6/22/2013 1:45 A.M. ET
Bullpen session an encouraging sign for Estrada
By Kevin Massoth / MLB.com
MILWAUKEE -- Brewers right-handed starter Marco Estrada threw a bullpen session Friday, and he says a rehab stint may come soon after a left hamstring injury he sustained in early June.
Estrada left his June 4 outing against the A's after feeling a pop in his left hamstring on a fifth-inning pitch. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list the next day.
"It's feeling much better; I'm able to run at 100 percent," Estrada said. "I think I might be heading out to get a rehab start somewhere. I'm not 100 percent sure what we're doing, but that's what it sounds like right now."
Estrada, who did not travel with the Brewers on their recent 11-day, nine-game road trip, said although he struggled with location, his bullpen Friday was the best he's thrown so far in terms of how his leg felt.
Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said Estrada would get "checked out" by team doctor William Raasch before Friday's game, and if everything goes well, he should start his rehab assignment soon.
"Marco's looking OK," Roenicke said. "He threw a light bullpen today. If everything goes well, he should be pitching in two, three days."
Estrada was just finding his stride before his hamstring injury. The righty went 2-2 in May with a 5.40 ERA, despite allowing eight earned runs to the Cardinals in 3 1/3 innings to start the month.
"I'm pretty excited that I'll be going out soon to make a start somewhere," Estrada said. "So I just have that left and I'll get my butt back over here."
Hand to make first career Major League start
MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers announced Friday that right-handed reliever Donovan Hand will make his first Major League start in Saturday's game against the Braves at Miller Park.
The spot in the rotation remained up in the air until Friday with starters Marco Estrada and Hiram Burgos still rehabbing from injuries. Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said there was discussion about starting left-handed reliever Tom Gorzelanny for the second time this season, but ultimately it was Hand's chance.
"It seemed like everybody wanted to [start Hand]," Roenicke said. "He's been stretched out enough where we're not that concerned. We're not going to throw him 90 pitches, but we'll see how the game goes."
Hand has pitched in the long reliever role out of the Brewers' bullpen since he was promoted from Triple-A Nashville on May 26. He holds a 3.38 ERA in eight appearances and said the goal is to pitch three or four innings on Saturday, with anything after that being a bonus.
"I'm going to go out like I'm the long guy in the bullpen, which I've done. I'll go out until they tell me to stop," Hand said. "It's an opportunity, if nothing else to go out and work on some pitches. Get off to a good start with two good innings, three good innings and see what happens after that."
Hand will be the ninth Milwaukee starter used this season after numerous injuries plagued the rotation. Burgos is currently rehabbing from a right shoulder impingement and Estrada is working back from a strained left hamstring, forcing Hand to start Saturday and fellow reliever Alfredo Figaro to make his fifth start of the season on Sunday.
He was a starting pitcher last October and November in the Venezuelan Winter League, which Hand says will help him Saturday.
"I try not to play it up or anything. It's just the same business," Hand said. "Go about my business the same way, throw ground balls and hopefully it works out well."
Before his late-May callup, Hand made 16 appearances out of the bullpen and had a 3.18 ERA for Nashville. He will oppose Atlanta right-hander Tim Hudson on Saturday.
Narveson outrighted to Nashville to get more innings
MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers outrighted Chris Narveson to Triple-A Nashville after Thursday's game in Houston, removing the left-handed pitcher from the 40-man roster.
Narveson started the season in a relief role to ease back into the starting rotation after undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery in 2012. But after just two relief appearances in early April, Narveson sprained his left middle finger and moved back to the disabled list.
The 6-foot-3 lefty started a rehab assignment at Nashville on May 30, but struggled to a 7.00 ERA in five appearances, totaling 18 innings.
"We think he needs to be on a team where he's throwing every fifth day," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "He's had two things with the [shoulder] surgery and bouncing back with the finger. He just needs an atmosphere where he can perform well and try to get back here."
Narveson estimated he threw 75 or 80 pitches in his final two Nashville starts on June 14 and Wednesday, and he said his goal is to "go down there, get myself ready and hopefully make it back up."
"It's one of those things where it's not always the easiest thing to kind of put your head around, because baseball is a complex game," Narveson said. "I want to pitch, if it's Nashville or here. I know I've got to do that to be able to get back to where I want to be, physically and mentally."
Narveson went 11-8 with a 4.45 ERA in 2011 and 12-9 with a 4.99 ERA in '10 with the Brewers, surpassing 160 innings pitched each year.
"I love the game, I want to play and I love the Brewers," Narveson said. "It's one of those things where you want to go work your butt off to get back where you want to be. If you're not healthy, you can't do that."
Aoki returns from paternity list; Prince optioned
MILWAUKEE -- Norichika Aoki didn't miss a beat.
After being away from the Brewers for two days to see the birth of his second child on Thursday, Aoki returned to Milwaukee's lineup on Friday on short rest and had three hits, a stolen base and a run-saving catch in the Brewers' 2-0 win over the Braves at Miller Park.
"I was thinking he might come a little earlier than the due date, but he ended up coming on the due date. I just couldn't wait," Aoki said of his son after Friday's game. "I was at the hospital all day yesterday and I didn't get much sleep last night. I'm glad that my baby is healthy."
Aoki was placed on the Brewers' paternity list Wednesday and he missed the team's final two games of an 11-day, nine-game road trip in Houston. But the club removed the right-fielder from the paternity list Friday and optioned Josh Prince to Triple-A Nashville in a corresponding move. Prince was called up from Nashville on Wednesday to take Aoki's place on the roster.
Aoki arrived to Miller Park around 5:30 p.m. CT on Friday for the 7:10 p.m. start and returned to his usual leadoff spot in the lineup. He hit three singles, but his biggest play may have come in the field in the fifth inning.
With two outs and runners on first and second, Aoki made a sliding catch in the right center field gap to rob Andrelton Simmons of extra bases and save the Brewers at least one run.
After the game, Aoki pointed out the wristband that he was still wearing, which was required by the hospital to visit his wife.
"It feels like [my son is] right here with me while I was playing," Aoki said.
Kevin Massoth is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.