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07/26/09 2:38 PM ET

Bush won't return until at least mid-August

'I'm still a ways away from where I need to be,' righty says

MILWAUKEE -- Even the most optimistic of projections doesn't have injured right-hander Dave Bush back in the Brewers' starting rotation until the middle of August, manager Ken Macha said Sunday.

That jived with what Bush said earlier in the morning, after playing catch in the Miller Park outfield. Asked whether another Minor League rehabilitation assignment was scheduled, Bush said, "I don't know yet. There might be, but it's not going to be in the next week."

"I'm still a ways away from where I need to be," added Bush, who hasn't pitched since June 20 because of a right triceps injury that has drifted into his elbow. "But with each step, I guess there's progress."

Trouble is, the progress isn't coming fast enough for the starter-strapped Brewers, who are poised to move Mike Burns back to the bullpen and lost another arm, right-hander Seth McClung, to the disabled list on Saturday with a sprained elbow.

Bush was originally sidelined by microtears in his right triceps, the result of a June 4 line drive off the bat of Florida shortstop Hanley Ramirez that struck the pitcher in the right upper arm. He made three more starts after that before succumbing to the disabled list, then made two rehab starts before exiting early on July 13 at Double-A Huntsville with a recurrence of fatigue in his arm.

Bush returned to Milwaukee while the Brewers began the second half with a road trip to Cincinnati and Pittsburgh for another MRI scan. It revealed inflammation in Bush's elbow, but no further damage to the triceps.

"It was a pretty slow week for me. I was pretty bored," said Bush, who reunited with the team this weekend. "The muscle is definitely healing, but this was the first time I was ever away from the team at any level, the first time I had to watch games on television. It was difficult. Sitting on the couch and watching TV, that part I did not enjoy."

It's been doubly difficult, because Bush realizes that the team needs him right now.

"We're not playing our best right now, but we've gone through slumps in each of the last couple of years," Bush said. "We're not 15 games out of first place. We're not playing our best, but we're still in a comfortable situation."

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.