'Whipped puppy' shows some teeth

Brewers manager Ken Macha likened lefty Manny Parra to a “whipped puppy” when the team demoted him to the Minors on June 13. After he returned to the Majors with seven scoreless innings on Thursday, Parra was asked if he agreed with the manager’s assment.

“Whipped puppy. That kind of makes you feel like a kid, so I don’t like it,” Parra said. “Bottom line is I was struggling.”

He was much better against the Cardinals, even if he had to settle for a no-decision in a dishearting 5-1 loss at Miller Park. Parra allowed only three singles and one walk alongside seven strikeouts, and he threw 77 of his 110 pitches for strikes.

The Brewers expect Dave Bush to return from the disabled list soon after the All-Star break — Bush is to pitch Friday for Class A Wisconsin — but Parra could further boost the starting rotation if he stays on track.

“If that’s what we’re going to be looking at in the second half, it would be a welcome sight,” Macha said.

“It’s going to help a lot,” said first baseman Prince Fielder, who had a run-in with Parra
last season in the dugout at Cincinnati but praised the pitcher’s
effort on Thursday. “You saw the way he was, so hopefully he can keep
it going.”

They key was confidence.

“I was aggressive,” Parra said. “It came down to being confident and trusting that I can throw the ball over the plate. We put them into counts where they had to swing the bat. Before, I was trying to make perfect pitches. Today, I just trusted it and went with it.”


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