Brewers manager Ron Roenicke admitted today that Shaun Marcum is running out of time to recover from his shoulder inflammation by Opening Day, telling Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that “the days are getting short.”
Marcum threw a bullpen session today and reported no problems, so he’ll move on to throwing live batting practice Sunday.
Roenicke pointed to Marco Estrada as the likely fill-in if the Brewers need a replacement starter for the first turn through the rotation, although it’s possible they may go with Marcum on a shortened pitch count if the shoulder problems are no longer an issue.
Any disabled list stint can be backdated, so Marcum wouldn’t necessarily have to miss more than one start even if he doesn’t start the season on the active roster. However, he’s had plenty of previous arm problems and faded badly down the stretch last year, so Marcum’s status is definitely a big worry.
Brewers starter Gio González was forced to exit his NLCS Game 4 start against the Dodgers in the second inning after twisting his left ankle attempting to field a comebacker hit by Yasiel Puig. González leaped, deflected the ball and twisted his ankle landing, then went after the ball but Puig reached base easily.
The Brewers’ trainer and manager Craig Counsell came out to the mound to observe González throwing some practice pitches. He was clearly in pain but was allowed to stay in. He threw one pitch to Austin Barnes and very visibly grimaced after completing his wind-up. Counsell came back out to the mound and took a visibly upset González out of the game. Freddy Peralta came in relief to finish out the at-bat. González probably shouldn’t have been allowed to stay in the game in the first place, but sometimes a player’s competitiveness is enough to convince a manager and a trainer.
Upon entering, Peralta issued a walk to Austin Barnes, then got the first out when Rich Hill laid down a mediocre bunt, allowing Peralta to get the lead runner at third base. Peralta struck out Chris Taylor and walked Justin Turner to load the bases with two outs. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts opted to pinch-hit for David Freese with Max Muncy, who struck out looking. Peralta was somehow able to slither out of the jam.
Gonzalez pitched two innings in NLCS Game 1 on Friday. He was quite good after joining the Brewers in a late-August trade with the Nationals, compiling a 2.13 regular season ERA in five starts with his new club. The Brewers will likely provide an update on his status after Tuesday night’s game.