Narveson expects to make next start

Left-hander Chris Narveson is running out of healthy digits, but said he expects to make his next start as scheduled after exiting early in Game 1 of Monday’s doubleheader.

The nail on Narveson’s left middle finger caught on a sixth-inning fastball and began to pull away, so he and head athletic trainer Roger Caplinger made the quick decision to call it a day in the Brewers’ eventual 8-1 win over the Pirates. Narveson had just come back from a stint on the disabled list tied to a cut on his left thumb.

Depending on how the Brewers re-order their rotation, Narveson would next start Sunday against the Cubs or Aug. 30 against the Cardinals.

“I knew if I threw one more pitch and it ended up catching [the nail] good or pulling it back or pulling it off, I would be in big trouble,” Narveson said. “I think we caught it. It should be good. It doesn’t really bother me right now. There’s just a little blood underneath it.”

It’s been a strange couple of weeks for Narveson. He sliced his thumb with a pair of scissors on Aug. 12 — during a Pirates-Brewers game at Miller Park — while fixing the stitching on his baseball glove. He was on the 15-day DL until Monday afternoon.

He appeared right back on track, holding the Pirates to five hits and no runs in 5 1/3 innings. But Narveson was pitching without his curveball, which, because of the still-healing cut on his thumb, did not feel right from his first pitch in the bullpen.

That the pitch escaped him was “weird,” Narveson said, because he threw a series of curveballs during a session at Citi Field on Saturday and felt good about all of them. He and catcher George Kottaras had to improvise on Monday.

“We simplified it with fastball, change, cutter, for the most part,” Narveson said.

He did not expect to win the game with his bat.

Pirates starter Jeff Karstens (9-7) pitched seven quality innings but was burned by one breaking ball to the opposing pitcher. Karstens intentionally walked Craig Counsell with runners at second and third to instead face Narveson, who had not taken the bat of his shoulder during a third-inning strikeout.

This time, Narveson reached for a low breaking ball with two strikes, and delivered a tiebreaking two-run single to right field.

Did Karstens do him a favor by not trying to overpower him with a fastball?

“It’s a Catch-22,” Narveson said. “If you’re looking fastball and you’re out in front [of a breaking ball], it’s a good pitch to put the guy away on. If you make a mistake and leave it in the zone, sometimes you are doing a favor. It might have been the right pitch, just the wrong location.”

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