Garza on track to rejoin Brewers this week

In second rehab start, righty gives up 4 earned runs, whiffs 8

Garza on track to rejoin Brewers this week

CHICAGO -- Brewers officials read the weather reports just right when they moved Matt Garza's second rehab start to the Midwest League on Monday, keeping the right-hander on track to return to the team in some capacity later this week.

Garza, coming off a right groin strain, originally was slated to pitch again for Triple-A Colorado Springs at Nashville, but storms in the forecast prompted a move to the Class A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers at Clinton, Iowa. The decision proved wise when the game in Nashville was rained out.

"It was solely because of weather," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "We're hoping that he can really not have any limits tonight [in terms of pitch count]. … He's feeling good, and this is hopefully going to be as normal a night for him as possible."

Garza threw 57 of his 88 pitches for strikes in 5 2/3 innings, allowing five runs (four earned) on nine hits and two walks. He struck out eight.

Counsell has been tight-lipped about the tentative plan for Garza's return to the Major League roster. One possibility is that Garza takes the place of left-hander Tommy Milone, who has a 7.36 ERA in two starts entering his Wednesday assignment against the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

Moving Milone out of the rotation would give the Brewers their only left-hander in the bullpen.

Down under

Brewers relievers spent time Monday investigating their new office at Wrigley Field. The bullpen mounds, previously positioned along the foul lines, are now housed under the outfield bleachers.

The arrangement felt familiar to one visitor. Carlos Torres spent 2011 with the Yomiuri Giants at the Tokyo Dome, where the bullpens are under the stands. When relievers enter the game there, Torres said, they emerge from a door behind home plate.

"The problems come with [challenges] seeing the game," Torres said.

Players watch the game through a set of transparent double doors. On Monday, when the temperature plummeted throughout the afternoon, they welcomed the opportunity to sit inside.

"When I'm warming up, it's going to be a little different," said Jared Hughes. "But there are other fields -- the Mets, even the Yankees -- with indoor bullpens, where you are cut off while you're watching the game. The good thing is it's warm, so it's easier to get loose."

Will he miss having Cubs fans breathing down his neck all night?

"I will, actually," Hughes said. "We did develop friendships with some of the fans. You get to know them because they are season ticketholders. We'll try to get over there to say hi to them before games."

Last call

• Entering Monday's games, the Brewers' top three Minor League affiliates -- Colorado Springs, Double-A Biloxi and advanced Class A Carolina -- each ranked second in their respective leagues in staff ERA. Biloxi had the best mark, at 2.40.

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. 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.