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07/20/12 8:46 PM ET

Thornburg returns to 'pen after latest spot start

CINCINNATI -- It's back to the Brewers bullpen for 23-year-old pitching prospect Tyler Thornburg, who will try to find a way to keep opposing hitters in the ballpark.

Thornburg made another spot start Wednesday, this one in place of a resting Zack Greinke, and surrendered a pair of solo home runs in 4 2/3 otherwise scoreless innings. In two Brewers starts, Thornburg has surrendered seven home runs that accounted for all eight runs against him.

Why has he been so prone to the long ball?

"No clue," Thornburg said. "I think this is a stretch I'm not really used to; I've never had happen. I've worked on some pitches in the Minor Leagues to keep them off my fastball, but unfortunately, when I started being able to bring that into games, all of this roller-coaster action started happening."

It's a ride that, for the most part, he took gladly.

Thornburg made his final start for Double-A Huntsville on June 9 and was ejected for his role in a fracas. He did not pitch again until June 19, when Milwaukee needed a replacement for the injured Shaun Marcum. After that start against the Blue Jays, Thornburg was optioned to Triple-A Nashville but did not pitch there until July 4 because of a minor wrist injury.

Then the Brewers brought him back over the Major League All-Star break, and he pitched two innings against the Pirates on July 14 before Wednesday's start against the Cardinals.

That's three starts and four appearances in 30 days. Thornburg threw 103 pitches in 4 2/3 innings against St. Louis and left one out shy of his first Major League win.

"I felt pretty good out there, a little bit rusty," Thornburg said. "A couple of pitches [against the Cardinals], I could have located better and gotten earlier outs. But with the situation like that, I didn't think it was terrible."

Was he surprised the Brewers let him top the 100-pitch mark for the first time this season, considering his strange schedule over the past month?

"I was," Thornburg said. "I didn't realize I was at that pitch count when I was out there. I'm definitely happy they let me go that long."

Manager Ron Roenicke said he expected Thornburg to be ready for relief duty by Sunday.

Braun becomes 11th Brewer to reach 1,000 hits

CINCINNATI -- Ryan Braun became the 11th player in Brewers history to reach the 1,000-hit plateau when he singled in each of his first two at-bats at Great American Ball Park on Friday.

Braun's 1,000th hit, a fourth-inning single off Reds starter Homer Bailey, came in his 815th Major League game. For some context, Paul Molitor reached 1,000 hits in 835 games.

Molitor wound up in the 3,000-hit club, but he began his Major League career earlier than Braun, who was 23 when he debuted with the Brewers in 2007.

Braun even beat Major League hit king Pete Rose, who needed 831 games for 1,000 hits.

Marcum to throw off flat ground Saturday

CINCINNATI -- Injured Brewers right-hander Shaun Marcum is scheduled to "let it go" during a 25-30 pitch, flat-ground throwing session on Saturday, manager Ron Roenicke said.

Marcum may have to throw two such sessions before pitching off a mound, though that plan is in flux, Roenicke said.

"I know Marcum wants to push it a little, so we'll see," he said.

Marcum has yet to throw off a mound since developing tightness in his right elbow following a June 14 start at Kansas City. He was subsequently placed on the disabled list.

Even if his flat-ground sessions go well, Marcum is a few weeks away from active duty. He will have to throw a series of mound sessions before a Minor League rehabilitation assignment.

Last call

• Braun returned after missing Wednesday's win over the Cardinals with a strained right groin. Braun has been dealing with that issue since Spring Training and had aggravated it on Tuesday night.

Roenicke said he would know that Braun is back to 100 percent when he asks to start stealing bases again.

• Roenicke received a positive report of Jonathan Lucroy's rehab debut from a reliable source. Roenicke's son, Lance, plays for Class A Wisconsin and was in the lineup Thursday night along with Lucroy, who began what will probably be a week-long Minor League rehabilitation assignment. Lucroy is coming back from a fractured right hand.

• Veteran right-hander Livan Hernandez did not pitch in any of the Brewers' first six games out of the All-Star break but has been available all along out of the bullpen, Roenicke said. The circumstances have simply not called for a long man, Roenicke said.

• Reds star Joey Votto is on the disabled list after left knee surgery and will miss about a month. How big a difference does that single player make?

"Any time you have a Votto out of a lineup, it's huge," Roenicke said. "They still have a nice lineup without him in there, but he's huge. One of the best hitters in our league. They still have a good lineup, but he's special."

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.