8/19/2013 7:54 P.M. ET
Thornburg adjusting to bullpen role
By Adam McCalvy / MLB.com
MILWAUKEE -- Brewers right-hander Tyler Thornburg spoke with candor on Monday about his lousy relief outing against the Reds the day before, and about his uncertain role moving forward.
Start with Sunday, when Thornburg walked as many batters (five) as he recorded outs, including a pair of walks with the bases loaded in the fifth inning of what became a 9-1 Brewers loss. It marked a rocky transition back to the bullpen after Thornburg had surrendered only one run in 18 innings over three starts.
"When you're starting, you have a lot of time to get ready, to get your mechanics down, all that time to warm up in the bullpen," he said. "[On Sunday], I was going fast, trying to get my arm ready, and my arm was ready, but I don't think I was ready mechanically or mentally to go out there.
"I try to tell people, relieving and starting are two such different things. They're both pitching, but they're completely different mindsets, different ways of pitching. You try to take it as a learning experience. Obviously, you would have liked to have done better while you're learning. It's one of those things I'm going to have to get used to if I'm relieving."
The 24-year-old entered 2013 as MLB.com's top Brewers prospect, but he was 0-9 with a 5.79 ERA in 15 starts for Triple-A Nashville. He has enjoyed better success in the big leagues while bouncing between the rotation and relief for the second straight season.
The Brewers are trying to determine whether Thornburg fits best as a starter, a swingman or a late-inning reliever. His preference is clear.
"This will be the first time I've said this, but I put a lot of pressure on myself to try to do the best I could starting-wise," Thornburg said. "To be sent to the 'pen, I understood it, especially with Marco [Estrada] being arbitration-eligible and the fact that [Tom Gorzelanny ] is doing so well starting. But at the same time, I was hoping that if we do go to a six-man rotation in September, I was hoping that I was going to be one of those guys they look at. I hope that I still am."
That remains to be seen. The sixth spot could also go to high-ceiling right-hander Johnny Hellweg.
"I put my heart, soul, mind -- everything -- behind [starting], and it was a little bit of a mindset setback [to be sent to the bullpen]," he said. "But the way this game is, I have to move past it."
Does he know where he stands in the organization?
"That's one of the things," Thornburg said. "I want to be a starter. I was hoping they liked me as a starter. I don't know where I stand as far as that. It's one of those things, now I'm just trying to pitch as well as possible and see what comes up."
Roenicke: Braun to speak when 'timing is right'
MILWAUKEE -- Suspended Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun will break his silence, manager Ron Roenicke reiterated on Monday.
The question at Miller Park, from the clubhouse to the upper deck, was: When?
"I hate to comment on some things, but I know what he's told me," Roenicke said. "When the timing is right, he's going to say something."
The timing and format of that something remained a mystery as the Brewers took batting practice on Monday afternoon. It was unclear whether Braun was planning to take any questions after delivering his statement.
Would Roenicke be satisfied if Braun merely releases a statement?
"Yeah," Roenicke said. "Sometime along the line, he's going to have to answer, whether we go into next year or whatever. I think there's different views on what he should do and what he should not do. Everybody's got a feeling. I don't claim to know what the right way is. I [aired] my opinions and how I feel about things, but everybody is a little different [in terms of] the advice that you get and the people you listen to, and then he has to make his decisions. He's getting a lot of opinions from people."
Potentially complicating that process was the fact Braun faces a defamation lawsuit filed in Milwaukee County last month by a former friend who allegedly worked on Braun's successful appeal during the 2011-12 offseason.
Roenicke spoke via telephone with Braun on Friday, one of several calls placed by Braun to uniformed and non-uniformed Brewers personnel to further explain the "mistakes" he admitted in accepting Major League Baseball's 65-game suspension.
Roenicke again declined to provide details of that conversation, but described Braun as eager to begin the public process of mending his tattered reputation.
"That's important to everybody," Roenicke said. "Those are things I've talked to him about even before all this stuff happened with the suspension. When it was rumored, we had a lot of long discussions about it, and I told him what I thought about what needed to be done, needed to be said. He's trying to do things the right way, and when he's ready, he'll say something."
Major League rules allow suspended players to work out with their teams, providing he leaves the field before the gates open to fans. Few players actually do so, and Roenicke does not expect Braun to be an exception.
"It's a distraction to the team," Roenicke said. "You've got extra work that somebody is going to take swings away from, and I don't see the need. If you're not going to play this year, I don't see the need."
Gomez 'ahead of schedule' with sprained knee
MILWAUKEE -- All-Star center fielder Carlos Gomez is "ahead of schedule" in his return from a sprained right knee, said Brewers manager Ron Roenicke, who would not rule out using Gomez off the bench during the team's three-game series against the Cardinals from Monday to Wednesday.
Gomez, injured while making a leaping catch at the wall on Thursday, ran on the field Monday afternoon and took swings in the batting cage. He said he hoped to take full batting practice on Tuesday.
Asked when he expected to rejoin the starting lineup, Gomez said, "We don't know yet. I'm just taking it day by day."
• Roenicke confirmed that reliever Rob Wooten will leave the team Wednesday, when his wife, Katie, is scheduled to be induced into labor in North Carolina. If the Brewers opt to place Wooten on the paternity list, they could call up a replacement reliever, and Alfredo Figaro and Donovan Hand would each be eligible, according to Roenicke, even though both right-handers have spent fewer than 10 days in the Minor Leagues since being sent down by the Brewers.
• Figaro made his Triple-A Nashville debut on Sunday and allowed one run on five hits in four innings, with three walks and four strikeouts.
• Roenicke celebrated a subdued 57th birthday on Monday. As a bonus, his son, Lance, an outfielder in the Brewers' Minor League system, was in Milwaukee for dinner on Sunday night, a brief stop on his way to a promotion from Class A Wisconsin to Class A Advanced Brevard County.