MILWAUKEE -- Zach Davies has had another setback.
Davies, a steady starter for the Brewers over the past two seasons, has been limited to eight starts and a 5.23 ERA in 2018 because of right shoulder and lower back ailments. He was scheduled to begin another Minor League rehabilitation assignment on Thursday with Class A Wisconsin, but developed renewed stiffness in his back and will undergo an MRI scan instead, manager Craig Counsell said.
The setback came days after the Brewers lost another starting pitcher, Brent Suter, to a season-ending elbow injury.
"[Davies] tried to work through it and it's still there, so we're going to have to pursue some more tests," Counsell said.
With Davies and Suter down, and Jimmy Nelson not close to returning from shoulder surgery, the Brewers' pool of starters includes their current five-man rotation (Chase Anderson, Jhoulys Chacin, Junior Guerra, Wade Miley and rookie Freddy Peralta), plus Brandon Woodruff, who had been pitching out of the bullpen but was optioned back to Triple-A Colorado Springs on Tuesday and will rejoin the rotation there.
Next on the organizational depth chart is Aaron Wilkerson. Should the Brewers require a starting pitcher beyond that, the options would include Adrian Houser or Alec Asher, who like Woodruff have been starters in the Minor Leagues and relievers in the Majors.
There is no plan at the moment, Counsell said, to move top pitching prospect Corbin Burnes back to a starting role this season. The Brewers shifted him to the Triple-A bullpen after June 13 and subsequently called him up to the big league bullpen.
"Look, we've had injuries," Counsell said. "We have to deal with them. We have to overcome them. We've used our depth, I think, pretty effectively. Your depth is tested if you continually have to go to it."
The Brewers will get one piece of their pitching depth back this week, as reliever Matt Albers is scheduled to rejoin the team in San Francisco after clearing his latest rehab start on Tuesday for Colorado Springs. Albers, who has been sidelined since mid-June by a shoulder injury, pitched 1 2/3 innings with no complications.
Arcia swinging hot bat
Orlando Arcia, the Brewers' Opening Day shortstop who was demoted to the Minors amid a terrible slump, continued a surge with three more hits for Colorado Springs in a 13-1 win on Tuesday. It boosted Arcia to 15-for-33 (.455) over his past seven games.
"He's certainly keeping up his end of the thing," Counsell said. "He's at just under 100 plate appearances [92 in the Minors this season], so a good chunk of at-bats. He's in a good spot."
The Brewers begin an eight-game West Coast road trip on Thursday in San Francisco, so Arcia won't be far away. Asked how the team will know when it is time to bring Arcia back, Counsell said, "I don't think there's a day you know. It's going to be a little need-based, and what we're thinking about how we're situated. He's making a strong case for it, for sure."
Isn't there a need now?
"I think offensively, Tyler [Saladino] has been pretty darn good," Counsell said. "I think I would say that for sure -- I think he's been really darn good."
Saladino delivered a walk-off sacrifice fly in Tuesday's 10-inning win over the Nationals. He is slashing .246/.323/.316 since returning from an ankle injury during the first week of July, for a .639 OPS and a 75 wRC+.
In the Majors this season, Arcia is slashing .197/.231/.251 for a .482 OPS and a 27 wRC+.