Inbox: When will Braun be ready to return?

Beat reporter Adam McCalvy answers Brewers' fans questions

June 18th, 2017

MILWAUKEE -- Happy Father's Day to Bob McCalvy and the rest of the dads out there. On behalf of misbehaved children everywhere, thank you for all of those hours playing catch in the backyard.

Let's celebrate by dipping into our mailbag:

There was news on that front Sunday morning from Brewers manager Craig Counsell, who had hoped to have a Minor League rehab assignment on the books for as soon as this weekend. That will not happen.

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"I think where we're at is we've been on the field for a week, and Ryan's got to have confidence in it to take the next step, and we're just not quite there yet," Counsell said. "We're still hopeful that this week we take that final step. I think Ryan is still hopeful about that, but you have to clear that last hurdle.

"There's no setback at all. I just think we have to clear that step where he feels like he can go at full steam."

Braun has been nursing a left calf injury since the start of May. Twice he tried coming back from it, only to land on the 10-day disabled list. His current DL stint began May 26.

Give the Brewers' other hitters some credit for covering Braun's absence. The team reached 100 home runs in game No. 70 on Saturday, the fastest a Brewers club has reached the century mark in franchise history. The 1980 and '82 Brewers shared the previous mark, at 72 games.

With closer and setup man sharing the Major League lead for appearances and "on the edge" of an acceptable workload, according to Counsell, the Brewers do need help in the middle of their bullpen, as I wrote in the wake of Saturday's extra-inning loss to the Padres. The trouble is, GM David Stearns has already parted ways with relievers , , , Tommy Milone, and $5.25 million closer for performance reasons, so it is not as if the Minor Leagues are brimming with options if Stearns chooses to add a player like or to that list.

, who must lead the organization in frustration by now, would probably be in the Majors already were he not on Triple-A Colorado Springs' disabled list with an oblique injury. From what I hear, he's not close to returning. is not on the 40-man roster anymore, but he could pitch his way into the mix if he could lower his 5.1 walks per nine innings and improve his rate of 1.67 strikeouts per walk. Left-hander (remember him?) has pitched exclusively in relief this year, has a 1.15 WHIP at Triple-A and had not surrendered an earned run in 10 straight appearances as of Sunday morning.

looks like the next to get the call. He was just up with the team as the 26th man for last week's doubleheader in St. Louis, but the Brewers confirmed Sunday that they can recall him at any time, regardless of the usual 10-day rule that applies to players optioned out.

Here's one name from outside the organization who just became available: Tom Wilhelmsen. A seventh-round Draft pick of the Brewers in 2002, he was suspended in Milwaukee's Minor League chain and spent four years out of baseball entirely before making a comeback with the Mariners. Wilhelmsen made it to the Majors in 2011 and was very effective for four straight seasons from 2012-15, but struggled last season, particularly after a trade to Texas, and has already been let go by the Mariners and D-backs this year.

If the Brewers want to take a flier, Wilhelmsen is available and still averaging better than 95 mph with his fastball. Then again, Peralta still throws hard, too, so perhaps it is a better idea to stick with him a bit longer to see if he can make this transition from starting to relief.

Easy: Matt Garza and wife Serina have six children, including twins born in September 2015. Garza missed a Father's Day start by a mere day; he pitches Monday's series opener against the Pirates.