MILWAUKEE -- Right-hander Shaun Marcum, struggling in September for the second straight season, will remain in the rotation, Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said Sunday."As far as I'm concerned right now, yes," Roenicke said. "We haven't even talked otherwise." Marcum has pitched into the sixth inning once in five starts since he returned from a two-month stint on the disabled list with elbow and shoulder discomfort. He cited circumstances in explaining Friday's four-inning stint; the Mets scored their three fourth-inning runs on a squeeze bunt and two well-placed run-scoring hits that just eluded Brewers defenders, and the club removed Marcum in favor of a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the inning and were rewarded with five runs and the lead. "I feel great," Marcum said after the team's 9-6 win. "Today was probably the best I've felt [since] prior to the injury. The ball was coming out really well today." But Marcum is 0-1 with a 5.70 ERA and a .323 opponents' batting average since coming off the DL. Roenicke noted a drop in velocity over the first four starts, though he was encouraged by an uptick on Saturday. Marcum's pace has also been uncharacteristically slow, Roenicke said, leading the manager to believe, "There's a lot of thinking going on." "He's not pitching like we hoped he would, like he hoped he would," Roenicke said. "I know what he's like when he's right. The encouraging thing yesterday -- his velocity was back. I was hoping that that, along with command, that he would get by and give us those innings he usually does. And his command wasn't good." Last year, after opening September with a seven-inning gem against the Astros, Marcum went 1-3 with a 6.66 ERA in his final four regular season starts, then went 0-3 with a 14.90 ERA in three postseason games. Asked whether Marcum's elbow was OK, Roenicke said, "I don't know if it's elbow or shoulder, but as far as I know, he's fine." The Brewers also have no plans to remove rookie right-hander Mike Fiers, Roenicke said. Club officials have been monitoring Fiers' innings.
Crew's top prospects fill instructional program
MILWAUKEE -- For two prime Brewers prospects, the baseball season is just getting started.Among the high-profile players working in the team's fall instructional program are outfielder Victor Roache, a first-round Draft pick in June when he was still recovering from an injury, and shortstop Orlando Arcia, who fractured an ankle sliding into second base in an extended Spring Training game. Both have been cleared for games and will play extensively when the instructional league schedule begins Tuesday. "They need game time," farm director Reid Nichols said. Brewers officials have seen Arcia, who played for the club's Dominican Summer League affiliate in 2011, but have yet to really get their hands on Roache, a power hitter who belted 30 home runs for Georgia Southern University in 2011 but suffered a major left arm injury diving for a ball in the outfield in February. He had six screws and a metal plate installed to repair a broken bone, and two pins to fix a dislocated wrist. "We're anxious to see him because he's been given the full clearance, and I know he's excited," amateur scouting director Bruce Seid said. "I know he's been champing at the bit for a while to get out there, and he's been great about doing every single thing that ask of him. To this point, every evaluation from our medical staff has been right on." Nichols runs the Brewers' fall program at Maryvale Baseball Park with assistant player development director Tony Diggs and a slew of roving Minor League coordinators, including field and catching coordinator Charlie Greene. Ned Yost IV, the son of the former Brewers manager who is now a coach at advanced Class A Brevard County, will manage the team. Thirty-eight players were on the initial roster, including the Brewers' first nine selections from the 2012 First-Year Player Draft -- from top pick Clint Coulter through seventh-rounder David Otterman, a left-handed pitcher. Coulter will work extensively with Greene on catching fundamentals. The Brewers remain committed to developing him at that position, Nichols said. "He came a long way this year," he said. "To ask a high school guy who played 14 games to step into a pro program and handle college pitchers is a tall order for him. He's really improved. He's going to be a good player." The instructional league will mark a return to action for supplemental first-round pick Mitch Haniger, who missed much of the season with a knee injury but is close to being cleared to play. Also on the roster are 2011 second-round pick Jorge Lopez, a right-hander, and international acquisition Raul Mondesi Jr., an outfielder who played at rookie-level Helena in 2012. "We prepare them ahead of time that, you're coming here to work," Nichols said. "So what we do is we give them one day that's a full work day, then the next that's a game day. So when they know it's their day to work, they can leave everything out there, don't save anything for the game." Work begins as early as 7:30 a.m. for some players, and the games are six days a week in the early afternoon, from Tuesday against the Padres through Oct. 4-5 against a team from Mexico. There is also an advanced instructional league, in which the Brewers and Mariners share a club. It features more advanced prospects like pitchers Drew Gagnon and David Goforth, who stay ready in case the Brewers need a replacement for the Arizona Fall League. If that's not enough baseball, there is another instructional league in the Dominican Republic that runs into December. The Brewers may ask Roache and Arcia to head south to continue playing catch-up.
Hart doubtful for Tuesday return to Brewers
MILWAUKEE -- An unsuccessful baserunning session on Sunday morning cast serious doubt on outfielder Corey Hart's hope of returning to the Brewers' starting lineup by Tuesday in Pittsburgh.Hart missed a sixth consecutive start on Sunday with a left foot injury. He has a partial tear of the plantar fascia, the connective tissue that runs across the bottom of the foot. "I'm definitely aiming for Tuesday, I just wish it would have felt better today than it did," Hart said. "It's a little frustrating. Today was the first day I tried to run the bases, and it didn't go as planned." Running in a straight line was fine, but the trouble came when Hart ran along the arc along the outer edge of the infield dirt. Travis Ishikawa started in Hart's place again on Sunday and "has been awesome" while filling in, Hart said. He pondering whether to force a return to the lineup or whether the team is better with Ishikawa and Taylor Green splitting first-base duty. "It's tough, because I want to play," Hart said. "I've played through a lot of injuries, but it's one of those things where if I'm on first, I'm not going to be able to score on a double. If I'm on second, it's going to be iffy to score on anything. Is it worth it to these guys? I feel like I wouldn't be able to do everything I need to do." The last resort, Hart said, is an anti-inflammatory injection. The club's medical officials on Sunday were mulling the pros and cons of that step. The Brewers miss Hart in the lineup, where he has provided protection all season for cleanup hitter Aramis Ramirez. Manager Ron Roenicke has tried a number of different permutations with Hart out, and started Ishikawa in the five-hole on Sunday. Asked about the possibility Hart might not be able to play the rest of this season, Roenicke said, "That's always a possibility." "I think we're still going to shoot for Tuesday, but I don't know that that's probably a possibility," Roenicke said. "I don't know. In two days, I don't know." Roenicke added: "Maybe we'll be surprised. Maybe he'll come out Tuesday and be OK."