Thornburg's stay with Crew could be brief

Thornburg's stay with Crew could be brief

Thornburg's stay with Crew could be brief
MILWAUKEE -- Brewers pitching prospect Tyler Thornburg walked off the Miller Park mound a frustrated right-hander on Tuesday night, having lost the chance to win his Major League debut because of back-to-back-to-back Blue Jays home runs.

Now the question is, how long will Thornburg will have to wait to take a Major League mound again. It might be a while.

Even with right-hander Shaun Marcum's status uncertain as he receives treatment for a tight right elbow, an off-day on Thursday and Marco Estrada's pending return from the disabled list on June 26 could allow the Brewers to send the 23-year-old Thornburg back to the Minors for more seasoning.

If that's the case, then he will have some time to think about his debut, an outing that was outstanding for five innings and then fell apart in the sixth, when Thornburg surrendered homers to Colby Rasmus, Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion, all on fastballs. Just like that, a 4-2 lead had become a 5-4 deficit.

Thornburg wound up with a no-decision in the Brewers' 10-9 loss.

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"Not too bad," Thornburg said. "Seven hits and I didn't walk anyone. Just four big hits. That was the big key."

Those were home runs to Brett Lawrie in the third inning, plus the trio in the sixth.

Thornburg, who had not pitched in 10 days because of a suspension for brawling and a decision by Brewers officials to control his innings before a promotion to Triple-A, admitted he was getting tired in the sixth.

"There's still no reason I should leave balls up like that," Thornburg said. "I'll try to keep the good things in mind. That last inning, I'll wash out as much as possible."

Before he was called upon to pitch in Marcum's place, Thornburg was slated to pitch in the Double-A Southern League All-Star Game on Tuesday night and then drive to Nashville for a promotion to the Brewers' top affiliate.

Now, Thornburg said he had "no idea" what his immediate future holds. Brewers manager Ron Roenicke offered no further clues.

"[Marcum] is going to play catch here in the next few days, and we'll see where we are," Roenicke said. "We'll see how fast he comes along."

The Brewers will start Zack Greinke, Randy Wolf and Mike Fiers in their weekend series against the White Sox in Chicago, followed by Yovani Gallardo, Estrada and Greinke in Cincinnati.

The key to that plan is Estrada making it back to the Majors without a setback. He is scheduled for his second Triple-A rehab start on Thursday.

"Every time we plot something out, something happens to change it," Roenicke said.