Last season, Chris Narveson was one of the most pleasant surprises on the Milwaukee Brewers’ roster.
Installed as the fifth starter, behind aces Yovani Gallardo, Zack Greinke, Shaun Marcum and fellow lefty Randy Wolf, little was expected of the then-29-year-old.
Quickly, though, Narveson established himself as a bona fide link in one of the National League’s best starting rotations. He opened the season with 14.0 consecutive scoreless innings and finished the year 11-8 with a 4.45 ERA in 30 appearances (28 starts).
Barring injury or another unforeseen setback, Narveson figures to be in the rotation again when the 2012 season opens April 6 at Miller Park. Being assured a spot in the starting five doesn’t mean the fourth-year pro is taking it easy this spring.
“You wanna be ready,” Narveson said. “You don’t wanna sacrifice preparation just because of knowing certain things. You always look at it in terms of you’re trying to be prepared. You have to always push yourself harder. And I think we’ve got a great staff for that. When you see everybody working it kinda makes you work even harder.”
In 2010, Narveson was plagued by big innings, especially early in games. He still struggled at times with big innings a year ago, which manager Ron Roenicke said made Narveson’s numbers a bit misleading.
“There was probably four or five games where he had one bad inning,” Roenicke said. “He would throw up a lot of zeroes with one bad inning. And it tells me that his stuff, what he has, really plays into big innings.
“Now, we need to get away from those big innings. And, if he can get way from those big innings, this guy’s gonna have a nice career. Every year you’re trying to improve. And he’s trying to improve and stay away from those innings. But, you take away those four, five innings, he would’ve had a pretty impressive year.”