Parra's stint in Minors is open-ended
Macha says struggling starter will have to earn his return
MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers sent Manny Parra to the Minor Leagues on Saturday with a challenge to get better but no promises about when he would be back.
Barring an injury to the remaining four starters, manager Ken Macha will be able to get by with a four-man rotation until June 27, the middle game of a three-game series against the Giants at Miller Park. Macha has already discussed that date with general manager Doug Melvin, but made it clear that "there has been no decision made about who would be the guy on the 27th."
It doesn't appear that it will be Parra.
"[Parra] needs to go down there and start feeling good about himself, so I don't know if two starts is going to do that," Macha said. "If you have a bottom, he pretty much hit it."
Melvin hinted the same on Saturday, after optioning Parra to Nashville in favor of left-handed reliever Chris Narveson. Asked if he would prefer that Parra stay longer than two weeks in the Minors, Melvin said, "It all depends on how he pitches. We're trying to win games up here."
Parra surrendered six runs in 1 2/3 innings against the White Sox in Saturday's 7-1 Interleague loss. He fell to 3-8 this season, and the Brewers fell to 3-10 in Parra's starts. Over his last five starts, he's 0-4 with a 13.50 ERA and has allowed 40 hits, 32 earned runs, 15 walks and five home runs in 21 1/3 innings.
The top in-house option to replace Parra as the fifth starter is right-hander Seth McClung, who is 3-1 with a 2.60 ERA in 24 relief appearances this season. But Macha is somewhat hesitant to pull McClung from the bullpen because he has been so steady there and has, on several occasions, saved the Brewers from disaster by sucking up innings to save the rest of the relief corps.
If McClung stays in place, the Brewers would have to tap Triple-A Nashville. Right-hander Mike Burns impressed Macha with four scoreless innings of work on June 2 and could be an option. Tim Dillard rebounded from a series of rough starts to allow one run in 6 1/3 quality innings on Saturday night and could also get a look.
Parra is scheduled to arrive in Nashville on Monday and will make his first start for the Sounds on Thursday in Oklahoma City, according to Nashville director of baseball operations and communications Doug Scopel. That game was supposed to belong to Dillard, who presumably will pitch Friday instead.
Because Nashville has what Macha called an "inconvenient" off-day on June 22, five days before the Brewers need a pitcher, the teams will have some maneuvering to do ahead of June 27. The plan could become clearer next week, when Melvin is scheduled to see the Sounds in action.
Parra has not pitched in the Minor Leagues since 2007. He threw a perfect game for the Sounds at Round Rock on June 25 of that season.
"He's got good stuff," Macha said. "He throws in the 90s, has a pretty good changeup. His curveball is good. I'm going to say right now that his confidence level is low. No matter how hard you throw ... when it's over the plate, it gets hit. He understands that."
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.