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Despite rocky rehab outing, Marcum closer to return

BELOIT, Wis. -- While young pitchers like Mike Fiers are making a name for themselves for the big league club, veteran Shaun Marcum is inching his way back to helping the Brewers. Making his second rehabilitation start Wednesday night against the Beloit Snappers, Marcum faced trouble for the first time since early June.

Marcum pitched effectively in his first rehab start with the Class A Timber Rattlers, throwing 28 of his 36 pitches for strikes and surrendering only a solo home run.

His outing Wednesday night through three innings had strong parallels to his first start. He retired the side in order in the first inning, including a pair of strikeouts. Beloit got on the board with an unearned run in the second inning. Marcum recorded another strikeout in the third, and fielded a bunt for a putout. Through three innings, Marcum threw 36 pitches, 27 for strikes.

In the fourth, Marcum gave up a leadoff double, recorded his fourth strikeout, and gave up an RBI single to Kennys Vargas. The damage in the inning could have been worse had Vargas not been thrown out trying to stretch the single into a double.

Following a single and a pair of walks, Marcum left the game with the bases loaded. After his exit, Timber Rattlers reliever Jacob Barnes forced in a run with a walk. Marcum finished the game with 59 pitches, 39 for strikes, surrendering three runs (two earned), allowing four hits two walks and striking out four Snappers.

Marcum pitched a bullpen session on Sunday in Appleton, and said he felt better after that.

"I thought my bullpen went very well," Marcum said. "I actually felt better on Sunday than I did Friday. It's a sign that things are headed in the right direction."

Coming into Wednesday night's game, Marcum had a similar goal to last Friday: pound the strike zone and stay healthy. After a pitch count of around 40 last time out, Marcum was able to stretch it out, hovering around the goal of 60 pitches.

The rehab has been a frustrating process for Marcum, who noted before his last rehab start that his anticipated date of return was "two months ago."

"It's been definitely frustrating, especially when you have an MRI that doesn't show any damage," said Marcum. "It was just a matter of trying to get the soreness out of there. I finally got it calm and settled down, and haven't had any soreness for a while now. We were being cautious with it as well. We didn't want to rush back and cause another injury."

After Wednesday's game, Marcum hopes the next time he puts on a uniform and takes the hill is with the Brewers.

"That's the plan, that's my plan," said Marcum. "I don't know what their plan is. We'll see what they want to do after tonight if everything goes according to plan."

As far as what uniform he'll wear after this season, Marcum isn't as sure.

"If I had the opportunity [to re-sign with Milwaukee] I'd love to," Marcum said. "That's definitely a possibility. It's a great organization. Most of the guys are going to be back next year. It's a good group. They still have a chance to do some things in Milwaukee. It's pretty special."

Milwaukee Brewers, Shaun Marcum