08/03/12 9:00 PM ET
Weeks showing early-season slump is behind him
By Mike Still / MLB.com
After enduring a dreadful start to the season, in which he batted just .158 with 12 RBIs through May 31 -- Weeks' average has steadily climbed. He entered Friday batting .212, and is hitting .295 since July 1.
"I couldn't care less what happened last night or anything in the past," Weeks said. "I'm looking forward every time.
"Just showing up, playing every day and working hard. There's no reason. You just have to show up every day and know that things are going to turn around. That's about it."
There hasn't been any specific tweak Weeks has made to his swing and he hasn't had a groundbreaking realization. When asked, Weeks continued to reiterate the importance of coming to the park each day ready to work.
Brewers manager Ron Roenicke alluded to lasting effects of the severe ankle sprain Weeks sustained last season as a possible factor for Weeks' slow start. But ultimately, Weeks' work ethic has gotten him through his early slump.
"He's out working early all the time. he's in the cage with [hitting coach Johnny Narron]. He's out here when we hit early," Roenicke said. "I think he's just finally getting back to Rickie. For the first two months, or however long that was, ... I don't really know the exact reason, but I think that ankle has something to do with it. He's swinging it like we saw last year and like you guys have seen for longer than that."
Mending Marcum to throw simulated game Sunday
ST. LOUIS -- Brewers starter Shaun Marcum is scheduled to throw a simulated game on Sunday before Milwaukee takes on St. Louis for Game 3 of a weekend series. Marcum, who's been shelved since mid-June with right elbow soreness, will face hitters for the first time in nearly two months and expects to throw around 40 pitches.
"Obviously not try to hit anybody," Marcum joked when asked on Friday if he had specific goals set for the simulated game. "Don't want to hurt any of my teammates. But the main thing will be the up and down, trying to simulate between innings and seeing how I bounce back from that. But the way things have been going, I don't anticipate having any problems."
Marcum threw a successful bullpen session on Wednesday, his first time pitching since heading to the disabled list. The right-hander said he felt no soreness or tightness in his elbow after that workout, which was a major step in the right direction.
If all goes well on Saturday, Marcum's next step would be at least two Minor League rehabilitation appearances. He is eligible to come off the 60-day DL beginning on Aug. 14. Before he starts looking too far ahead, Marcum wants to mix up all his pitches with batters in the box on Saturday.
"It's tough to sit back to watch for almost two months," Marcum said. "It's been awhile, and I'm looking forward to getting out on the mound."
Parra likely out for series vs. Cardinals
ST. LOUIS -- Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said on Friday that it looks as if reliever Manny Parra will be unavailable to pitch in Milwaukee's three-game series against the Cardinals this weekend. Parra has been sidelined with left shoulder impingement, but said his shoulder feels better each day.
"Anytime for me, because I've had shoulder issues, anytime something bothers you in your shoulder, you're thinking, 'What is it?' Because it could be anything," Parra said. "But I'm not worried about it."
Parra had his shoulder examined by doctors on Wednesday, and will be re-evaluated on Monday. Parra said he last played catch last Thursday, and each day meets with team trainers to learn the next step in his recovery.
He added that the extra rest he's had helped reduce swelling in his shoulder, which has relieved a pinching pain the impingement causes.
Parra last appeared in a game on July 24, allowing four earned runs over 1/3 of an inning on one hit and three walks against the Phillies. Prior to that rough outing, the 29-year-old left-hander had a 1.13 ERA over 11 appearances in July.
Roenicke said that if Parra's re-evaluation on Monday doesn't show much evidence of improvement, the Brewers would then consider making a roster move and sending Parra to the disabled list.
Aramis given day off to rest sore left wrist
ST. LOUIS -- Brewers third baseman Aramis Ramirez, who's been battling a sore left wrist, received a cortisone injection on Thursday in order to help calm down the area. Ramirez is out of the starting lineup for Friday's game against St. Louis to rest his wrist. It is the second time this week Ramirez hasn't started.
Manager Ron Roenicke said he was optimistic that the cortisone injection will help Ramirez to play pain-free from now on, and added he's hopeful that Ramirez will be available on Saturday.
"He's been fighting this thing for a while and it doesn't look like it's going to go away," Roenicke said. "I've tried to give him a day off and it doesn't seem to completely get rid of it. Hopefully he won't have to deal with this the rest of the year."
Ramirez is second on the team with 67 RBIs, and his .291 average and 13 homers are both third-best, as well. Considering how valuable Ramirez's bat has been, Roenicke has no qualms with sitting Ramirez for a day or two in order to keep his third baseman healthy for the future.
"He's really swinging the bat well," Roenicke said. "But I kind of like doing it because I don't want him to fight this thing the rest of the year."
Five pitchers for the Double-A Huntsville starters combined to throw a no-hitter on Thursday night against the Chattanooga Lookouts. Jimmy Nelson, Dan Merklinger, R.J. Seidel, Darren Byrd and Brandon Kintzler walked 11 batters collectively, but represented the most pitchers used in a no-hitter in Southern League history.
While Brewers starter Mark Rogers hadn't heard about the no-hitter as of Friday afternoon, he was not surprised to hear the news. Rogers has spent time with four of those five pitchers either in Spring Training or while rehabbing injuries.
"We have some good arms down there," Rogers said. "All those guys have all kinds of potential. They have great stuff and I can definitely see that happening with those guys going out there."
Mike Still is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.