MILWAUKEE -- He won't be able to help a starting rotation that has sagged since the non-waiver Trade Deadline, but Brent Suter returned to the Brewers on Monday for the first time since Tommy John surgery with a plan to provide as much moral support as he can muster.Suter underwent
MILWAUKEE -- He won't be able to help a starting rotation that has sagged since the non-waiver Trade Deadline, but Brent Suter returned to the Brewers on Monday for the first time since Tommy John surgery with a plan to provide as much moral support as he can muster.
Suter underwent surgery late last month in Cincinnati, where he makes his offseason home. He rejoined his teammates wearing a metal brace to stabilize his left arm.
"I feel like Iron Man in this thing," he said.
Suter's range of motion has already returned and the pain from surgery has subsided, though he faces a long and grueling rehabilitation. Suter's wife, Erin, is expecting the couple's first child in October, and he's hoping to be able to hold the baby when it arrives.
Baseball will have to wait. Suter doesn't expect to resume throwing until Spring Training.
Still, it was a "big-time relief" to be back at Miller Park.
"I was getting separation anxiety," Suter said. "I didn't like being away from the team, but being back here and seeing everybody, it's been awesome. Hopefully, we can get this thing going, try to come back in this division race and all that. I'm going to be the best cheerleader I can."
Suter was 13-11 with a 3.91 ERA in 56 appearances (34 starts) for the Brewers over parts of the past three seasons, as he proved a valuable swingman for manager Craig Counsell. He will remain a minimum-salary player next season while rehabbing with an aim of pitching sometime in the second half.
"It's a long rehab, but I have something tangible that I'm working toward now," Suter said. "Before, I had just been hit with the news. It's a different mindset. It's more of attack mode now, and really the mindset of coming back better than before is helping fuel it. That's one of the things I'm keeping engrained in my mind: Come back better than before.
"I think I got all my tears out at the doctor's office [after learning he needed Tommy John surgery]. That was one of those emotionally exhausting days. I think I was able to get the emotional part out at the doctor's office, believe it or not, and after that, there was an acceptance and a peace about it. Kind of like, 'OK, where do we go from here?'"
Albers, Soria trending up
Matt Albers was back with the Brewers on Monday, as well, but he was not yet active after finishing a Minor League rehab assignment, while Joakim Soria is scheduled to throw to hitters on Tuesday -- signs that both veteran relievers are nearing returns from the 10-day disabled list.
Albers is on the DL for a left hamstring injury, and Soria his right groin. Albers made a third scoreless appearance for Double-A Biloxi on Saturday, a day before Soria threw a light bullpen session in St. Louis.
Counsell said the team would have a better timetable for Soria by Wednesday, after getting a report of how he bounces back from facing hitters. Albers' return is to be determined.
"[Albers] feels like he accomplished some things and that he's healthy," Counsell said. "He's ready. We weren't planning on activating him today unless there was a need. We'll kind of go with that for the next couple of days, depending on need."
Albers, signed last offseason to a two-year free agent contract, had a 1.08 ERA in his first 21 appearances through the end of May before developing a shoulder injury that landed him on the DL in June. He struggled badly upon returning to the Brewers at the end of July, allowing 10 runs on 10 hits including four home runs in just 1 2/3 innings over four games before returning to the DL.
He worked on better locating his sinker at Biloxi.
"I'm definitely ready to get back," Albers said.
• Catcher Manny Pina returned to the lineup Monday after missing the Brewers' three-game series in St. Louis with a left shoulder injury. He was hurt in a collision at second base with the Cubs' Javier Baez.
• Domingo Santana is heating up down at Triple-A Colorado Springs. He homered twice, stole two bases and drove in five runs on Sunday to lift his slash line to .287/.414/.487 with 15 extra-base hits in his first 45 games since a demotion to the Minors.
Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook.