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Decision time: Miley excels in final rehab start

Brewers have 2 days to add or release lefty; Logan, Knebel progressing
MLB.com @AdamMcCalvy

CHICAGO -- The Brewers have reached decision time with veteran left-hander Wade Miley.

Miley, who was on the cusp of a spot in Milwaukee's Opening Day rotation before sustaining a groin injury in the final week of Spring Training, struck out 11 batters while allowing two hits in six scoreless innings for Double-A Biloxi on Friday night. It was a sparkling finale of Miley's three-start rehab assignment.

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CHICAGO -- The Brewers have reached decision time with veteran left-hander Wade Miley.

Miley, who was on the cusp of a spot in Milwaukee's Opening Day rotation before sustaining a groin injury in the final week of Spring Training, struck out 11 batters while allowing two hits in six scoreless innings for Double-A Biloxi on Friday night. It was a sparkling finale of Miley's three-start rehab assignment.

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Now, the Brewers have two days to add Miley to the Major League roster or offer him his release so he can sign elsewhere.

"We've got a decision to make," Brewers GM David Stearns said. "We're going to talk about it over the next 24-48 hours, and we'll go from there. I think we've got a good understanding of what the timeframe is.

"Look, Wade did his job. He's healthy and pitching well. We've also got some guys here who are pitching pretty well. So we need to talk through all of that. The good news is our starting group has come through very nicely. Having difficult decisions like this is a good thing."

The Brewers have two starting pitchers who could be optioned to Triple-A or moved to the bullpen if they opt to make room for Miley. But Brent Suter pitched well against the Cubs on Friday -- and the Brewers' evaluators believe he's been better than his 5.34 ERA -- and Junior Guerra carried a 0.56 ERA into his fourth start of the season on Saturday.

Video: MIL@CHC: Suter strikes out Almora swinging

In the bullpen, the Brewers could free a roster spot by optioning Brandon Woodruff back to the Minors, but left-hander Boone Logan also made a rehab appearance for Biloxi on Friday and is nearing his return from a triceps injury, and All-Star closer Corey Knebel (hamstring) could be less than a week from beginning his own assignment. Spots are tight.

"[Miley] is making us make a tough decision," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "We have starters pitching well. That makes it a tough decision. We have a pitching staff, pitching well. We have a bunch of guys pitching really well."

Momentum for Logan, Knebel
Before Logan began a rehab assignment on Friday likely to span 3-4 outings, Knebel tested his left hamstring at Wrigley Field in the latest of a series of bullpen sessions. It might be his last. Knebel expects to face hitters on Monday in Cincinnati before departing for a Minor League assignment, which would put him back in the Brewers' bullpen by the middle of May.

Stearns, however, suggested caution.

"I know he's very excited about where he is right now," Stearns said. "I think Corey would like one more good mound session and then a rehab -- we'll see how he feels after that mound session and see what our medical staff says and go from there. You guys hear me say it all the time, but the key is, when these guys get back, we want them to be healthy. We don't want setbacks. And with a hamstring injury, we're going to be pretty cautious."

Video: Counsell and Stearns on Knebel's timetable

Said Knebel: "I feel good, that's the main thing. I definitely want to be 100 percent before I come back."

Logan threw nine pitches, seven strikes, while working around a hit in his scoreless inning for Biloxi.

"He said he felt good after the outing. First time out on a rehab assignment, that's what you're looking for," Stearns said.

Logan and Knebel will each have to pass a series of tests before making it back to the big league bullpen. Recovering from the first outing is an important Step 1, Stearns said. Then they will have to recover from back-to-back outings. Particularly in Logan's case, the Brewers may want to see a multi-inning appearance.

Ortiz hits Double-A DL
Right-hander Luis Ortiz, the Brewers' No. 4 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, was placed on Double-A Biloxi's disabled list Saturday with tightness in his left hamstring. Farm director Tom Flanagan said the injury is on the minor side, but Ortiz was scheduled to start Saturday night and the team needed the roster spot for a pitcher.

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

Milwaukee Brewers, Wade Miley