5/23/2014 1:49 A.M. ET
Gomez given day to rest in finale
By Joe Morgan / MLB.com
ATLANTA -- Center fielder Carlos Gomez was out of the lineup on Thursday night as Brewers manager Ron Roenicke opted to give him some rest. He missed five games last week due to lower back tightness and a stomach bug.
"We're hoping it's just today, and we're hoping tomorrow he'll be fine," Roenicke said. "He doesn't like to sit out. I'm hoping we can use him off the bench today."
Roenicke believes that the rigors of playing an entire game take a toll on Gomez, including the number of swings required of the leadoff batter, as well as the fly balls he pursues in the outfield and the times he dives back to first base on pickoff moves.
"He's OK; he's not good," Roenicke said. "He got through the game last night not good, and I told him the other day I don't mind playing him if we feel like we're getting him a little better, but if we're getting worse because he's playing, it's probably not smart to keep playing him."
On paper, Gomez appears fine. He went 5-for-13 in Milwaukee's first three games against Atlanta this week, throwing out Chris Johnson attempting to tag from second to third base on Tuesday and notching three hits -- including a homer -- on Wednesday.
But the injury has slowed Gomez down, and he has noticeably grimaced on plays such as when he swings and misses.
"You look at what he's doing -- he hit a home run, he got a base hit -- and you're still thinking, 'He's still helping you win,' which he is," Roenicke said. "But we need him 100 percent. If he gets on base, he can't run. And he's a different player when he's not able to do the things with his legs. That's a big part of his game."
Gallardo's status for next start still up in air
ATLANTA -- Yovani Gallardo's sprained left ankle was improved on Thursday, and the right-hander will throw a bullpen on Friday to determine whether he will take the hill for his next scheduled start against the Marlins on Sunday in Miami.
"If he's still feeling it, it will be a really light bullpen [session] and we won't go with him," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "If he comes in and he feels nothing, he's going to probably go through his bullpen harder and we'll see where we're at."
Gallardo played catch and pedaled on an exercise bike on Thursday after not throwing at all on Wednesday. If Gallardo misses Sunday's start, he will not go on the disabled list and could simply rejoin the rotation when he is healthy enough to pitch again.
"I just wanted to get out there today and see how it felt," Gallardo said. "Obviously, you don't expect it to completely go away in two days, but I was able to get my work in, which is the most important thing."
Even if Friday's bullpen session goes well, Gallardo's status could hinge on how his ankle responds to off-mound activities. Roenicke discussed with Gallardo how the hurler needs to be able to operate outside the controlled conditions of a bullpen session.
"He's going to get ground balls back at him, he's going to have to cover first base. He's a good hitter, so there's a good chance he may be running the bases," Roenicke said. "There's just so much that isn't controlled that it's risky."
Gallardo does not want to be in a position where he is trying to protect his ankle out on the mound. He said he could pitch if the injury is "something small that you know it's there," but that pain would prevent him from performing to his full capability.
"It's just a matter of just being able to keep everything the same and not trying to overcompensate," Gallardo said. "If something's bothering you, of course, that's when there'd be more stress on your arm, elbow or shoulder trying to protect the ankle, you put more stress on other parts."
Roenicke has a plan in place should Gallardo not start on Sunday but opted not to announce anything on Thursday. He previously mentioned righty Tyler Thornburg as a possibility, but noted that he was not keen on pulling Thornburg out of the stable of bullpen arms for the four days following a hypothetical start.
Thornburg had the chance to stretch out when he pitched 3 2/3 innings of relief following Gallardo's injury on Tuesday. A solo home run by Justin Upton was the lone damage done against Thornburg, who threw a season-high 49 pitches.
Thornburg is 2-1 with a 2.37 ERA in 10 career starts, recording a quality start in each of his seven starts for Milwaukee last season. He proved especially effective in the rotation last September, compiling a 2.16 ERA in four late-season starts.
Overbay remembers time with Braves fondly
ATLANTA -- Lyle Overbay was happy to see the championship banner marking the Braves' 2012 National League Wild Card berth when he arrived at Turner Field. Although he only spent a month with the club, he has fond memories of his time in Atlanta.
"It's always good to see friends," said Overbay, who caught up with some of his former teammates when Milwaukee hosted Atlanta during Opening Week. "They made it easy for me to come into that clubhouse even though I hadn't been there through the whole year. They made everything comfortable and fun to be a part of."
As Overbay spent that month with the Braves, he recognized how the club had grown since blowing a 10-game lead in the NL Wild Card standings and missing the playoffs altogether during the final weeks of the 2011 season.
The leadership of Chipper Jones, Overbay said, helped hold the team together as the Braves made their playoff push during the last few weeks of the 2012 season.
"I think they might have learned something from the year before as far as just sticking together and being accountable for each other," Overbay said. "It was a good team atmosphere there. It just seemed like everybody was all in. I find that hard to do sometimes on a consistent basis."
Overbay also felt fortunate to witness Jones play out the final month of his 19-year Major League career. The veteran enjoyed a similar experience with the Yankees last season as closer Mariano Rivera played his finals days in the big leagues.
"I've been fortunate enough to see him and Mariano last year, so it was pretty cool just because he deserves that," Overbay said of Jones. "The guy did some good things for baseball alone, but let alone for this community and the Atlanta Braves, so it was fun to be a part of that and I was honored to be a part of it."
Lucroy keeps ticking at plate
ATLANTA -- Despite adding time at first base to his catching duties as of late, Jonathan Lucroy has been an outlier during a tough May at the plate for the Brewers.
Milwaukee has a .233 (152-for-651) batting average this month, but Lucroy is hitting .363 (24-for-66), and his .447 on-base percentage ranks 10th among Major Leaguers with at least 50 plate appearances in May.
"If you watch his at-bats and watch what he does, I'm hoping that rubs off on everybody else because they really are good at-bats," Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke said. "They're not chasing balls out of the zone and patient, it's different than when we see most of the guys, and then see him."
Lucroy has reached base in 13 straight games, batting .400 (18-for-45) during that stretch. Roenicke credits Lucroy's success, in part, to his ability to go the other way.
The catcher has also demonstrated power to all fields as his doubles against Atlanta this series have gone to left, center and right field.
"I think when he's hitting well, that's what he does," Roenicke said. "He'll hit it there, and he'll also pull the ball, so you can't pitch him one way."
Lucroy added: "Hit the ball where it's pitched. Don't try to do too much."
Milwaukee's offensive woes have resulted in a month that has seen the club cool off from its 20-8 start. The Brewers own an 8-12 record this month.
But efforts like Wednesday night's win against the Braves, where eight of nine Milwaukee batters reached base as the Brewers plated six runs on 10 hits, make Lucroy feel the team is on the verge of returning to the success they enjoyed early in 2014.
"I think we're too good to be held down," Lucroy said. "I really believe that. Whenever you have the kind of talent that we have in here, you just can't hold it down forever, and we showed that last night."
Joe Morgan is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.