Brewers tab Fiers to face Giants on short rest
Right-hander moved up to fill Peralta's rotation slot in series finale
MILWAUKEE -- Brewers manager Craig Counsell on Tuesday unveiled Step 1 of a plan to replace injured starting pitcher Wily Peralta, announcing Mike Fiers would pitch against the Giants on Wednesday afternoon on three days' rest.
The next challenge is longer-term in nature: filling a void in the starting rotation for the next four to six weeks while Peralta recovers from a strained left oblique. Counsell indicated the Brewers planned to call up a pitcher from the Minor Leagues in the coming days.
"It gives us some time," said Counsell, indicating a decision could come as soon as Wednesday.
An off-day Thursday contributed to the Brewers' choice of Fiers on short rest over long man Michael Blazek, who has performed admirably in relief. Because of the open date, Jimmy Nelson can start Friday and Kyle Lohse on Saturday on regular rest. Sunday would be Matt Garza's scheduled day to start, but the Brewers are considering using the Minor League callup that day to give Garza an extra day of rest.
Options at Triple-A Colorado Springs include Taylor Jungmann (1-2, 6.90 ERA), who began Spring Training sixth on the Brewers' starting-pitching depth chart, Tyler Thornburg (0-2, 4.45 ERA in six starts since the Brewers demoted him from the big league bullpen to start in the Minors) and Tyler Cravy (4-4, 4.61 ERA). Cravy is not currently on the 40-man roster, but the Brewers have an opening.
As for passing over Blazek for the starting assignment, Counsell said, "It just keeps everybody -- we thought Mike [Fiers] could give us better length in the game, and Mike [Blazek] will obviously be available to pitch. He might throw a bunch of innings tomorrow, but he's available today as well. Just more flexibility if I want to use him."
Fiers has surrendered two earned runs in each of his last three starts. He was limited to five innings against the Braves on Saturday because an offensive opportunity in the top of the sixth promoted Counsell to call for a pinch-hitter.
In discussing what will be his first time with short rest between starts, Fiers revealed he was ill that afternoon in Atlanta with swollen tonsils and body aches. He was feeling better as of Tuesday.
"I don't think it's a big deal for me," he said. "I didn't really throw as many pitches as I usually do [86 against the Braves]. I don't think it's any more stressful than a regular start. I'm fine with it. The team needs me to go and I'll be ready to go."
Said Counsell: "I think it's the right choice. It sets up our bullpen well to help him out."