The Brewers’ list of in-house candidates to replace injured starter Zack Greinke at the start of the season has been whittled down to one — Right-hander Marco Estrada, who made a statement Wednesday with 4 1/3 scoreless innings against the Padres.
The Brewers are also looking at about a half-dozen pitchers in other camps who could become available in the final days of Spring Training. One name under consideration is former Milwaukee right-hander Dave Bush, a non-roster invitee for Texas who appears unlikely to make that team’s roster.
“Doug [Melvin, the team’s general manager] is still looking,” Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said.
But if the Brewers stay in-house, it will be Estrada. He’ll start again Saturday against the Mariners, bumping right-hander Shaun Marcum to Sunday’s game against the White Sox. Marcum missed his last start with a stiff shoulder, but the Brewers are confident he’ll be able to start the regular season as the No. 2 starter, debuting April 2 against the Reds.
With Greinke out with a cracked rib, the Brewers expect to need a fifth starter for the first time on April 6 against the Braves. They won’t need a start from that spot again until April 16, by which time right-hander Mark Rogers could also be an option.
Considering Estrada “is basically who we’re looking at” for April 6, according to Roenicke, it means the Brewers are no longer looking at right-hander Wily Peralta, a 21-year-old top prospect who struggled in his Cactus League outings. Peralta has made just eight starts above the Class-A level.
“That’s asking a lot from him” to jump to the Majors, Roenicke said. “For me, he’s just too young of a guy. I know sometimes guys at that young age can do it, but I don’t know if that’s realistic.”