08/02/08 3:31 PM ET
Bush named Milwaukee's fifth starter
Road-home platoon ends; McClung sent to bullpen
By Ryan Lavner / MLB.com
"I told them both I wanted to try this and if it wasn't good for either one of them that I would have to make a decision, so that's what we did," manager Ned Yost said. "It was kind of getting to both of them a little bit. I just think that it's better to do it this way."
Yost made the initial decision to start Bush in home games and McClung on the road because their splits were drastic. Bush is 4-3 with a 3.30 ERA in 11 home starts, compared to 1-6 with a 6.95 ERA in nine road games (eight starts). McClung's ERA on the road (3.32) was nearly two points lower than at home (5.44).
But when the new platoon began creating what he called a "mental issue," Yost decided it would be best to return the rotation to some sense of normalcy.
"I couldn't replicate the work on the sides," said Bush, who had 15 days' rest between starts after the platoon took effect in mid July. "I was working more on mechanics and keeping my endurance up, not focusing on improving the starts. It'll be good to do a regular session for now."
In nine starts before beginning the platoon, Bush was 4-3 with a 2.70 ERA, which included a career-high 13-strikeout game against the Rockies on July 10, his final start before the All-Star break.
Working on an inconsistent schedule may have had more of an effect on Bush, pitching coach Mike Maddux said.
"He's such a gym rat and he likes to have his routine down to a science, and more power to him," Maddux said. "He's extremely prepared every five days, mentally and physically. I think [starting] might be better suited for him because of his makeup."
Maddux said the Brewers' current dilemma is a "win-win situation" because the team now has a surplus of starters after adding CC Sabathia to the rotation. Moving the versatile McClung will help fortify the bullpen, he said.
"There are no demotions in that regard," Maddux said. "I always look at the bullpen as a promotion because now they can throw three or four times a week instead of once."
McClung said that he would prefer to be a starter but understood that the Brewers needed a "change in direction." McClung approached team officials and said he did not want to be a long reliever because he wanted to make an impact. Yost concurred, adding that the burly right-hander would likely be used in either the fifth, sixth or seventh innings.
"I want to be part of this team and I want to participate in the games that matter. I just don't want to clean up," McClung said, later adding, "I'm disappointed. And 'disappointed' is a strong word, but it's just part of it. I want to be on this team. I want to help this team win. I'm upset, but man, what can you do? I can't put myself in a situation where I'm not ready to handle another opportunity."
McClung has made 11 starts and 13 relief appearances this season, with an overall ERA of 4.41. He appeared in 14 games last season and made no starts.
"We thought that by alternating starts, we could keep them both sharp, both stretched out, but it's just the makeup of the schedule that it doesn't quite work that way," Maddux said.
Ryan Lavner is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.