MILWAUKEE -- Losing left-hander Brent Suter to a season-ending elbow injury was a blow to the Brewers' rotation depth. But it did not necessarily mean team officials will change the way they look at pitchers ahead of the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.More likely, the Brewers will continue to limit
MILWAUKEE -- Losing left-hander Brent Suter to a season-ending elbow injury was a blow to the Brewers' rotation depth. But it did not necessarily mean team officials will change the way they look at pitchers ahead of the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.
More likely, the Brewers will continue to limit their interest on the starters to "impact" arms. It was a philosophy expressed by general manager David Stearns last month, when he told reporters, "For us to go out and trade some young talent to acquire a starting pitcher, it's not going to be just to add to that depth; it's going to be a guy who we think can help lead the rotation."
The Brewers have scouted Rays right-hander Chris Archer's recent starts. Among other pitchers reportedly being shopped in trades, the Rangers' Cole Hamels and the Mets' Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard could fit the definition of "impact," though Hamels has the highest ERA and WHIP of his career, and it's unclear where the Mets stand on trading deGrom or Syndergaard.
Archer has missed time this season with an abdominal strain, but he is an attractive target because he is 29 and under club control through 2021 for less than $30 million.
The Brewers began the second half with a six-man rotation, so in the short term they could simply proceed with the five remaining healthy arms: Jhoulys Chacin, who started Monday against the Nationals, followed by Junior Guerra, Freddy Peralta, Wade Miley and Chase Anderson.
Zach Davies, meanwhile, tested his injured back in a simulated game on Monday at Miller Park and is scheduled for the first of three Minor League rehab starts on Thursday for Class A Wisconsin in Peoria, Ill.
The Brewers' depth beyond that is right-hander Brandon Woodruff, who has pitched as a starter and reliever this season. Jimmy Nelson, Milwaukee's top starter a year ago, has not been ruled out this season, but he remains in a throwing program after right shoulder surgery and would be a late-season addition at best.
Another potential rotation option, Corbin Burnes, is currently in the Brewers' bullpen, and the plan is to keep him there, Stearns said.
With their committee approach to starting pitching, the Brewers ranked 10th in the Majors with a 3.83 rotation ERA through Sunday. Thanks to a solid bullpen, that put them sixth in the Majors with a 3.70 team ERA.
"We've performed well, I really think so," manager Craig Counsell said. "[Saturday and Sunday] are the first time I can remember two consecutive days of having a short start and covering significant innings out of the bullpen. That's been a large reason why we've been able to operate the bullpen like we have, because our starters have been very consistent giving us innings."
• Davies threw about 30 pitches to hitters on Monday afternoon and reported no recurrence of the back issues that caused a setback in his last comeback from a shoulder injury. After pitching for Wisconsin on Thursday, the plan calls for Davies to make a pair of starts for Triple-A Colorado Springs.
Asked whether he would approach this rehab assignment any differently, Davies said, "From a health perspective, no. From a baseball perspective, it's more ramped up. It's like, you've got to get ready, because we have a month and a half left once I get ready. It's got to be full go from there if I'm going to try to help out the team any way I can."
• All-Star slugger Jesus Aguilar missed a second straight start Monday because of tightness in his hamstrings, but he took "a big jump," according to Counsell, from the day before.
• First baseman/outfielder Eric Thames said he expects to return from a left hamstring injury Tuesday, the first day he's eligible to be reinstated from the 10-day disabled list. But Counsell said the club would be cautious.
"I would compare this to Lorenzo [Cain's] situation when he was coming back [from a groin injury]," Counsell said. "We'll get through workouts, make sure we're good. We're really going in the right direction, and it's looking good, but whether it's [Tuesday] or the next day or the first day on the road trip, we're in that area, for sure."
Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook.