PHOENIX -- Brewers infielder Craig Counsell was back in the starting lineup Monday after playing a pair of Minor League games, but he might need surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee, assistant general manager Gord Ash said.

That's just one of the scenarios for Counsell, who is expected to serve as Milwaukee's primary reserve infielder this season and is particularly important as a backup to starting shortstop J.J. Hardy. There also remains the possibility that Counsell could play through the injury, Ash said.

"He played over on the [Minor League] side the last couple of days and pushed himself pretty good," Ash said. "He has some pain but still can play through it. What we want to do is move him over here and let him play [in a big league game] to see how he feels. By mid-week we'll have some decisions on where it goes from there."

A surgery would sideline Counsell for 2-3 weeks, Ash said. The parties plan to sit down on Wednesday to make a decision.

Counsell played seven innings of defense against the Mariners and went 0-for-2 with a walk in three plate appearances. He scored the go-ahead run for the Brewers in the seventh inning before calling it a day.

"I didn't have any problems," Counsell said. "I felt good about it. ... I feel like if I can go out and play 4-5 days in a row and I don't feel like I'm struggling through it, we're good to go."

Including his Minor League games, Counsell played three days in a row through Monday.

"They've said all along, 'It's up to you,'" Counsell said. "That's the kind of injury it is."

If Counsell suffers a setback, both Mike Lamb and Casey McGehee would make Milwaukee's Opening Day roster, but the team would be thin behind Hardy. Bill Hall, who played shortstop when Hardy was injured in 2006, would probably slide over from third base. The team wants to stick with its plan to send shortstop prospect Alcides Escobar to Triple-A Nashville.

Dr. William Raasch, the Brewers' head physician, was in camp on Monday morning and examined Counsell.

"The best read on this is that this was pre-existing and he tweaked a pre-existing injury," Ash said. "The swelling is a result of [that]. He's probably played with it for quite some time. Now it's a case of doing what he's done the last few days -- play and see what happens. He's saying, 'If I can live with it, I'll live with it. If I can't live with it, I'll have it fixed.'"