07/12/12 11:34 PM ET
Thornburg called up to help bolster bullpen
By Jeremy Warnemuende / MLB.com
Infielder Bianchi ready to contribute to Brewers
MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers' newest middle infielder, Jeff Bianchi, doesn't know when or in what capacity he'll make his Major League debut after being called up from Triple-A Nashville this week. He just knows he'll be ready no matter what."Roles might be a little different coming off the bench," Bianchi said of moving from the Minors to Milwaukee. "But I still got to prepare the same way; still got to come in and get my work in every day. And when the opportunity comes, whether it be starting on a given day or coming off the bench, I got to be ready for whatever role, whatever position I'm put in to succeed." More than anything, Bianchi said he's simply happy to have made it this far after a long road to the bigs. Drafted in the second round in 2005 by Kansas City, Bianchi played just 12 games in his second professional season because of a right shoulder injury. In 128 Minor League games in 2009, Bianchi batted .308 with 70 RBIs. However, he then missed all of 2010 after undergoing Tommy John surgery on his right elbow before the season started. After posting a .259 average for the Royals' Double-A club, Bianchi was claimed by the Cubs in December, but it was only a month until the Brewers picked him up. Despite two short stints on the disabled list with a hamstring issue and after being hit in the wrist by a pitch, Bianchi said feels "great" and is hoping to make the most of his first Major League chance. "It's been exciting," he said. "Just very thankful for this opportunity. We waited a long time to be here, and hopefully we'll be here awhile now." Brewers manager Ron Roenicke doesn't know exactly how much he'll use Bianchi, especially during the upcoming crucial nine-game stretch against division foes, beginning Friday against the Pirates. But he said Bianchi, who was batting .305 with 13 RBIs with Nashville before being called up, is expected to contribute. "We're not bringing him up here because we think he's just a backup guy who can't do a lot," Roenicke said. "We're making this change because we think that he can help us from what they tell us in Triple-A."
Brewers manager Ron Roenicke still wasn't sure on Thursday about how much time injured starter Shaun Marcum will miss. Out with a stiff right elbow, Marcum has been playing catch, but Roenicke said no bullpen sessions have been scheduled. Roenicke was split on the time off players get during the All-Star break. Although he said having until Friday is nice for guys who played in the Midsummer Classic, he thinks it's a long time for the everyday players to not play. "I know some guys, it gives them a chance to heal up," he said. "But I think it's a long time off." With the next nine games coming against the Pirates, Cardinals and Reds, Roenicke said his players are aware the upcoming stretch is important for the Brewers, especially as the organization decides what roster moves to make. "They know," Roenicke said. "Not in these terms, where how important it is, but I told them this is a stretch right now where we got a chance to play all the guys that are in front of us. And it's the time that if we're going to make a move, it's the time we should do it,"
Jeremy Warnemuende is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.