MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee Brewers right-hander Kyle Lohse will miss Saturday’s start against Pittsburgh with irritation in his right elbow.
The injury popped up after Lohse’s start at home against St. Louis on May 4, and he’s been getting treatment and pitching through it ever since. Right-hander Mike Fiers will make the spot start against the Pirates.
An MRI revealed no structural damage, but showed inflammation in an area of the elbow that both Lohse and the Brewers don’t want to mess around with.
“I’m just trying to stay ahead of it,” Lohse said. “The way I’ve been feeling the last couple of starts going in and treating it, I can keep throwing but you’re playing with fire if you keep dealing with that issue. We all kind of came to the conclusion that this is the best thing to do. Let it calm down and then get back out there.”
Signed to a three-year deal just one week before the start of the season, Lohse is 1-5 with a 3.79 ERA in nine starts. Of the 23 earned runs he’s allowed this season, 14 have came since he began feeling the discomfort in his elbow.
“He could go out and pitch but because he didn’t have a spring training, we’d rather just try and get rid of this,” Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said.
There’s nothing to tie the inflammation in the elbow to Lohse missing spring training, but the right-hander knows it’s going to be talked about.
“I don’t know that, that’s it but you can’t rule it out,” Lohse said. “Obviously this was a different year than any other year for me and now I have an issue that I haven’t had before. I can see where the connection can be made. I don’t point directly to that. It was just one of those things that popped up.”
Though anything related to the elbow is concerning for obvious reasons, the 33-year-old still plans to make his scheduled start Thursday in Minnesota.
“That’s the plan,” Lohse said. “I don’t see any reason why it shouldn’t go that way. I’m doing the rest and rehab and I’m just trying to get back out there and get back to work.”
Left-hander Tom Gorzelanny came through Tuesday’s simulated game with no setbacks and could come off the disabled list before Friday’s game. An easy corresponding move would have been to send right-hander Hiram Burgos back to Triple-A with Fiers filling his spot in the rotation, but Lohse missing a start complicates things.
“He threw the ball well,” Roenicke said of Gorzelanny. “No issues at all with the arm. Command (was) OK but there were no issues at all with soreness.
“We’ve got a move to make. Gorzelanny still, we’ll figure which day he comes off. We’ll know a little bit more at the end of the day.”
Fiers will be making just his second start of the season and his first since April 6, but has been working as a starter in the minor leagues. Roenicke is confident Fiers can give the Brewers enough depth in the spot start.
After struggling for most of this season, Fiers took a big step forward to regaining the form he showed during most of last season in Tuesday’s outing.
Coming in with the bases loaded and one out in the fourth inning, Fiers struck out Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and got center fielder Matt Kemp to ground into a fielders’ choice to end the inning and keep the Brewers down just 2-1.
Fiers is 1-2 with a 5.93 ERA in 13 2/3 innings this season.
“(Tuesday) was huge (for Fiers),” Roenicke said. “The other outings it’s been one batter that’s got him and then he throws the ball OK. It’s hard to tell (how he’s throwing the ball). We’ll see how he does.”