Counsell still mulling rotation plans for weekend

Thornburg, Jungmann candidates to start in place of injured Peralta

Counsell still mulling rotation plans for weekend

MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers still have a decision to make on who will be replacing the injured Wily Peralta in the starting rotation. Although manager Craig Counsell wouldn't commit to a name before Wednesday's series finale against the Giants, that player will be arriving from the organization's Minor Leagues.

"It's the names you guys would speculate," Counsell told reporters, who have included Tyler Thornburg and Taylor Jungmann among potential candidates. "We'll decide, I think, by Friday."

When exactly that announcement will be made, however, relies on other numerous factors.

As of Wednesday, Matt Garza was scheduled to start Sunday's series finale against the D-backs, but that could change. The right-hander has been struggling and his ERA ballooned to 6.00 after allowing five runs in five innings in a 6-3 loss to the Giants on Tuesday. He's given up 19 earned runs over his last 14.2 innings (three starts).

Garza's recent performances have left him frustrated and puzzled as to why he's struggling. So much so that Counsell might consider giving him an extra day to figure things out and make room for the incoming starter to take his spot on Sunday.

"I think Matt is frustrated. He needs to pitch better," Counsell said. "I don't look it like an extra day is going to make him pitch better. The thing we are all trying to figure out -- his fastball yesterday, he got a lot of swings and misses on his fastball. He had a really good fastball yesterday. But it is a mistake, a big inning, a big pitch.

"It's a little self-inflicted. He's going out there and he needs to get better. That's what we're hoping for. That's what we're counting for."

Reliever Will Smith's pending suspension also plays into the timing of a decision. The left-hander will meet with a league official sometime next week about his appeal of the eight-game suspension he received for having an illegal substance on his right forearm while pitching last Thursday in Atlanta.

While Smith and the Brewers aren't sure when that meeting will take place, they are anticipating some kind of suspension.

"He's going to be suspended," Counsell said. "We all anticipate him being suspended."

Brandon Curry is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.