MILWAUKEE -- Brewers manager Ken Macha does not like to use position players as pitchers. A week ago, Macha went so far as to call it "embarrassing."
Yet with the Brewers trailing the Reds, 12-4, on Tuesday, Macha asked utility man Joe Inglett to pitch the ninth.
Inglett was the first Brewers position player to pitch since infielder Trent Durrington threw on April 17, 2004, in Houston. Five other position players have taken the mound so far this season, including Felipe Lopez and Joe Mather for the Cardinals on April 17 and Jonathan Van Every on May 8 for Boston. Former Brewers utility man Bill Hall also pitched for the Red Sox on May 28, and he was joined by Houston's Kevin Cash the same day, who pitched for the Astros against the Reds.
"It's really the first time I've ever used a position player, even when I managed in the Minor Leagues," Macha said. "It was interesting. He was throwing 51 [mph] and got them out."
Inglett was effective, retiring the top of the Reds' lineup in order. Brandon Phillips, Orlando Cabrera and Joey Votto had combined to go 11-for-15 (.733) before facing Inglett, driving in four runs with seven runs scored.
Against Inglett, the top of the Reds' order managed a popup to third, a groundout to second base and a long flyout to center field.
"One, two, three. That's all I can say," right-handed starter Yovani Gallardo said of Inglett. "I was pretty impressed. For him to go in there and get three outs, he made it seem easy."
Inglett touched 56 mph on the radar gun once, with his average pitch speed at 54 mph.
While the pitches registered as knuckleballs on the pitch tracker, catcher Jonathan Lucroy said Inglett was just throwing the ball to the glove.
"I put down fastball, but it wasn't fast," Lucroy said. "It's just flipping them in there. That's all it is. Just trying to save our pitching staff for tomorrow."
Macha said that the status of his pitching staff was the reason he called for Inglett on the mound. After Gallardo went just 2 2/3 innings, Macha used Todd Coffey for one-third of an inning to close out the third.
Long-reliever Chris Capuano pitched three innings, followed by David Riske for the seventh and Trevor Hoffman for the eighth.
While Macha had four pitchers -- Kameron Loe, John Axford, Carlos Villanueva and lefty Zach Braddock -- remaining in the bullpen, none were available.
"Loe needed another day. I wasn't going to use Axford. Capuano, I used him, so I needed a lefty [Braddock] for tomorrow," Macha said. "I thought it would be ill-advised if I used Villa. But when your starter doesn't get three innings in, that happens."
Inglett, who did not want to talk about his Major League pitching debut after the game, was volunteered by his manager.
"I asked him if he'd pitched before," Macha said. "He said, 'I'll go do that.'"
Hart likely to remain with Brewers
MILWAUKEE -- Right fielder Corey Hart said all along that he wanted to remain with the Brewers. This isn't exactly the scenario he had in mind.
Hart missed his fourth consecutive start on Tuesday with a sore right thumb and said he's hoping to return to Milwaukee's lineup on Friday in Houston.
"I felt better throwing today than I did yesterday," Hart said. "I took some dry swings today because it was feeling better. I'm not quite ready, but it's a lot of progress from the past couple days.
"I probably still won't play tomorrow, but I might be able to hit tomorrow. ... Then I'm sure I'll do stuff on the off-day in Houston, and then I'd imagine I can do everything on Friday. I think I'll be ready on Friday."
The ill-timed injury has likely cost the Brewers any chance to shop their All-Star right fielder in trade talks ahead of Saturday's non-waiver Trade Deadline.
Before he was hurt in a collision with the outfield wall last weekend against the Nationals, Hart was reportedly drawing some interest from a number of teams, including the Giants, Padres, Braves and Rays, all of whom possess the kind of young pitching that Brewers general manager Doug Melvin would seek in return for one of his established hitters.
But as the Brewers continue to win, carrying a five-game winning streak into Tuesday night's contest, manager Ken Macha and the club would like to get Hart back on the field as soon as they can, provided he remains in a Brewers uniform.
"I spoke with him today. He still has some discomfort, but he says it's getting better every day," Macha said. "I asked him about the Houston series and he's feeling good about that.
"He's still a ways off. I asked him about Houston, he said he hopes so."
Hawkins eyeing weekend return
MILWAUKEE -- After more than 2 1/2 months on the disabled list, veteran reliever LaTroy Hawkins finally has a set date for his expected return to the Brewers.
"He'll probably be activated during the Houston series," manager Ken Macha said.
Hawkins, who went on the DL with right shoulder weakness on May 9, pitched two scoreless innings on Monday night for the Nashville Sounds, allowing just two hits, while tossing 21 strikes in 28 pitches.
Most important for Hawkins, a 37-year-old right-hander, he has not had any setbacks since beginning his rehab assignment, and he felt as good on Monday night as he has since going on the DL.
"When you're injured, you always have to think about, 'Am I ever going to feel like I felt before I got injured?'" Hawkins said.
Since starting his rehab assignment on July 15, Hawkins has pitched for the Brewers' Rookie League team in Arizona, as well as the club's Triple-A affiliate in Nashville.
Hawkins, who is in his 16th season in the Major Leagues, learned a lot during his time away from the field.
"You kind of find yourself when you're on the DL. You've got a lot of time to think and reflect and do a lot of other things that make you not take this game for granted," Hawkins said. "Going back to the Minor Leagues is definitely a humbling experience, seeing those guys and how hard they work.
"It makes you appreciate where you are and what you have."
With his return expected this weekend in Houston, Hawkins will be joining the club on the road trip, something that hasn't happened in quite a while.
How does Hawkins feel to be getting back on the road with the club?
"Good," Hawkins said, "especially going on the road in the big leagues."
Brewers take part in community work
MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers Community Foundation gave itself a well-deserved pat on the back Tuesday and announced it had raised $1.5 million so far in 2010 for nonprofit groups in Wisconsin.
Prince Fielder, Rickie Weeks, Craig Counsell and Doug Davis attended a press conference at Rainbow Park in West Allis, Wis., to highlight the contributions of 15 Brewers players to various community causes. Those players then took part in mini-clinics with kids at Harvey Kuenn Field, which received assistance from the Brewers' charitable arm last summer after sustaining flood damage.
Other Brewers were active in the community on Tuesday, too. John Axford, Zach Braddock, Chris Capuano, Kameron Loe and Dave Riske joined a group of former big leaguers that included Jim Gantner and Larry Hisle for a clinic hosted by the Major League Baseball Players Association Players' Trust. More than 250 local Little Leaguers and members of the Boys and Girls Club took part.
A few hours later, Capuano, Counsell, Weeks, Corey Hart and Trevor Hoffman hosted the Players Association's "Buses for Baseball" event. The players welcomed 50 students from Our Next Generation, an organization that provides academic support and other services to urban children.
Brewers prospects will be part of the Surprise Rafters in this year's Arizona Fall League, and Double-A Huntsville manager Mike Guerrero will serve as the team's skipper. The league announced its club and staff assignments on Tuesday, and the Brewers were paired with the Tigers, Royals, Cardinals and Rangers at Surprise Stadium, the Spring Training home of the Royals and Rangers. Rosters are typically finalized in late August and play begins this year on Oct. 12.
Jordan Schelling is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.