8/8/2013 2:07 A.M. ET
Gallardo's progress good news for battered Brewers
By Adam McCalvy / MLB.com
SAN FRANCSICO -- As one Brewers starter returned to action Wednesday from a strained left hamstring, another literally took some steps in the same direction. Yovani Gallardo's afternoon windsprints produced welcome progress for a club scrambling to maintain a healthy starting rotation.
"I know one thing -- I have to really stay on top of who's starting, because it changes so much," manager Ron Roenicke said. "I like the routine of knowing when we're going into a city how we're set up, and this year, it's like, 'Who's pitching again this series?'"
Eleven different men have started a game for Milwaukee this season, already the same total from all of 2012. In Roenicke's first season as manager, 2011, he needed only six starters all year, and the sixth, Marco Estrada, started only seven times.
Estrada returned Wednesday night after two months on the disabled list, and Gallardo is not far behind. Assuming no setbacks after Wednesday's workout, he will throw off a mound in the coming days and could slot back into the Brewers' rotation as early as Aug. 16 in Cincinnati, the day after he's eligible to be activated.
"The main thing is it being these two weeks and not any longer," Gallardo said. "I would be happy with that. Missing two is long enough. You want to get out there as quickly as I can, obviously with being comfortable with it."
He expressed sympathy for Roenicke and pitching coach Rick Kranitz managing constant rotation turmoil.
"It's definitely tough," Gallardo said. "It's not easy to ... start the year off with five guys, and next thing you know you're scrambling to find pieces to fit in, whether it be a spot start or start two or three times. Pitching is very important to any team. There's so many adjustments you need to make, and when you have those five guys or six guys for the whole year, you know when you're pitching, you know what the plan is ahead of time. When guys aren't 100 percent, the manager and the pitching coach have to make adjustments with what to do with the rotation, and I can only imagine that is not easy for them."
Weeks could go on DL with hamstring strain
SAN FRANCISCO -- The Brewers were mulling their options late Wednesday for second baseman Rickie Weeks, who suffered a strained left hamstring and was helped off the field in the eighth inning of the team's 6-1 win over the Giants at AT&T Park.
Manager Ron Roenicke said there was a "good possibility" the team would have to make a player move, meaning Weeks would become the fourth Brewer this season to hit the 15-day disabled list with a hamstring injury.
"They'll call and talk to Dr. [William] Raasch," Roenicke said, referring to the Brewers' head physician. "We'll see."
The Brewers just optioned Weeks' backup, Scooter Gennett, to Triple-A Nashville on Tuesday night to make room for Wednesday starting pitcher Marco Estrada. Usually, a player must spent at least 10 days in the Minor Leagues before he's eligible to return, but that restriction is waived in the event he takes the place of a teammate placed on the DL.
On an eighth-inning groundout to third base, Weeks stumbled over his bat as he sprinted toward first base, then fell face-first to the grass short of the bag. He was immediately met by Brewers assistant athletic trainer Dave Yeager and Roenicke, who helped Weeks to the dugout.
Weeks was not certain that the stray bat caused his injury.
"Some people say I maybe was trying dodge the bat," he said. "I felt like a little pop or something like that. They think it's a pulled hamstring."
Jim Henderson missed two weeks in late May and early June with a strained right hamstring, Estrada missed two months with a strained left hamstring, and right-hander Yovani Gallardo is currently on the DL with a strained left hamstring.
Weeks was not sure what to expect. He said he'd never suffered a hamstring injury.
"First time ever," he said.
Gorzelanny back on track after testing elbow
SAN FRANCISCO -- Left-hander Tom Gorzelanny was expected to make his next start Saturday in Seattle or Tuesday in Texas after throwing a successful bullpen session Wednesday, his first mound work since being struck on the elbow by a line drive.
Had he stayed on schedule, Gorzelanny would have pitched Wednesday night against the Giants. But the Brewers played it safe instead, in part because they will evaluate Gorzelanny over the final two months of this season for a starting spot in 2014.
"I felt like I was good to go today but we were just being cautious with it," Gorzelanny said. "There was still a little swelling in there and we didn't want to risk it. A couple extra days [don't hurt]."
Last season in Washington was Gorzelanny's first as a full-time reliever, and the Brewers signed him in December for two years and $5.7 million planning to use him as a multi-inning reliever capable of making an occasional spot start.
But that plan changed in the wake of injuries to other starting pitchers, and Gorzelanny was so successful (3.21 ERA in his first six Brewers starts) that the team now views him differently. Gorzelanny welcomed that opportunity.
"Starting is the ultimate for being a pitcher," he said. "You want to be the guy in control of the game and be a part of a win. Every time you go out there, that's the ultimate goal. It's what I've done most of my career, and I did very well at it for a while. I feel there's still a lot left in me to prove, and I feel I can do good things as a starter again."
He has started 117 Major League games for four different teams and, with the Brewers, has the advantage of being left-handed. The only other lefty currently in Milwaukee's starting pitching picture is Chris Narveson, who will be a six-year free agent at the end of this season if the Brewers do not add him back to the 40-man roster.
Henderson's four-out save won't be a habit
SAN FRANCISCO -- Jim Henderson on Tuesday joined a small group of recent Brewers relievers to work more than three outs for a save.
Henderson's four-out, 25-pitch performance was only the 13th multi-inning save in the past five seasons for the Brewers, and John Axford accounted for nine of them in 2010 under then-manager Ken Macha. The team's current manager, Ron Roenicke, would rather not make it a regular occurrence.
"I don't want to do that with Henderson, but when you need to win a ballgame, that's the way to do it," Roenicke said. "It's getting to the point once in a while now where I think, 'We need to win a game.'
"If you do that very often, I worry about him maintaining his stuff. I saw really good stuff from him yesterday -- hopefully that's because we've been pitching him the right way, resting him when he needs to rest, and hopefully that's the way we've been doing it with all the bullpen guys because they have been very good this year. They've been used, but they've been very good."
Henderson was happy to oblige, saying he wanted "to prove that I can do that." His teammate Axford was happy to see him do it.
"Especially seeing him face that hitter [Pablo Sandoval] he needed to get in the eighth before coming back for the ninth," Axford said Wednesday. "Jim is a competitor. He's getting the job done this year, and it was fantastic last night to see him take it a step farther."
Axford had only one regret. Henderson, a left-handed hitter -- a slugger, according to Axford -- was denied his first Major League at-bat when he was left on deck in the top of the ninth inning.
"I wanted to see that big Canadian hack that he's got," Axford said.