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Rogers sent for minor tune-up

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Michael Hunt
March 16, 2011
— The Milwaukee Brewers are getting a little closer to identifying a temporary No. 5 starter for April 6.

One of the candidates, right-hander Mark Rogers, was optioned Tuesday to Class AAA Nashville.


“We looked at where he was and if he was going to be ready,” manager Ron Roenicke said. “We’re going to need a starter the first week of the season and then 10 days later. We don’t think he can be ready in that time.”


Roenicke said he wanted Rogers to go to the minor-league camp to get ready in case the Brewers need him to fill in for the No. 5’s second start April 16.


But it was clear that Rogers wasn’t going to be ready for the first stint 10 days earlier.


“He’s at one inning, and our starters are going to five innings,” Roenicke said. “I don’t think he’s able to catch up, especially coming off the tightness in his shoulder. We can’t push him to that point to get to the sixth (inning), which is what we need a starter to do.”


Rogers, the first-round pick from 2004, has been bothered for most of his pro career by shoulder problems. In his spring debut Monday against San Francisco, Rogers gave up two runs in one inning, including a long homer to Pablo Sandoval.


“It has nothing to do with yesterday,” Roenicke said. “We were pleased that he went out and pitched the game, came out and felt healthy and today (is) feeling healthy. That didn’t have anything to do with it.”


Wily Peralta, 21, who has never pitched above Class AA, is a leading candidate to start April 6 against the Atlanta Braves at Miller Park. Roenicke said he also was looking at minor-leaguers Marco Estrada and Eulogio De La Cruz.


The Brewers need a fill-in at No. 5 for a couple of starts while No. 1 Zack Greinke heals from cracked ribs suffered in a pickup basketball game. Greinke is riding an exercise bike and may start throwing again in a week or two.


Axford struggling

Closer John Axford was all over the place against the Indians.


He gave up three hits and three runs while walking two. He got no one out and was charged with the loss.


“He can’t get command when he wants it,” Roenicke said. “He knows he’s got to put the ball where he wants to.”


Braun sits

Left fielder Ryan Braun, who strained a side muscle Saturday, sat out Tuesday.


Braun recently said he was ready for the season to the point that he saw no good coming out of playing many more spring training games.


The manager’s got an opinion, too.


“Braun’s side is still a little sore,” Roenicke said. “That’s why I only gave him two at-bats (Monday). He plans to go (Wednesday) night.


“Hopefully he’ll be able to step it up because we’re getting to the point where we’re running out of time.”


Velocity issues

The Brewers have yet to see the blazing fastball displayed by left-hander Zach Braddock last year in his rookie season.


“The ball, velocity, is not coming out as good as it was during the season.” Roenicke said. “I know he’s working on his breaking ball and slider. You hope that velocity in the next two weeks shows up. In two weeks he may be right there again. I don’t know.


“When we start getting into that last week, for his confidence, he relies on throwing the ball by people. He needs to have that same feeling when he comes in going into the season that he had all last season.”


Narveson’s day

Chris Narveson, the No. 4 starter until Greinke returns, gave up a pair of two-run homers to right-handed hitters in 4 2/3 innings of work.


But he was working on other things.


“I really wanted to work on changeups to lefties, and it worked really well because they had a bunch of lefties in there,” Narveson said. “It’s been something I’ve been working on all spring, but it was a note I made to work on today. I was able to throw a bunch of them to lefties, which was nice.”


Injury update

Neither shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt (quadriceps) nor centerfielder Carlos Gomez (back tightness) played. Betancourt might go against the Mariners. Gomez is questionable.


Outfielder Caleb Gindl escaped with a bruised calf when he smashed into the fence Sunday. He was sent down Tuesday. Outfielder Logan Schafer has a broken thumb and is out three to four weeks.


Roenicke said he would feel comfortable calling either up this season should he lose an outfielder.



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