MIAMI -- Brewers left-hander Chris Capuano will have gone 979 days between Major League starts when he returns to the mound on Thursday to face the Marlins in the finale of a four-game series, an outing that will mark the end of two years of rehabilitation following his second career Tommy John surgery.So it's easy to understand that Capuano wants to make the most of his outing. Capuano maxed out at 98 pitches in seven Minor League starts this season and said he should be able to pitch with no restrictions against the Marlins. He threw those 98 pitches in his next-to-last outing for Triple-A Nashville on May 23 -- 10 days after pitching eight innings in his Nashville debut. Capuano needed only 84 pitches in that game. "Getting up and down that many times was another big goal of the whole rehab process, along with the pitch count," he said. "Physically, my body is definitely ready to handle the rigors of starting. From there, it's a matter of making pitches so you can get into the seventh or eighth inning. My goal is to try to throw strikes, get ahead and give them as much as I can." Capuano will be making his first start since Sept. 27, 2007 -- a no-decision against the Padres at Miller Park. He underwent his second career Tommy John surgery in May 2008, made six late-season appearances in the Minors in '09 and then seven starts this season at Class A Brevard County and then Nashville. In Spring Training, the Brewers briefly considered Capuano as a bullpen option. Since then, the plan has shifted back to starting, and Capuano is happy about that. "I am, because that's been my focus for the last couple of months," he said. "I've been in that routine, I feel very comfortable doing it. It's not like I have to learn anything new."
Hart honored for memorable month of May
MIAMI -- Corey Hart can't remember any stretch as unbelievably productive as this one. He just wishes he could enjoy it.Hart was the easy choice for Brewers Player of the Month for May after he hit 10 home runs and drove in 22 runs. Hart stayed hot on the first day of June, belting a two-run home run on Tuesday night that temporarily tied the Brewers-Marlins game at 3. Florida scored three times in the seventh for a 6-4 win -- Milwaukee's third consecutive loss. "When you're losing ballgames like we are, it's kind of hard to be happy," Hart said. The team's Player of the Month honor is decided by a vote of the team's beat reporters, media and front-office officials. Yovani Gallardo won Pitcher of the Month for May after going 3-0 with a 2.31 ERA. Hart became the third Brewers player to hit 10 or more homers in May (Prince Fielder in 2007 and Ryan Braun in '08), and his big month was even more impressive considering that Hart did almost all of his damage in two weeks. From May 1-14, he batted .192 (5-for-26) with no home runs and one RBI. From May 15-31, he batted .277 (12-for-65) with 10 homers and 21 RBIs.
Blister puts Bush's next start in doubt
MIAMI -- Dave Bush's next Brewers start is in doubt after the right-hander exited his outing on Tuesday after six innings because of a blister.Asked on Wednesday afternoon whether Bush would be able to start as scheduled against the Cardinals on Sunday, Brewers manager Ken Macha said, "We'll have something on that tomorrow." Bush developed the blister during his previous start against the Astros, but with treatment over the ensuing five days, he was able to pitch on Tuesday night. Should Bush be unavailable against the Cardinals, the Brewers have a number of options, including right-hander Kameron Loe, who was promoted to the Majors on Tuesday in case Bush was unavailable.
Macha's bullpen remains in flux
MIAMI -- With Todd Coffey, LaTroy Hawkins and Trevor Hoffman, the Brewers broke Spring Training camp feeling great about the seventh, eighth and ninth innings. Now Coffey is sidelined temporarily by a bruised thumb, Hawkins is out indefinitely because of shoulder weakness and Hoffman's role is in limbo.Hoffman's situation could be the most confounding for manager Ken Macha. The all-time saves leader made his fourth appearance since being removed from the closer's role on Tuesday night and surrendered three Marlins runs. "I talked to him [Tuesday] before pitching and told him to let me know when he feels good," Macha said. "He went through the three outings he did have, and just the one in Minnesota, he was putting the ball where he wanted to. [Using Hoffman in a tie game] was a necessity, really." Asked whether he would use Hoffman in a tie game or with a narrow lead going forward, Macha couldn't answer. "That's getting into the hypothetical," Macha said. "I don't know the surrounding circumstances. ... What I'll say is what I said [Tuesday night]. Their hitters had a certain approach. If they take that approach, he's going to have to adjust what he's doing. They just stood in there and tried to hit the ball the other way." Coffey was injured swinging the bat in Saturday's win over the Mets and had hoped to return to action on Wednesday, but he reported continued discomfort. He is expected back in action shortly. Hawkins, though, has made little progress since going on the disabled list on May 9 with shoulder fatigue. He did not accompany the team to Miami, and general manager Doug Melvin said Hawkins would not begin throwing until next week at the earliest.
For the second time this season (and the second time in four games), manager Ken Macha batted the pitcher eighth and bumped his middle-of-the-order hitters one spot up in the lineup. Ryan Braun batted second, Prince Fielder third, Casey McGehee fourth and Corey Hart fifth. ... Lefty Chris Capuano was asked which pitching prospects impressed him during his Minor League tour this season. Capuano named a couple of Class A right-handers, Cody Scarpetta and Wily Peralta. "Scarpetta, he's a beast," Capuano said. "Peralta is throwing 93, 94 [mph]. Those two guys, from a pure 'stuff' standpoint, look really good." ... Former first-round Draft pick Mark Rogers made his Triple-A debut on Wednesday, and he allowed one run on three hits in 4 1/3 innings, with three walks and three strikeouts. He didn't allow a run until the fifth inning. Rogers was promoted from Double-A Huntsville on Monday, but it's expected to be a one-start stint; he will likely return to Huntsville so righty Marco Estrada can reclaim his spot in Nashville's rotation. ... George Kottaras will be back behind the plate for Randy Wolf's next start, on Friday in St. Louis. Rookie Jonathan Lucroy had handled Wolf's past two outings, but struggled to pick up the veteran's complicated set of signs. Macha nebulously attributed the change to "comfort level."
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.