MILWAUKEE -- After allowing four home runs in Sunday's 7-0 loss to the Astros, in his third consecutive loss, Brewers right hander Mike Fiers expressed a clear goal for 2013."I have to work on finishing the year better," he said. How does one do that? "I think most of it was mental for me," Fiers said. "I think I was trying to do too much later on in the year, maybe thinking in my head, 'Maybe I am tired.' I don't think I was. I think I was pushing the ball and trying to do more than I really could. That's where my command was a little off in my last couple of starts." Fiers finished 9-10 with a 3.74 ERA, a rookie season that was essentially three seasons in one. He began the year at Triple-A Nashville, shined after a late-May promotion and then slumped down the stretch. Fiers had a 1.80 ERA in his first 13 appearances and a 6.99 ERA in his final 10 starts. He threw 182 2/3 regular season innings between Nashville and Milwaukee, and Brewers manager Ron Roenicke was asked whether he had any regrets about sticking with Fiers through the end of the season, even after he passed his career high for innings. "Oh, no," Roenicke said. "Who else did you want in there? You have to have another answer. You can't just say, 'I don't want somebody in there to start,' if you don't have another answer." In Roenicke's view, with the Brewers suddenly in the postseason picture, there was no other answer. "We were hoping he would come out of it and throw like he was before," Roenicke said. That just didn't happen. Fiers matched his career high with 10 strikeouts on Sunday, but was tagged for five runs on six hits in six innings. The Astros hit their four home runs in the span of three innings. "He looked the same to me," catcher Jonathan Lucroy said. "I just think the scouting report is getting out on him a little bit, and guys are knowing what to expect more. With him going forward, you need to work down in the zone and get his location correct, so we eliminate those elevated fastballs that are getting hit for homers."
Narveson gets first mound work since surgery
MILWAUKEE -- The smile on Chris Narveson's face told the story of his first mound session since shoulder surgery five months ago, but he was asked about it anyway."It felt great," Narveson said. "It's a long time coming, that you come to the field with a smile on your face, ready to get back after it." Narveson began the season as Milwaukee's No. 5 starter, but underwent season-ending surgery on his left rotator cuff on May 1. He had been playing catch on flat ground before taking the bullpen mound at Miller Park on Sunday morning to throw 20 pitches -- all fastballs. After another bullpen session on Wednesday, Narveson will head home to North Carolina to continue his rehab. He'll be able to throw more bullpens at UNC-Wilmington thanks to head coach Mark Scalf, who once recruited Narveson out of high school. Around Oct. 22, Narveson will report to Maryvale Baseball Park to ramp up his rehab under pitching coach Rick Kranitz's watch. "Once you get to this point, you're just thinking about gaining your arm strength and getting back out on the mound," Narveson said. "Being the way I feel, it's pretty remarkable. It's a blessing to feel as good as I do. "What we've got set up now is to get to that live [batting practice] stage, get to the competitive stage again where you're revving it up some. Then we'll shut it down for four or five weeks and pick it up again mid-December and get ready for the spring. We've got a little bit longer spring, so that will help, too. It will give me a little bit of extra work." Spring Training is extended in 2013 because of the World Baseball Classic. Narveson, who turns 31 in December, is 26-18 with a 4.67 ERA in parts of four seasons with the Brewers. He is arbitration eligible for the first time this winter.
Roenicke discusses rotation options
MILWAUKEE -- In discussing the Brewers' myriad of starting pitching options for 2013, manager Ron Roenicke said the team may pursue an established arm over the winter, but seemed to downplay the likelihood of a pursuit of free agent-to-be Zack Greinke."I don't think we're going to go sign a guy for five years and $120 million," Roenicke said. "But I think if there is a veteran out there that [general manager] Doug [Melvin] and his crew likes, that we've heard and seen good things about, yeah, I think he's going to look at everything." Roenicke would prefer the Brewers add another veteran to a mix that figures to include Yovani Gallardo plus some combination of Marco Estrada, Mike Fiers, Chris Narveson, Wily Peralta and Mark Rogers. Another rookie, Tyler Thornburg, "may be a little farther away, but he can surprise you," Roenicke said. The Brewers tried to re-sign Greinke before they traded him to the Angels, offering a contract in excess of $100 million. Greinke, though, made clear he wanted to see how other teams gauged his value on the open market. "We made him a great offer," Roenicke said. "I'm not going to comment about what Mark [Attanasio, the team's principal owner] and Doug decide they're going to do, but we made him a great offer."