MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers brought right-hander Tyler Thornburg back for September because they expected to re-insert him into the starting rotation and evaluate where he fits for 2013. The team's sudden appearance in the National League Wild Card race has postponed those plans.

So, Thornburg has been in the bullpen since Saturday, awaiting his chance to pitch.

"Hey, honestly, I really don't mind," he said. "If we're winning, I don't care if I pitch again. We're winning close ballgames. We're always in it. I've been going out there, and every two or three days if I feel I need some [throwing] off the mound, then I do it. I just want to be sure I'm ready."

He has already thrown a couple of mound sessions since his Sept. 4 promotion from Triple-A Nashville.

Thornburg was 10-4 with a 3.20 ERA in 21 starts between Double-A Huntsville and Nashville this season, and had a 5.79 ERA in five appearances during his first two stints with the Brewers, including a June 19 start against the Blue Jays.

Hart hoping to return for Mets series

MILWAUKEE -- There was building optimism at Miller Park on Wednesday that first baseman Corey Hart will play at some point this weekend against the Mets. When, exactly, he could return to action depended on who you asked.

"I want to play Friday," said Hart, who has torn tissue in the arch of his left foot. "I unrealistically wanted to play today, but even if I hit it off the fence, I still might not be able to get to first base right now."

Said manager Ron Roenicke: "Friday is still a little bit questionable -- whether he can do it. Hopefully Saturday or Sunday, he's back in."

Hart injured his foot in Sunday's loss to the Cardinals and missed all three of the Brewers' games against the Braves. The team has a well-timed off-day on Thursday -- Hart will report to Miller Park anyway for treatment -- before beginning a three-game series against the Mets on Friday.

Hart was fitted for a custom foot support on Wednesday that should help ease the pain in his foot. The device should be ready for wear on Friday.

"It's tough because I don't want to have any setbacks and miss games," Hart said. "I'm probably a little apprehensive on it ... but I want to do everything I can to try to get out there."

Gamel won't be ready to play in AFL

MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers have decided on a cautious approach with rehabbing first baseman Mat Gamel, who will not be quite ready to play in the upcoming Arizona Fall League.

Gamel suffered a torn ACL on May 1, underwent surgery and has been recovering ever since. He recently began swinging and taking ground balls at first base and fly balls in the outfield, and the Brewers considered asking for an exemption from Major League Baseball to add Gamel to the AFL. He has Major League service time in excess of the league's usual standard.

But that possibility was always incumbent on Gamel's knee being strong enough to play by Oct. 9, when the league begins play. Outfielder Josh Prince will take the spot earmarked for Gamel instead.

"Matt has not made enough progress physically to meet the timeline of the AFL," assistant general manager Gord Ash wrote in an email. "His plan is to continue to rehab and look to get at-bats in the Dominican later in the season. He is making progress; we just don't want to rush him back to meet the AFL requirements."