It took three weeks, but lefty Chris Narveson will finally get his shot as the Brewers’ fifth starter, manager Ken Macha announced before Sunday’s game.
Narveson is slated to start Wednesday’s series finale against the Pirates.
Macha also announced veteran right-hander Jeff Suppan — and his $12.5 million contract — will move to the bullpen.
“I talked to Jeff today and… he was extremely professional about the whole thing,” Macha said. “He said he’d help the club any way that he could.”
“I was surprised a little bit, but ultimately I don’t concern myself with it,” Suppan said. “I just need to continue to work on what I need to work on to go out and pitch, and that’s pitch selection and pitch location. My two games I started, I had a lot of missed pitches but I threw a lot of good pitches. The missed pitches were down the middle and that doesn’t lead to good results. It was a situation where they told me today, after two starts, and I’ll go to the bullpen and help out any way I can.”
Did he think two starts was enough of a measuring stick?
“Well, it’s really not up to me. It’s not my decision,” Suppan said. “They have their reasons and they have their thoughts, and I respect that. I’m just a player. I have a locker and they have the big offices. They make the decisions.”
Narveson earned the spot because of his performance in September 2009 and Spring Training this season, Macha said. Of the three candidates for the fifth starter role — Narveson, Suppan and lefty Manny Parra — Narveson had the best Spring Training by far.
During the spring, he pitched 13 innings over five games and did not allow a run on 10 hits. Suppan and Parra each finished with an ERA of more than 5.00.
Narveson has struggled a bit out of the bullpen, including Saturday’s game in which he allowed three runs to score in the eighth on two hits and two walks. In the ninth, however, he came back and retired the side in order.
After Suppan managed only 9 1/3 innings over his first two outings — forcing the bullpen to pitch 8 2/3 in those games — Macha and the Brewers are hoping Narveson can give them more innings and quality starts.
“That kind of stuff hampers you,” Macha said. “When you get a lot of innings out of your bullpen, that has a residual effect, as it did yesterday.”
–Jordan Schelling, Associate Reporter