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Brewers pitching adjusting to quick start

MLB.com @AdamMcCalvy

PHOENIX -- The first week of Spring Training games typically provides clues about a team's Opening Day pitching rotation. This year is different in Brewers camp, and you can blame the shortened Spring Training schedule.

Instead of settling into a standard every-fifth-day rotation, Brewers pitching coach Derek Johnson has his staff on a different schedule of shorter, more frequent outings. That explains why rotation candidates Junior Guerra and Brent Suter each pitched against the Indians on Monday, three days after they pitched in the opposite order against the Cubs. And why potential Opening Day starter Chase Anderson will start Tuesday against the Reds, three days after he made his spring debut against the Angels.

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PHOENIX -- The first week of Spring Training games typically provides clues about a team's Opening Day pitching rotation. This year is different in Brewers camp, and you can blame the shortened Spring Training schedule.

Instead of settling into a standard every-fifth-day rotation, Brewers pitching coach Derek Johnson has his staff on a different schedule of shorter, more frequent outings. That explains why rotation candidates Junior Guerra and Brent Suter each pitched against the Indians on Monday, three days after they pitched in the opposite order against the Cubs. And why potential Opening Day starter Chase Anderson will start Tuesday against the Reds, three days after he made his spring debut against the Angels.

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"It's just something that DJ likes to do to get them started," Counsell said. "It's about putting a base under them a little bit, how we start their throwing program. Instead of giving them four days off right away, we start them smaller with [fewer] days off."

Counsell added, "They're going to get to the same place, I promise."

This is in part a function of the calendar. In a typical Spring Training, there are enough days of camp before the first game for pitchers to throw bullpens, plus a series of live batting practice sessions before they face hitters from other teams. This year, the first full-squad workout was only three days before the first game, so the pitchers threw only one live BP.

Brewers Spring Training: Info | Tickets | Schedule

No one is complaining. There are fewer days in Spring Training starting this year, because there are more off days in the regular season.

Asked about the uncertainty, Suter said, "It makes it kind of fun. With that 'swing' role that I do, one of the things I like about it is, each day is kind of a new day. They keep you guessing. They gave us a week plan today, so we know our first week."

That plan calls for Suter to pitch again on Thursday against the D-backs. Ditto for Guerra.

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Neither pitcher is sure what the team has planned for the start of the regular season. Guerra and Suter are in the mix for two openings in the rotation along with Yovani Gallardo, Brandon Woodruff, Aaron Wilkerson and Wade Miley.

"I don't have any idea," said Guerra, Milwaukee's Opening Day starter last year. "It's hard, but it's part of the game. I'm doing my best, and right now, I feel healthy. That's the important thing."

Perez off to promising start

Utility man Hernan Perez delivered a two-run single in the Brewers' 7-6 win over the Indians, giving him four hits, including a pair of doubles, and only one strikeout in his first 10 Cactus League at-bats.

"He had three more good at-bats today," Counsell said. "He's in a good place. He's kind of eliminated some of the leg kick he had last year to try to see the ball a little better. Early results have been good."

Outfielder Keon Broxton also stayed hot with two hits and two runs scored, and catching prospect Jacob Nottingham hit the Brewers' third spring home run.

Video: CLE@MIL: Nottingham belts a solo home run in the 7th

Up next

Anderson will start opposite Reds right-hander Anthony DeSclafani when the National League Central rivals meet for the first time in 2018 on Tuesday at Maryvale Baseball Park. Watch the 2:05 p.m. CT game on MLB.TV.

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

Milwaukee Brewers