Series preview: Milwaukee Brewers

If right-hander Zack Greinke had his way, his minor-league rehab start Sunday with Class AAA Nashville would be the last step before joining the Brewers’ starting rotation.
   
Not so fast, says manager Ron Roenicke.
   
Greinke has been anxious to make his Brewers’ debut since cracking a rib early in spring camp playing pick-up basketball. As the Brewers’ much-hyped off-season acquisition, he wants to get his 2011 big-league season underway.
   
But, as Roenicke noted, the Brewers want to make sure Greinke is ready to pitch more than a few innings when he joins the rotation.
   
“To bring Zack back a week earlier or five days earlier, and really not have his arm strength, it makes no sense to me,” said Roenicke. “We need this guy for the long haul.
   
“When he’s back here, I want him solid for the rest of the season, hopefully getting us into the playoffs. That’s when I want him good.”
   
Greinke struggled a bit Sunday, allowing three hits and two runs in 2 2/3 innings for Nashville against Omaha. He walked one and struck out two while throwing 54 pitches, 32 for strikes.
   
Assuming Greinke makes another minor-league start in five days, then is declared ready to join the Brewers, he would debut in a series in Atlanta from May 2-5. He would pitch in front of Milwaukee fans for the first time the next week in a series against San Diego.
   
In Greinke’s absence, right-hander Marco Estrada will make his third start in the No. 5 hole Tuesday against Cincinnati.
   
The Brewers beat Houston 4-1 on Sunday thanks to an ace-like performance by Randy Wolf. He pitched eight innings of one-run ball.

NOTES, QUOTES
   
–2B Rickie Weeks was back in the lineup Sunday, going 2-for-4 with a home run, after getting the previous game off due to a slight sprain of his left pinkie finger. Weeks hurt the finger with a head-first slide on a steal of second base Friday night against Houston. He wanted to play Saturday but manager Ron Roenicke decided to give him his first day off this season.
   
–LF Ryan Braun singled in the sixth inning Sunday to reach base safely in each of the Brewers’ first 21 games. The club record for reaching base to open a season is 23 consecutive games by Robin Yount in 1983. Braun scored 21 runs in the Brewers’ first 20 games, joining Paul Molitor as the only players in club history with at least 20 runs scored over the first 20 games. Molitor scored 23 times over that span in 1987.
   
–1B Prince Fielder compiled 21 RBI through the Brewers’ first 20 games entering Sunday, the second-highest total in club history over that span. RF Rob Deer knocked in 22 runs in the first 20 games of the 1987 season.
   
–RF Corey Hart went 2-for-12 in his first four games on minor-league rehab with Class AAA Nashville as he worked his way back from a left oblique strain that forced him to miss the entire exhibition season. Hart was given the day off Sunday. The Brewers were considering bringing him back on either Tuesday or Wednesday, depending on how he does on Monday with Nashville.
   
–RHP Zack Greinke threw 2 2/3 innings in his rehab start for Class AAA Nashville on Sunday, allowing three hits and two runs with one walk and two strikes. Greinke threw 54 pitches, 32 for strikes.
   
–LHP Randy Wolf stretched his string of consecutive scoreless innings to 20 1/3 before surrendering a home with two outs in the eighth inning Sunday to Houston C J.R. Towles. Wolf had thrown 12 2/3 innings of scoreless ball in his previous two starts in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.
   
BY THE NUMBERS: 7 –- Errors committed by the Brewers over their first 20 games, resulting in a major league-best .991 fielding percentage.
   
QUOTE TO NOTE: “He’s a tough guy, and he’ll play (hurt). But I told him I don’t want him to alter the way he’s going to hold the bat in his hand and then all of a sudden take a chance on his swing getting funny.” –- Manager Ron Roenicke, who held 2B Rickie Weeks out of the lineup Saturday because of a sore left pinkie finger.

ROSTER REPORT
   
MEDICAL WATCH:
   
–2B Rickie Weeks (sprained left pinkie finger) left the game April 22, and he didn’t play April 23. He returned April 24.
   
–RHP Sergio Mitre (sore right triceps) was hurt April 18, and he hasn’t pitched since. He is day-to-day.
   
–RHP Takashi Saito (left hamstring strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 5. He threw some simulated innings April 22 as the next step in his throwing program. Saito is scheduled for another simulated session, and then a decision will be made as to whether to activate him. Manager Ron Roenicke said Saito won’t necessarily have to pitch in the minors before returning.
   
–RF Corey Hart (strained muscle in left side) was injured during a throwing drill in late February, and he went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 22. He began a rehab assignment with Class AAA Nashville on April 19. He might be able to return to the Brewers on April 26 or April 27.
   
–OF Nyjer Morgan (right thigh bruise) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 18. The injury wasn’t considered serious.
   
–RHP Zack Greinke (fractured rib) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 22. He made his first rehab start for Class A Brevard County on April 19, and pitched for Class AAA Nashville on April 24. He might be able to make his Brewers debut in early May.
   
–LHP Manny Parra (back tightness) missed most of spring training, and he went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 22. Parra made his first rehab appearance for low Class A Wisconsin on April 9, and he made four rehab appearances for Class AAA Nashville from April 12-23.