Brewers to skip Kyle Lohse's turn in rotation

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Tom Haudricourt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Saturday, August 16, 2014

Los Angeles—Rather than send right-hander Kyle Lohse out for another start on a bad wheel, the Brewers have decided to skip his next start.

Lohse, who left his last outing Wednesday in Chicago after three innings with recurring discomfort in his right foot, can be moved back a turn without needing a fill-in because of upcoming off days Monday and Thursday.

“I'm not exactly sure when he goes back in. It's going to depend how the ankle is,” said manager Ron Roenicke. “He probably won't be 100 percent because once you sprain it (it doesn't fully recover quickly), but we want to get him to the point where we're comfortable putting him out there.

“We've been having him go out there and he hasn't felt right. I want him to pitch well, too. I want to give him the best chance to perform well.

“He wants to be out there to help us, but we need him to pitch the kind of games we're used to seeing him pitch. If we keep him pushing him and putting him out there, we're not going to get the real guy.”

With Lohse getting skipped, Mike Fiers will pitch Tuesday against Toronto and Jimmy Nelson the next day against the Blue Jays, both on regular rest because of the Monday off-day.

As for the other injured starting pitcher, Matt Garza, he took a step forward by playing five minutes of catch. It was the first time he did so since straining his left oblique in a game in St. Louis nearly two weeks ago.

“They're going to follow up with it tomorrow and if all goes well, they'll write up a tentative plan (for moving Garza toward rejoining the rotation),” said Roenicke.

“After tomorrow, when they start writing it out, I'll have a better idea when it's going to be.”

Pitching coach Rick Kranitz monitored Garza's session and was pleased with the result.

“We just wanted to make sure he was without any pain before he started,” said Kranitz. “We'll see how he responds tomorrow and then we'll increase it.

“It shouldn't take him as long (to return), I wouldn't think. He's always kept himself in great shape.”

Mulling Herrera

Roenicke admitted he is considering giving utility player Elian Herrera more playing time at shortstop. Filling in for Jean Segura on Thursday in Chicago, Herrera went 3 for 4 and entering Friday was 12 for 27 (.444) since being recalled for a fourth time this season July 12.

Segura, who has been plagued by a quadriceps strain, has been in a season-long funk at the plate. Entering Friday, he was hitting .234 with a .266 on-base percentage in 111 games.

“I'll just see what I see from Seggy,” said Roenicke. “If he's doing all the little things out there on defense that we're asking him to do, I'll keep putting him out there because I think he's really valuable on our team defensively.

“The offensive part, obviously we would like him to do more. He would like to do more. He works on it. You see improvement, then all of a sudden he's back where he's not hitting again.

“I think Herrera, because of what we've seen defensively and offensively, when there are spots there, then I'll get him in there. He has done a nice job. I like the aggressiveness of the plays he has made. He has made some plays that surprise you.

“The small sample has been very good. I probably need to see him a little more there.”

Blazek blazing

Right-hander Michael Blazek, acquired from St. Louis in the John Axford trade last August, has prospered since being moved from the bullpen to the starting rotation at Class AAA Nashville. In his last eight starts, Blazek, 25, is 3-1 with a 2.14 ERA, with 32 hits and 12 walks allowed in 42 innings and strikeouts.

Brewers assistant general manager Gord Ash said Blazek's future in the majors isn't necessarily as a starter, but the organization likes the way he has been throwing the ball.

“He was struggling earlier in the year and not getting regular work, so this started out as an opportunity to take the ball every five days and put him in a routine, and he has responded to it,” said Ash.

Ash said Blazek could be considered for a September call-up.

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