Jungmann dazzles with 3 hitless innings

Young right-hander could be in mix for Opening Day nod

Jungmann dazzles with 3 hitless innings

PHOENIX -- With three weeks to go in Spring Training, Brewers manager Craig Counsell is still keeping his Opening Day starter close to the vest. The cone of silence has even been lowered over the makeup of the rotation.

Asked after Saturday's 7-6 victory over the Rockies where right-hander Taylor Jungmann fit in, Counsell said: "He's in the rotation."

Asked again to be more explicit, Counsell reiterated: "He's in the rotation. That's twice you tried."

There's always Sunday to make it a trifecta.

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Jungmann started Saturday's slugfest by walking Gerardo Parra on four pitches and then settled down to work three innings of hitless, shutout ball with four strikeouts.

While the start for the April 4 opener at home against the Giants will probably go to a veteran like Matt Garza, the 26-year-old Jungmann ought to warrant some consideration. The 12th overall pick in the 2011 Draft out of the University of Texas, Jungmann had a 9-8 rookie season last year with a 3.77 ERA and 1.28 WHIP.

He's 6-foot-6, has a hard fastball and on Saturday mixed in about a half-dozen changeups. Needless to say, he's an intimidating presence on the mound.

Lucroy on Jungmann, progress

"It started a little rough, walking the guy on four pitches," Jungmann said about his second spring start. "I got a couple of 3-2 counts. I'm trying to minimize going deep into those counts this year, try to get deeper into games. Things like that. The first two innings went pretty well. I was just trying to get my mechanics right.

"In the third, I started mixing in changeups, which has been my emphasis during the offseason. I threw some good ones. It's still a work in progress, obviously. I'm happy with the way I threw."

So was Counsell, who was less enamored by his bullpen blowing the lead three times, allowing all six Colorado runs.

"It really was [a nice outing by Jungmann]," Counsell said. "After the first batter he was really, really good. It took him four pitches to get going. Both breaking pitches were really on today. Those will play, for sure."

Where it will play in the rotation is still up to Counsell to divulge.

Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.