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07/16/12 8:58 PM ET

Lucroy to begin rehab assignment on Thursday

MILWAUKEE -- Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy will begin a Minor League rehabilitation assignment on Thursday, and could be back in the big leagues by the end of next week.

Lucroy, recovering from a fractured bone in his right hand, will begin his rehab at Class A Wisconsin, just up the road from Miller Park in Appleton, Wis. The Timber Rattlers' website said that assignment will tentatively run through Sunday.

"With him going there, it's a little bit more controlled," Roenicke said. "With everything going right, Nashville will be home [the following week] and maybe we'll get him a few games there and see where he is."

Lucroy could join the Triple-A Nashville Sounds when they begin a homestand on July 24. The Brewers are in Philadelphia at that time, but will return to Miller Park beginning Thursday, July 26, against the Nationals.

Lucroy's arrival would return one of the Brewers' top early-season run producers to the lineup while creating a problem at the same time. Call-up Martin Maldonado has been a bright spot in Lucroy's place, carrying a .285 average and five home runs into Monday's start against the Cardinals.

Maldonado said he isn't worried about what Lucroy's pending return would do to his playing time, or his spot on the roster.

"I'm happy he's coming back," Maldonado said. "He's been a mentor to me. I have no idea what will happen, but it's OK."

Thornburg takes circuitous route back to rotation

MILWAUKEE -- Tyler Thornburg's strange summer took another turn Monday when he was tabbed to return to the Brewers' starting rotation on Wednesday against the Cardinals.

Thornburg will pitch in place of Zack Greinke, who will be skipped one turn in the rotation in an effort, the Brewers said, to regain the sharpness he lost while starting three consecutive games around the All-Star break.

That's three starts in seven days. Thornburg's start on Wednesday will be his third in five weeks. "It's a little different than I was expecting, I'm not gonna lie," Thornburg said of his weird rookie season. "You never know what's going to come next, I guess."

Thornburg started for Double-A Huntsville on June 9 and didn't pitch again until a one-off Major League debut for the Brewers against the Blue Jays on June 19. The Brewers optioned him to Triple-A Nashville after that outing, and Thornburg didn't make his Sounds debut until July 4 because of a minor right wrist injury.

Then the Brewers recalled him over the All-Star break to pitch in relief, and Thornburg allowed a solo home run in two innings against the Pirates on Saturday.

Now he's headed back to the rotation, if only for one start while Greinke gets right. Thornburg threw a quick, light bullpen session on Monday and said he was surprised to learn Sunday night that he'd be starting against the Cardinals.

"I'm excited about the opportunity," he said. "I think all this experience is great and it will help me settle in."

Neither Thornburg nor manager Ron Roenicke could offer an idea of how deep into the game Thornburg might pitch. Roencike called that a minor concern, considering the Brewers have an off-day Thursday.

Last call

The Brewers Community Foundation hosted Milwaukee Fatherhood Initiative Day at Miller Park on Monday, a tie-in with Mayor Tom Barrett's initiative aimed at raising awareness about the importance of involved, responsible and committed fathers. A group of 15 fathers and their children took part.

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.