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Hader adjusting well to bullpen transition

Brewers' top pitching prospect makes first Miller Park appearance Tuesday
MLB.com @AdamMcCalvy

MILWAUKEE -- Top Brewers pitching prospect Josh Hader worked two scoreless, hitless innings in his Miller Park debut for a historical footnote to a 7-3 loss to the Pirates on Tuesday.

In his fourth scoreless appearance since a promotion from Triple-A Colorado Springs, Hader -- the Brewers' No. 3 overall prospect according to MLBPipeline.com -- walked a batter, hit another, struck out two and reached 96.6 mph with his fastball, according to Statcast™. Hader's first batter of the night, Adam Frazier, became his first strikeout victim in front of the home fans.

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MILWAUKEE -- Top Brewers pitching prospect Josh Hader worked two scoreless, hitless innings in his Miller Park debut for a historical footnote to a 7-3 loss to the Pirates on Tuesday.

In his fourth scoreless appearance since a promotion from Triple-A Colorado Springs, Hader -- the Brewers' No. 3 overall prospect according to MLBPipeline.com -- walked a batter, hit another, struck out two and reached 96.6 mph with his fastball, according to Statcast™. Hader's first batter of the night, Adam Frazier, became his first strikeout victim in front of the home fans.

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"It's not bad," Hader said of transitioning to relief work after starting in the Minors. "My job is to get outs when I come into the ballgame. It's no different starting or relieving."

That is true, but not the full story. The Brewers have been careful to ease Hader into his new role, mindful that it will take time to develop a pattern of usage for a player accustomed to an every-five-day schedule.

Hader nearly made his home debut two days earlier, on Sunday against the Padres. He was warming in the bullpen three different times while Jimmy Nelson pitched the final innings of his complete-game win.

"I had him up in the ninth inning the other day, [so] it's not the situation, it's just him transitioning and the usage of his arm," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "How it's going to feel and making sure he bounces back OK are still the main things we're looking at right now.

"That takes some time, and that's OK. We'll find innings for him. He's doing a nice job. Unfortunately, he's pitching well and he'd like it to be in some bigger spots, but that's just how it's working right now."

Hader said he has been happy with the way his arm has recovered after outings this season. He struck out 51 batters in 52 innings and held opponents to a .253 average in 12 starts amid the tough pitching conditions presented when Colorado Springs plays at home. The Brewers promoted him on June 9 and have used Hader for 5 1/3 innings over the team's 12 games since then.

"We're getting feedback from him," Counsell said. "We take his feedback and try to slowly get him into how it's going to work down there and being efficient with the number of throws you're making in pregame, warming up and things like that. We're using his feedback, certainly, as part of this plan."

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

Milwaukee Brewers, Josh Hader