© 2012 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.

03/10/12 2:55 PM ET

Dillard, Perez in the mix for bullpen

PHOENIX -- Side-arming right-hander Tim Dillard and hard-throwing left-hander Juan Perez have been very impressive in the early part of the Cactus League schedule and are solidly under consideration for Opening Day jobs, manager Ron Roenicke said Saturday.

Assuming swingman Marco Estrada is not needed in the starting rotation, the Brewers have two open relief roles. Besides Dillard, other right-handed candidates include Brandon Kintzler and Mike McClendon. Other lefties competing with Perez are Manny Parra and Zack Braddock.

Dillard is a particularly interesting case. Two years ago in Spring Training, he dramatically altered his mechanics to revive a stalled career, switching from an over-the-top delivery to a sidearm sling. Dillard posted a 4.12 ERA in 2010 while adjusting to the change in the Minors, then a 3.58 ERA and .221 opponents' batting average in 2011 as his command improved. He also returned to the big leagues for the first time since '09, pitching twice out of the Brewers' bullpen.

"He's got very good velocity for a guy down under," Roenicke said. "That 88 [mph], when you talk to guys, it looks 95. ... What I see of him, I really like what he's doing. He can get a strikeout on a really good hitter."

Does Dillard have a chance to make the team?

"He's got a good chance to make our team," Roenicke said.

Perez qualifies as something of a spring surprise, a non-roster invitee who signed a Minor League deal with Milwaukee just before Christmas. He's pitched professionally since 1999 but only has 32 Major League appearances to his credit.

He touched 95 mph on the radar gun Wednesday against the White Sox, then worked 1 1/3 hitless innings against the Indians on Friday.

"We're not looking just, is he performing well? We're looking at what kind of stuff he has," Roenicke said. "He has good stuff. I didn't realize he had that good stuff."

Marcum ready to return to bullpen mound

PHOENIX -- Brewers starter Shaun Marcum was poised to re-start a series of mound sessions after resting a sore right shoulder, and the club still hopes he'll be part of the Opening Day pitching rotation.

Marcum is dealing with a stiff shoulder for the second straight spring. He has yet to pitch in the Cactus League, but played long toss on Saturday for a third straight day and is expected to throw a bullpen on Sunday or Monday, manager Ron Roenicke said.

"I talked to him this morning, and he thought, timing-wise, he is actually ahead of where he was last year," Roenicke said. "Last year, it was close. We didn't know if he was going to be ready at the beginning [of the season] or not. I think he'll probably be in the same boat this year.

The Brewers' original plan appeared to slot Marcum for the fourth game of the regular season, On April 9 at Chicago. If that changes, Roenicke said he would not expect Marcum to miss more than one start. The Brewers could use swingman Marco Estrada in his spot. They need to make two full turns through the five-man rotation before the season's first off day.

Marcum was similarly bothered last spring but wound up starting the season on time and going 6-1 with a 2.37 ERA in his first 10 starts. The Brewers say his current stiffness has nothing to do with Marcum's struggles at the end of last season and in the playoffs.

Kintzler seeking answers to elbow pain

PHOENIX -- A disconsolate Brandon Kintzler said Saturday he is still experiencing significant discomfort in his surgically repaired right elbow, a blow to his bid for a job in the Brewers' bullpen.

Kintzler, a leading candidate for one of two open bullpen spots, sat at his locker with his head down while teammates prepared for a busy day in Brewers camp -- split-squad games against the Cubs and Giants. Kintzler was hoping to make his Cactus League debut on Sunday against the Rockies, but Friday's round of live batting practice did not go well, and the elbow was feeling even worse Saturday morning.

"Like I never had surgery in the first place," Kintzler said.

He was to be examined Saturday by Dr. William Raasch, the Brewers' head physician who performed Kintzler's surgery

The elbow has given Kintzler trouble for nearly a year. He missed most of last season with an injury that was eventually diagnosed as a fracture, and required surgery in late July to insert a screw. Kintzler reported to Spring Training healthy, and an X-ray of his elbow taken as part of Kintzler's standard physical exam revealed no red flags.

He has had a series of setbacks since then, the latest on Saturday. Kintzler's arm felt "electric" warming up in the bullpen, but that changed when he took the mound at a back field at Maryvale Baseball Park and pitched to group of hitters that included Caleb Gindl and Anderson De La Rosa.

"It just wasn't the same," Kintzler said. "Even [Paul] Phillips, the catcher, said it wasn't the same. I felt great coming in from the 'pen. Words can't explain the confusion right now."

Last call

Right fielder Corey Hart was already off his crutches Saturday, four days after surgery to repair cartilage tears in his knee. His flexibility in the joint is farther along than doctors expected, manager Ron Roenicke said.

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.