have contributed to at least one run in each of Hellweg's three outings, but Roenicke said much of the blame still lies with the pitcher.
"He hasn't had any help, but he needs to throw the ball better," Roenicke said. "His stuff is so good, he needs to ... just don't try to paint the corners. Try to go outer third, inner third, keep it down, let the action get the ground balls and then hopefully we field it for him."
Roenicke said he'd like to see Hellweg go five or six innings, which is something Mike Leake, the Reds' starter on Wednesday, has done routinely this season. In 17 starts, Leake has thrown at least six innings 13 times on the way to a 7-4 record and 2.73 ERA.
However, Leake is coming off his shortest start since April 27, as he went five innings last Friday against the Mariners, giving up four runs on five hits and a walk.
"It's one game," said Leake, who had given up three runs or leass in each of his previous nine starts. "I've been throwing the ball well so far. Get rid of [Friday's game]."
Reds: Heisey added to list of hurting Reds
The Reds entered Tuesday's game against the Brewers with their two catchers -- Ryan Hanigan (sore left wrist) and Devin Mesoraco (back spasms) -- battling injuries. They walked off the field after a 2-0 loss with left fielder Chris Heisey added to the list.
Heisey was hit above the left elbow by a 95-mph fastball from Wily Peralta in the second inning. He trotted out to left field for the bottom half of the inning, but Derrick Robsinon replaced Heisey after head trainer Paul Lessard and manager Dusty Baker pulled him from the game.
Heisey, who missed two months with a strained right hamstring and was batting .368 with two homers in nine games since coming back, had X-rays that came back negative.
The good news for the Reds is that fellow outfielder Xavier Paul, who has been out since he hit his right arm on the wall in left-field foul territory at Great American Ball Park last Friday, is expected to return on Wednesday.
Brewers: Braun reportedly uncooperative with MLB
Ryan Braun returned to the Brewers lineup on Tuesday after missing a month with an inflamed nerve in his right hand and went 1-for-3 with a single in his first at-bat.
But the biggest news surrounding the left fielder on Tuesday had little to do with his performance on the field. According to several sources cited by ESPN's "Outside the Lines," MLB is expected to suspend Braun and other players at some point after the July 16 All-Star Game for their ties to the Biogenesis case.
ESPN reported that Braun met with MLB on June 29 while the Brewers were in Pittsburgh and was uncooperative.
League spokesperson Pat Courtney said the reporting of suspensions and their timing was premature.
"We are still in the midst of an active investigation," Courtney said.
• With Tuesday's loss, the Reds have dropped four straight road series. They enter Wednesday 2-8 in their last 10 games away from Great American Ball Park.
• Brewers second baseman Rickie Weeks is 5-for-9 with two home runs and three RBIs against Leake.
• The Brewers took a series from the Reds on Tuesday for the first time in four tries. On Wednesday, Milwaukee will look for its first sweep over Cincinnati since Aug. 6-8 last season.
Jeremy Warnemuende is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.