Brewers manager Ken Macha formally named Dave Bush the team’s No. 4 starter on Tuesday but provided a detail that further clouded the race for the No. 5 slot.
Jeff Suppan has been getting treatment throughout the spring for a stiff neck and one of the various scenarios has him beginning the season on the disabled list, Macha said. Instead of pitching Suppan in Tuesday’s “A” game against the Angels, the Brewers organized a simulated game in Minor League camp for Suppan. He was expected to throw about 90 pitches.
The DL is only one of a series of possibilities, but Tuesday’s ‘sim’ game could allow the Brewers to shorten a potential season-opening stint on the 15-day disabled list. Such assignments can be backdated to March 26, providing the player doesn’t pitch in an official Spring Training game.
Chris Narveson was to start against the Angels and Manny Parra will follow in relief. Narveson, Parra and Suppan are the candidates for the fifth starter’s role, which might not be used until the Brewers’ April 12-15 series at Wrigley Field against the Cubs and is not absolutely needed until the series after that, in Washington.
Narveson and Parra are out of options and Suppan is guaranteed $12.5 million this season in the final year of his contract. The Brewers have made a priority of preserving their depth after struggling last season to overcome injuries to Suppan and Bush.
The lineup against the Angels:
Carlos Gomez CF
Alcides Escobar SS
Rickie Weeks DH
Prince Fielder 1B
Casey McGehee 3B
Corey Hart RF
Adam Stern LF
Brett Lawrie 2B
George Kottaras C
Ryan Braun is getting one more day off for a stiff back but said he expects to play Wednesday against the Cubs. Macha held out catcher Gregg Zaun one more day because of a sore quadriceps but called that injury very minor. Outfielder Jim Edmonds traveled home to California on Monday night to tend to a family emergency.