Another good outing for Estrada

White Sox left-hander Mark Buehrle looked ready for the regular season. So did the Brewers’ Marco Estrada, though he may have to wait.

Buehrle struck out seven batters and surrendered only two hits while breezing through five scoreless innings of his final tune-up before an April 1 Opening Day start against the Indians. Estrada all but matched his Chicago counterpart, though his status with the Brewers is far less secure.

Estrada made another strong case for an April start or two by working six innings against the White Sox, scattering seven hits but allowing only two runs. Estrada walked one and struck out four, and now must wait to see how the team handles its uncertain fifth starter situation.

With Zack Greinke on the disabled list to start the season the Brewers need a fifth starter for the first time on April 6 and could either use Sergio Mitre and other relievers in that game or dip down to the Minors for a starter. If they take the latter approach then one option would be Estrada, who made one start and six relief appearances for Milwaukee last season but was not even in big league camp this spring.

“It’s up to them now,” Estrada said, of the front office officials setting plans for the Opening Day roster and beyond. “If they gave me the job, I would gladly take it. If not, I’ll work my butt off again and get back up there. … I just hope I gave them something to think about.”

Estrada allowed three earned runs in 13 1/3 Cactus League innings but was especially sharp in his two starts. On Tuesday against the Padres, he allowed three hits in 4 1/3 scoreless innings.

“I think the biggest thing for [club officials] was to see that I was healthy,” said Estrada, who was sent home last fall when he complained of a sore shoulder. “Now it’s just being able to pitch.”


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