Brewers' Peralta positioned for Opening Day?

Brewers' Peralta positioned for Opening Day?

PHOENIX -- As Cactus League play opened Thursday with split-squad games against the Cubs and Giants, Milwaukee's rotation was taking shape.

Taylor Jungmann started Wednesday's exhibition against the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Chase Anderson started Thursday against the Cubs. Wily Peralta is scheduled to start Friday against Seattle, then Jimmy Nelson on Saturday at Oakland and Matt Garza on Sunday against Cleveland. Much can change over a month of spring games, but for the moment, Peralta appears positioned for his first Opening Day start, followed by Nelson, Garza, Jungmann and Anderson.

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Brewers manager Craig Counsell has yet to share his intention and typically downplays the importance of ordering pitchers for the regular season since the arrangement gets jumbled by off-days in April.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy already announced that Madison Bumgarner will start Opening Day on April 4 at Miller Park.

Peralta would make franchise history as the first pitcher to start on Opening Day who signed with the Brewers as an amateur international free agent and developed in Milwaukee's Minor League system. Teddy Higuera was already in his mid-20s and established in Mexico's professional league when the Brewers purchased him from Ciudad Juarez in 1983.

Milestone for outfielder Flores

It didn't count in the standings, but Wednesday's exhibition between the Brewers and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee was notable for outfielder Ramon Flores. It marked his first game since Flores suffered a severe ankle injury playing the outfield for Seattle's Triple-A team last August.

The Brewers traded for Flores in November, and he completed his rehab one week before Milwaukee's pitchers and catchers reported to camp.

"It was a lot of work to get back from that injury, because it was a serious injury," Flores said. "Right after we finished, I said, 'Thank God I'm healthy.' That's the most important thing here."

Wednesday's game offered a good first test. He singled, walked and scored a run, going from second to home on one play and first to third on another. He manned left field without incident.

"After running the bases, I felt really good," Flores said.

Good first impression 

Counsell's first real look at left-hander Josh Hader was a positive one. Hader, who moved up to No. 4 this week on's list of the top Brewers prospects, and is No. 61 on the list of baseball's top prospects, struck out three -- Jorge Soler and Javier Baez in the fourth inning and Kyle Schwarber in the fifth -- and allowed a bloop single in two scoreless innings against the Cubs on Thursday.

"He doesn't have to do anything more than that," Counsell said. "That's what's great. He came in and he was himself. That's plenty good enough. That was good to see him handle it with kind of a low heartbeat.

"He's still working on getting better at the offspeed pitch, but he knows the fastball is a real weapon for him and he believes in it, he's got conviction in it. For him, it was just how you want that first Major League game to go."

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.