Estrada making strides toward return
By ANDREW GRUMAN
MILWAUKEE -- The road to recovery is starting to become clearer for one of the injured Brewers.
Right-hander Marco Estrada, who has been on the disabled list since May 24 with a strained right quad, threw off the mound prior to Sunday's game against San Diego and will move forward with plans to throw a simulated game Tuesday in Kansas City.
If all goes well, Estrada will throw one more bullpen session Thursday before starting a rehab assignment next weekend.
"He's doing pretty good," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "He still can't run 100 percent. (During) bullpens he doesn't feel it at all."
Estrada also took ground balls and covered first base off the mound, which still is slightly bothering the quad.
The Brewers may send Estrada to make his rehab starts in Single A so he wouldn't have to hit or run the bases.
Roenicke made it clear that whenever Estrada is ready to return, he will reclaim his spot in the rotation from rookie right-hander Michael Fiers.
It will likely take at least two rehab starts to get Estrada stretched out again.
"His arm strength isn't too bad," Roenicke said. "The first time he may throw 60 pitches, the next time around 75 and he should be ready to go. Once he's ready we are thinking maybe two (rehab) starts."
For the time being, Fiers will continue to fill Estrada's rotation spot.
After allowing just one run in seven innings in his first start of the season, Fiers has given up four runs in each of his past two starts, taking the loss in each.
"He still kept us in the game enough for me, to give us a chance to win," Roenicke said of Fiers. "He has to locate better than he did yesterday. One more start and we'll see what he looks like and then we will see where Marco is at. If Marco isn't ready, then Fiers will go longer than that."
Fiers' next start will be bumped back a few days due to Monday's off day, allowing Yovani Gallardo to start on regular rest Friday in Minnesota.