Hand to make first career Major League start
The Brewers announced Friday that right-handed reliever Donovan Hand will make his first Major League start in Saturday’s game against the Braves at Miller Park.
The spot in the rotation remained up in the air until Friday with starters Marco Estrada and Hiram Burgos still rehabbing from injuries. Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said there was discussion about starting left-handed reliever Tom Gorzelanny for the second time this season, but ultimately it was Hand’s chance.
“It seemed like everybody wanted to [start Hand],” Roenicke said. “He’s been stretched out enough where we’re not that concerned. We’re not going to throw him 90 pitches, but we’ll see how the game goes.”
Hand has pitched in the long reliever role out of the Brewers’ bullpen since he was promoted from Triple-A Nashville on May 26. He holds a 3.38 ERA in eight appearances and said the goal is to pitch three or four innings on Saturday, with anything after that being a bonus.
“I’m going to go out like I’m the long guy in the bullpen, which I’ve done. I’ll go out until they tell me to stop,” Hand said. “It’s an opportunity, if nothing else to go out and work on some pitches. Get off to a good start with two good innings, three good innings and see what happens after that.”
Hand will be the ninth Milwaukee starter used this season after numerous injuries plagued the rotation. Burgos is currently rehabbing from a right shoulder impingement and Estrada is working back from a strained left hamstring, forcing Hand to start Saturday and fellow reliever Alfredo Figaro to make his fifth start of the season on Sunday.
He was a starting pitcher last October and November in the Venezuelan Winter League, which Hand says will help him Saturday.
“I try not to play it up or anything. It’s just the same business,” Hand said. “Go about my business the same way, throw ground balls and hopefully it works out well.”
Before his late-May callup, Hand made 16 appearances out of the bullpen and had a 3.18 ERA for Nashville. He will oppose Atlanta right-hander Tim Hudson on Saturday.
– Kevin Massoth