Roenicke on Nelson, Estrada, Wang, weekend

Check later tonight for Jonathan Lucroy’s reaction to being named an All-Star Game starter and Jimmy Nelson’s take on returning to the big leagues amid a miserable team slump. For now, here are some highlights of Ron Roenicke’s session with reporters on a busy day:

Why now for Jimmy Nelson?

“Good question. We’ve been talking about him for a while, and I think it had both to do with him pitching so well and Marco not pitching as well as we know he can. Even though Marco’s pitched, we think, better the last four games, Jimmy was making it impossible for us to keep him down there. … [Marco Estrada, who was bumped to the bullpen] understood. He wasn’t happy. I don’t want him to be happy. But he understood.”

Is Nelson here to stay?

“We’ll see. I don’t want to make a comment on that and then change it in three weeks. We’ll see what happens. This guy deserves a chance to pitch up here and see what he can do.”

Will his earlier start in Miami start help him hit the ground running?

“Yeah, I think last year coming up in the bullpen … and the one start he got last year, the one start this year, all of that helps to be more comfortable with the surroundings here. And he’s been throwing his bullpen sessions in Triple-A with Major League balls to get him used to the feel of the ball. All that helps.”

Even though an offensive outage is to blame, is this move a response to the losing streak?

“During a season, you have all phases that go bad at times. So I don’t think it was necessarily just looking at what wasn’t going well. It’s just that I think this guy deserved a chance. Doug has been talking to me about him and wanting to make a change. Regardless of which area of our game isn’t going well right now, we felt it was the right time to do it. …

“I think the team is where we are, things aren’t going as well the last week, week and a half, and I think that any time you do something that the players are excited about, I think it’s good. That’s not a snub on Marco, it’s just a guy that has probably been the best pitcher in the Minor Leagues.”

Roenicke said Estrada would be used in long relief, and was asked whether the Brewers considered keeping him to the rotation and adding Nelson to the ‘pen instead, to help solve recent shakiness among the set-up men. 

“We talked about that also. Trying to figure out what the best thing was to do for him and us. We did talk about him in the bullpen.”

Regarding Wei-Chung Wang’s move to the disabled list with left shoulder tightness. Is there a chance he won’t be back with the Brewers until September?

“Oh, I don’t know. The plans are 2-4 weeks to get this calmed down and then start up his throwing program. So you just have to kind of project out where it ends up.”

Might he be converted back to a starting role when he’s ready for a Minor League rehab assignment?

“I don’t know. This came up pretty fast yesterday, and I think with me just finding out what we were going to try to do with him and the switch we were going to make that but we haven’t talked about whether he was going to start once he comes back or whether he was going to relieve. So, I don’t know.”

Could this be good for his development?

“Sure. That’s the hard thing with what we were doing with him, is it was so inconsistent as to what we were doing. He would go 10 days, sometimes 12 days. That’s what makes it so hard — you want to develop him, and you also want him to pitch well for you, yet the inconsistent work is tough on a guy. He’s been a starter, he’s been used to pitching whatever days he was going to go. So he went from a starter to a reliever and then with the inconsistent work, it becomes difficult.”

Is this a big series against the Cardinals?

“It’s another series is what it is. We need to turn this around. I thought the last series was important to turn it around, and we didn’t. So this series is important to turn it around. … We have to win games. We’re not playing against one team; we’re playing against the whole league. And we have to win more games. We have to win more games than they do, we have to win more games than Pittsburgh does, Cincinnati and the Cubs. That’s what we have to do.”


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