Brewers bump Garza from slated Sunday start

Righty will rest as team continues to experiment with 'creative rotation'

Brewers bump Garza from slated Sunday start

MILWAUKEE -- Struggling starting pitcher Matt Garza is out of the Brewers' rotation, but only for now.

Manager Craig Counsell said Garza will start at some point in September, but won't pitch as scheduled against the Nationals on Sunday at Miller Park. The plan for that day is to be determined, Counsell said, and the same can be said for the rest of the month as the Brewers continue to consider a creative deployment of their pitching resources down the stretch.

"This isn't like 'Craig's Crazy Science Experiment,'" Counsell said. "We're trying to figure out the best way to utilize our guys."

Three pitchers will remain on a regular schedule: Zach Davies, who started Thursday's series opener against the Nationals, Jimmy Nelson and Chase Anderson. But the other games could be fluid, beginning with rookie Brandon Woodruff's return to the Major Leagues on Saturday, and continuing with Garza's open spot on Sunday.

It's an idea Counsell has been mulling over since at least January, when he first raised the idea of a creative rotation.

"Don't worry about who is starting necessarily," Counsell said. "We're trying to get 27 outs in those games. I use the phrase 'out-getters' that you guys don't like, but how do we get 27 outs? That's really what we are concerned about, the best way to get 27 outs. There are going to be some games where the lines might be blurred between the starter and reliever a little bit. There's a guy that starts the game that might not get the most outs in the game."

He added, "You guys have to print out who is starting. That's what is playing with your computers and forecasts. But a starter has to get outs. That's what is important. In September, we have a different roster. We have access to more guys. If there are ways to take advantage of that, we're going to take advantage of that. I think that's the right thing to do."

Internal candidates to start Sunday include left-hander Brent Suter, who breezed through three innings for Class A Wisconsin on Wednesday in a one-game rehab assignment and will be among the team's September call-ups on Friday. Or, it could be another pitcher from the Minors, where Junior Guerra and Taylor Jungmann are among the arms on the 40-man roster who have pitched well of late.

Counsell also mentioned as a factor "the deadline," meaning Thursday's deadline to acquire players in trades and have them eligible for postseason play. But the Brewers had not made any deals as of game time Thursday.

Last call
• Catcher Manny Pina is still experiencing pain in his right hip and is likely to undergo additional testing on Friday, Counsell said. Pina exited Tuesday's game against the Cardinals after feeling a "pinch" in his right hip flexor while pouncing on a pitch in the dirt.

"He's improving a little bit and able to play in an emergency, but we're concerned enough where we want to make sure he is all right," Counsell said.

• Cather Jett Bandy began a rehab assignment with Wisconsin on Thursday as the team's designated hitter. The other injured Brewers catcher, Andrew Susac, played behind the plate and will be activated from the DL on Friday.

Isan Diaz, the organization's No. 6 overall prospect according to MLBPipeline.com and the Brewers' 2016 Minor League Player of the Year, saw his season end Wednesday when he underwent surgery for a fractured hamate bone in his right hand. The Brewers expect Diaz to be fully recovered in 6-8 weeks. Diaz hit .222/.334/.376 with 13 home runs in 383 at-bats for Class A Advanced Carolina this season.

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.