It's good news, bad news for Marcum
The bad news is the possibility remains he might wind up on the disabled list because the injury-plagued Milwaukee Brewers are in serious need of some rested arms in their bullpen.
"That's what we've been discussing," manager Ron Roenicke said Wednesday before the Brewers' 8-3 win over the Toronto Blue Jays at Miller Park. "We may have to."
Marcum, who has been shut down until at least Friday, missed his start against Toronto on Tuesday. He said the issue cropped up on the 99th and final pitch he threw in his last start in Kansas City on June 14.
"I noticed it my last pitch; I threw a cutter and it just felt like it tightened up," he said. "I don't know if I just got around it too much, tried to do too much with it or what it was, but it tightened up on me.
"I had trouble loosening it up and trying to throw the bullpen (session) and stuff like that, so we felt it would be best to probably miss one (start) and hopefully be ready for the next one. And if not, then miss the two and see what happens."
Marcum met with team physician William Raasch on Monday and also had stress tests and an MRI exam done on the elbow, which Marcum had Tommy John surgery on in 2009 when he was with Toronto.
Everything checked out fine, according to Marcum, who experienced a similar bout of soreness in the same elbow in 2010.
"(No worries), really, as far as the ligaments are concerned," he said. "Everybody feels confident the ligament is good to go. Looking back on it, it feels similar to what I had in 2010 when I went on the DL and missed one start—same area, same location.
"It was just a matter of getting some inflammation out of there and that stiffness to go away."
The Brewers have penciled Marco Estrada back into their rotation for a start Tuesday at Cincinnati, and they also have Mike Fiers on hand for the time being in case Marcum is forced to miss another start.
"I'm sure they've got it all planned out, but who knows if it'll hold up," said Marcum, who is 5-3 with a 3.39 earned-run average. "It's been crazy—injuries all over baseball."
Thornburg optioned out
Tyler Thornburg's major-league experience wound up lasting a little more than 24 hours.
Summoned from Class AAA Nashville to make a start Tuesday in place of Marcum, the right-hander was optioned back to Nashville after the game Wednesday.
Thornburg received a no-decision in what wound up being a 10-9 Brewers loss, giving up seven hits and five runs while walking none and striking out two. He surrendered four homers, but in a series that featured a total of 16, it was hard to find fault with the 24-year-old.
"I thought he threw the ball really well," said Roenicke. "Anytime you're up here and you pitch well enough to know mentally that you can get these guys out, it helps the next time you come up. That was one of the better lineups in baseball."
Thornburg's promotion came at the expense of an appearance in the Southern League all-star game Tuesday. He'd received a promotion from Class AA Huntsville to Nashville just days before that, so now he'll report to his second new team in a three-day span.
"I'm very grateful for the opportunity," said Thornburg. "I can go back to Triple-A and work on some things—some things I need to do here and not just in the minor leagues. Get better for the next time I come up."
Catching his breath
For the first time since June 1, Norichika Aoki wasn't in the starting lineup Wednesday.
His day off coincided with an 0-for-5 outing the night before in which he failed to put together even one quality at-bat—a rarity for the Japanese outfielder whose feisty approach at the plate has helped earn him so much playing time in right field.
"I think he's run out of gas here a little bit," Roenicke said. "He's playing a lot. All of a sudden I'm seeing some funny swings from him."
Players typically have one or two days off per week in Japan, which obviously doesn't happen in the major leagues.
Roenicke said Aoki continues to grind every day with regard to swings, saying he takes more than any other Brewers player and that it's "not even close."
"It could have something to do with that," Roenicke said. "We started seeing a couple different swings when we were in Minnesota that we hadn't really seen from him. He may just be wearing out a little bit."
Aoki, who's hitting .275 with three home runs and 12 runs batted in, didn't get the whole day off, however.
He was inserted as a defensive replacement in left field for Ryan Braun in the ninth inning after Braun left with a cut right hand suffered in a slide into home in the third.