PITTSBURGH -- Brewers manager Ron Roenicke would like to remind contending clubs that there is still time to bolster their rosters for the pennant races.

If it sounds strange that a manager would tout the idea of trading away two of his team's most veteran players, consider that Milwaukee entered its weekend series at PNC Park 17 1/2 games out of first place in the National League Central. And consider that both Shaun Marcum, who returns to the mound Saturday after more than two months on the disabled list, and Francisco Rodriguez, who is pitching well again after flaming-out in a brief stint as the Brewers' closer, are free agents after the season.

Roenicke made a pitch for both players on Friday, one week shy of the Aug. 31 deadline for teams to acquire players and have them eligible for postseason rosters.

Players traded after July 31 must clear waivers first, but there is a high probability that both Marcum and Rodriguez have already cleared that hurdle.

Rodriguez on Friday extended his streak of consecutive scoreless, hitless appearances to six with a clean eighth inning against the Pirates. He has allowed one walk and struck out seven batters in that span.

"All I know is if I'm another team and I'm a contender, and I want a guy who's a big-game pitcher, I would certainly come after Frankie," Roenicke said. "I told you guys all along -- I have tons of confidence in Frankie, even when he was going bad, I had lots of confidence in him. Now he's back throwing [well]. Somebody should grab him."

Marcum is in line for two starts before Aug. 31. He was 5-3 with a 3.39 ERA in 13 starts before developing stiffness in his right elbow after a June 14 outing at Kansas City.

"Why wouldn't you?" take a look at Marcum, Roenicke asked. "The guy can flat-out pitch."

Rodriguez is earning $8 million this season and Marcum $7.725 million, so the Brewers would stand to get about $1.3 million apiece by trading either player for September.

Roenicke would not begrudge Brewers management for considering such deals. The Brewers already traded away Zack Greinke before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.

"Not at all," Roenicke said. "Yeah, I want to win every game we can, but sometimes [you don't mind] when a guy has a chance to go somewhere and pitch for a team that's hopefully a contender."

Marcum activated off DL, to start Saturday

PITTSBURGH -- Shaun Marcum said Saturday will be "just another start," though it's been a long time in the making.

"Two months too long," he said.

The Brewers formally activated Marcum from the 60-day disabled list on Friday, and he will return to the rotation on Saturday at PNC Park. It will be Marcum's first Major League start since June 14 at Kansas City, when he developed stiffness in his surgically-repaired right elbow.

Marcum expected at the time to miss one start. He wound up missing more than two months.

After making three rehabilitation starts for Class A Wisconsin, Marcum will be able to throw about 90 pitches on Saturday. There was some discussion of bringing him back to the big leagues after two Minor League starts, but manager Ron Roenicke and other club officials convinced Marcum to pitch one last time. He wound up throwing 71 pitches on Monday.

Was that mostly to benefit Marcum, or the team?

"Both," Roenicke said. "I thought it would benefit him, and when we talked to him, I think he understood that. ... It's an important time for him to pitch well. He's a free agent after the season, and I think that's a time he needs to show people he can pitch. We all know he can pitch -- I've been watching him for a team and a half. The guy can pitch. But to stay healthy and to do well so everybody else sees you, I think that's big for him.

"Now, for us, it also helps because we're getting more innings from him now. I also think that extra game allows him to pitch better for us that first time out. We're trying to win as many games as we can. We don't want to concede anything. I know that certainly the numbers are stacked well against us, but we're still going to go out and try to win every game we can."

Last call

• Shortstop Jean Segura returned to the lineup Friday after missing one game with a sprained left ankle. He was hurt when he stepped on Cubs reliever Carlos Marmol's foot on a play at first base Tuesday night, and Segura had to pass some tests in batting practice Friday afternoon before he was cleared to play.

• Another shortstop, Jeff Bianchi, was in Pittsburgh on Friday and will be formally recalled from Triple-A Nashville on Saturday. The Brewers intended to make that move on Wednesday after releasing Randy Wolf, but discovered that Bianchi had not spent the requisite 10 days in the Minor Leagues following a brief stint with the team while pitcher Mark Rogers was on paternity leave.

So the Brewers used Wolf's vacant spot to activate Marcum from the DL instead, then outrighted reliever Mike McClendon to Nashville to make room for Bianchi.