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Back on mound, Guerra striding toward return

Out with calf strain since Opening Day start, Brewers righty to toss live BP in next step
MLB.com @AdamMcCalvy

MILWAUKEE -- Nearing the end of his fourth week on the disabled list, Brewers Opening Day starter Junior Guerra is back on the mound and making progress toward a return to the active roster.

Guerra, who strained his right calf running to first base in the third inning of the Brewers' Opening Day loss to the Rockies, threw 30 pitches off the bullpen mound Wednesday and is scheduled to throw another 45 or so pitches on Saturday before Milwaukee plays the Braves at Miller Park. If that goes well, he said he expects to face hitters in a pair of live batting practice sessions during the team's next road trip to St. Louis and Pittsburgh.

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MILWAUKEE -- Nearing the end of his fourth week on the disabled list, Brewers Opening Day starter Junior Guerra is back on the mound and making progress toward a return to the active roster.

Guerra, who strained his right calf running to first base in the third inning of the Brewers' Opening Day loss to the Rockies, threw 30 pitches off the bullpen mound Wednesday and is scheduled to throw another 45 or so pitches on Saturday before Milwaukee plays the Braves at Miller Park. If that goes well, he said he expects to face hitters in a pair of live batting practice sessions during the team's next road trip to St. Louis and Pittsburgh.

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If all of those sessions go off without a setback, Guerra would be cleared for a Minor League rehabilitation assignment.

Video: COL@MIL: Guerra fans Gonzalez in 1st

"Obviously, it's very hard, very frustrating [to be sidelined]," Guerra said. "You just have to trust the process and go by it. That way I can come back 100 percent and remain that way all year."

Monday will mark four weeks since his injury.

"It's all been positive," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "He keeps taking the next step. As the intensity of what he does increases -- the bullpen intensity, eventually live batting practice -- that's when we can start mapping out the next steps and we can kind of get a firmer date on when we expect him to hopefully be back."

Last call

• Major League home run leader Eric Thames was back in the starting lineup Friday after leaving the Brewers' last game on Wednesday with a tight left hamstring. Thames has played in 16 straight games, starting all but one of them.

Domingo Santana was on the bench a second straight day, but Counsell characterized the decision as less about Santana's slow start (he entered the day batting .169) and more about Hernan Perez's recent hot streak. Perez raised his OPS 333 points during the Brewers' three-game series against the Reds.

"I don't think Domingo is that far away," Counsell said before sitting Santana in favor of Perez. "Unfortunately, there's nothing falling in for him right now. I still think he's close to getting out of it."

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, Junior Guerra