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Woodruff continues to impress Brewers

Despite fast start, righty could be headed to Minors
MLB.com @AdamMcCalvy

DENVER -- After his notably delayed debut, Brandon Woodruff did his part over three respectable starts to prove he belongs in the big leagues. Now he may have to wait again.

The Brewers are expected to option Woodruff to Triple-A Colorado Springs on Sunday to make way for Chase Anderson's return from the disabled list for the rubber match of a three-game series against the Rockies. If that is the move, it will not be for a lack of execution. Woodruff collected his first two Major League hits and held the potent Rockies to one run in 4 2/3 innings of Saturday's 6-3 win.

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DENVER -- After his notably delayed debut, Brandon Woodruff did his part over three respectable starts to prove he belongs in the big leagues. Now he may have to wait again.

The Brewers are expected to option Woodruff to Triple-A Colorado Springs on Sunday to make way for Chase Anderson's return from the disabled list for the rubber match of a three-game series against the Rockies. If that is the move, it will not be for a lack of execution. Woodruff collected his first two Major League hits and held the potent Rockies to one run in 4 2/3 innings of Saturday's 6-3 win.

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"If that happens, so be it," Woodruff said of the potential move. "You just go down and try to get better and try to come back as quick as you can to help the team win."

Why would a team send down a prospect -- Woodruff is No. 4 on MLBPipeline.com's Brewers top 30 -- who is having success? Someone has to vacate the 25-man roster for Anderson's return from an oblique injury, Woodruff has options, and with an off-day in each of the next two weeks, the Brewers will not need a fifth starter until Sept. 2 -- a day after active rosters expand to 40.

In his three Brewers starts, Woodruff has gone 1-1 with a 1.62 ERA.

"He's certainly opened our eyes and he's someone that's going to be in the mix here as we get into September," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said.

Woodruff has had to exercise patience before. His Aug. 4 Major League debut came nearly two months after Woodruff was supposed to pitch at Busch Stadium. He strained his hamstring during the pregame stretch and had to hit the disabled list.

The 24-year-old had thrown 81 pitches when Counsell called to the bullpen with a runner aboard and the Brewers leading, 3-1, in the fifth inning on Saturday. Left-handed-hitting Gerardo Parra was due up, and wicked lefty Josh Hader well-rested, Counsell saw a preferred matchup.

So he went to the mound and removed Woodruff one out shy of qualifying for a victory.

Is Counsell convinced Woodruff understood the thinking?

"We're trying to win. I hope he understands that," Counsell said. "This is how we've used Josh. With what Josh is, this is the best way for us to deploy him and make him a weapon. And he's been a big weapon for us in games like this."

Said Woodruff: "Of course, as competitor, you want to stay in and get through that fifth. But you understand the decision -- left on left, and Parra's more of a contact guy. He'd just got a single off me the last at-bat. You understand the decision, for sure."

Woodruff had already distinguished himself at the plate. A left-handed hitter despite the fact he pitches right-handed, Woodruff singled off Rockies starter Chad Bettis for his first career hit, then scored his first career run when Eric Thames' triple bounced under center fielder Charlie Blackmon's glove. In the fourth inning, Woodruff singled again, making him the only Brewers pitcher this season with a multihit game.

His mound work, however, is what stood out.

"It definitely gives you some confidence, coming in and giving the team chances to win," Woodruff said.

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook.

Milwaukee Brewers, Brandon Woodruff