Suppan officially tabbed for opener
In line to pitch vs. Giants on Tuesday, veteran gets nod
PHOENIX -- The calendar has indicated all along that he was the pick. On Thursday, his manager finally made it official.Jeff Suppan is the Brewers' Opening Day starter.
Suppan allowed a run and three hits in five efficient innings against the White Sox in Thursday's Cactus League finale, and the next time he toes the rubber, it will be in Tuesday's season opener in San Francisco. National League Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum will start for the Giants."It's definitely a big honor," said Suppan, who started three straight season openers for the Royals from 2000-02. "I've always felt that way, every time I've been given the ball that first game, and I still feel that way today." Why was Suppan the pick? "He's got the most experience," Brewers manager Ken Macha. "He's pitched in a clinching game in the World Series. I just didn't want the younger guys going out in that situation." The younger guys are right-hander Yovani Gallardo and Manny Parra, who will start the second and third games of the season-opening series at AT&T Park. They will be followed by two more veteran right-handers -- Braden Looper on April 10 in the Brewers' home opener against the Cubs, and Dave Bush on April 11, likely against Cubs Opening Day starter Carlos Zambrano. "[Choosing] Suppan is not a negative to Looper or Bush. Either one of those guys could have been the one starting on Opening Day," Macha said. "Maybe it will give [Suppan] a bit of a boost and put him on his way to a nice year." Suppan was 10-10 last season with a 4.96 ERA. He was 5-0 with a 3.00 ERA in August before fading down the stretch. Fighting the effects of an elbow injury earlier in the summer, Suppan went 0-3 with an 8.44 ERA in five September starts, then lost Game 4 of the National League Division Series against the Phillies. "It's a new year," Macha said. Tuesday will mark Suppan's fourth career Opening Day start. He was the pick for three in a row from 2000-02, going 0-1 and allowing 20 hits, including nine home runs, in 16 innings. He finished strong in Spring Training. Over Suppan's final three Cactus League starts, he allowed two runs and 10 hits over 17 innings. "Regardless of results, I think I accomplished what I needed to accomplish in Spring Training," Suppan said. The Brewers' 2-1 win over the White Sox on Thursday boosted the team's Cactus League record to 20-10-3, the club's first 20-win spring since an extended slate of games in 1995. The Brewers notched 12 wins and one tie in their final 15 games. "You don't take a lot of comfort in [Spring Training] wins and losses, but you look up and we've played pretty good baseball," general manager Doug Melvin said. "I didn't realize we had won 12 of 14 or whatever it is, but we have quietly won games. I think our pitching has been pretty good."
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.