MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Brewers outrighted left-hander Chris Narveson to Triple-A Nashville on Friday, removing him from the 40-man roster.
Narveson, 31, will continue to start for Nashville, where he was on a rehab assignment recovering from a sprained left middle finger. Though it’s a disappointing setback, Narveson is taking the mindset of trying to earn his way back to the big leagues.
“The competitive side of me, you can’t take it as a (negative),” Narveson said. “You love the game, you want to play. I love the Brewers. You want to go work your butt off to get back to where you want to be. I know if you are not healthy you can’t do that. I need to get myself that way and get some good starts under my belt.”
In five rehab starts for the Sounds, Narveson was 1-2 with a 7.00 ERA. He’s pitched just four major league innings since 2011, missing the majority of last season with a torn left rotator cuff.
“We thought it was the best way to go about it,” Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. “I think he needs to be on a routine where he’s throwing every fifth day. He’s had two things with the surgery and bouncing back with the finger. He needs to be in an atmosphere where he can perform well, and try to get back to the same guy that we saw my first year here, and they saw the year before that.”
After a long road through the minor leagues that was filled with injuries, Narveson finally had established himself as a major league starter with the Brewers in 2011, going 11-8 with a 4.45 ERA.
But he tore his shoulder two starts into last season and injured his finger this April. Still trying to get the feel back on his pitches, Narveson struggled quite a bit in Nashville. Though Milwaukee is hurting for starting pitching, the Brewers decided against adding Narveson to their staff.
“He had some good innings and some real good batters that he faced, and then all of a sudden trouble,” Roenicke said. “It was kind of expected, I guess. After the surgery that’s kind of what I expected to see in spring training and into the season. But the one thing is his shoulder’s gotten more of a rest now, so hopefully he comes back and pitches well.”
As he packed up his locker Friday, Narveson was hopeful this wasn’t the last time he left the home clubhouse at Miller Park.
“I want to pitch,” Narveson said. “If it’s Nashville, I know I have to do that to get back to where I want to be, physically and mentally. My goal is to go down there, get myself ready and hopefully be able to make it back up.”
Hand to start: The carousel of starting pitchers has landed on Donovan Hand, as the right-hander will make a spot start Saturday when the team needs a fifth starter.
Because of a few timely days off, Milwaukee has been able to avoid filling Marco Estrada’s spot in the rotation since Tom Gorzelanny made a spot start June 8.
The Brewers considered a few options, including giving Gorzelanny another start, before deciding on Hand as the team’s ninth different starting pitcher this season. Milwaukee used 11 different starting pitchers last season, but it needed just six starters for the entire 2011 season.
“It’s really no different for me,” Hand said. “Just go about my business the same way, try to throw ground balls and limit my pitches so I can go a little bit farther into the game. I think (Saturday) is going to be a bullpen game so as many innings I can give us the better so we don’t burn as many guys, Hopefully at the end of it I can give us a chance to win the game.”
Hand started three games for Triple-A Nashville in 2012, but hasn’t been a starter full time since 2009 in Double A. He was used as a starting pitcher this offseason in the Venezuelan winter league, giving him some experience as far as what to expect.
“I’m excited,” Hand said. “I try not to play it up or anything, because it’s just another day. Being a long guy, I’m starting the first inning instead of being in the third or fourth. That’s the approach I’m taking on it.”
Hand has worked as many as three innings at a time as Milwaukee’s long reliever, but has no set pitch count on him Saturday.
“Go as far as I can,” Hand said. “I think a realistic goal is three or four (innings). Anything after that would be a bonus. Three or four would be a good goal to shoot for.
“You don’t want to get down early. Give us a good start, two good innings, three good innings and see what happens after that.”
Estrada getting closer: Recovering from a strained left hamstring, Estrada threw a bullpen prior to Friday’s game and was pleased with the results.
The right-hander was scheduled to meet with team physician Dr. William Raasch later in the day, but all signs point to a rehab assignment coming in the next few days.
“It was the best bullpen I’ve thrown so far, not location-wise but my leg,” Estrada said. “It’s feeling much better. I’m able to run 100 percent. Pitching is really close, so I might be heading out soon to do a rehab start somewhere.”
The Brewers know where they plan to send Estrada, but are waiting to announce the details until after his checkup with Dr. Raasch. It’s too early to tell how many rehab starts Estrada will need, but Roenicke said it may just be one.
Estrada was scheduled to start for Single-A Wisconsin last Thursday, but was scratched when he felt a little uneasy about his hamstring.
“That was a minor deal,” Estrada said. “That’s all it was. I felt it a little still, so they just wanted to give me a couple of extra days. I’m glad we did it that way. I’m pretty excited to hear that I’m going to be going out soon to make that start somewhere.”
Though he’s 4-4 with a 5.32 ERA in 12 starts this season, Estrada is expected to rejoin Milwaukee’s rotation when he returns.
Aoki returns: Brewers left fielder Norichika Aoki was reinstated from the paternity list Friday after the birth of his son. The Brewers optioned outfielder Josh Prince to Triple-A Nashville to make room for Aoki, who is back in Milwaukee’s starting lineup Friday.
Aoki didn’t take batting practice and was set to arrive at the park just before game time after spending the day with his wife, Sachi. The baby boy is the couple’s second child, as they have a daughter named Emily.