Estrada closer to rejoining rotation

Right-hander Marco Estrada moved closer Sunday to a Minor League rehabilitation assignment, and the Brewers are planning to return him to the starting rotation, not the bullpen, when he’s ready.

Estrada, on the disabled list with a right quad strain, threw a bullpen session on Sunday morning and is slated for a simulated game early Tuesday afternoon at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City. After another bullpen, he could then be cleared for a rehab start on Saturday, perhaps with one of the Brewers’ Class A clubs so Estrada would not have to bat. The Brewers think he’ll need two Minor League starts.

“He’s doing pretty good,” manager Ron Roenicke said. “He still can’t run 100 percent when he’s running straight out, but in bullpens, he doesn’t feel it at all.”

Estrada started the season in relief but moved to a starting role after left-hander Chris Narveson suffered a season-ending shoulder injury. Estrada was hurt himself on May 23, when he strained his right quadriceps legging out a double in an eventual Brewers win over the Giants.

Right-hander Mike Fiers made his third start in Estrada’s place on Saturday, losing to the Padres. Fiers will make at least one more start, Roenicke said, probably Saturday at Minnesota.

After that, the Brewers won’t require a fifth starter until June 26 at Cincinnati. That date perfectly coincides with Estrada’s projected return, assuming he is ready after two rehab starts.

“If Marco isn’t ready, then Fiers will go longer than that,” Roenicke said.

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