GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Barring a move from outside the organization, the Milwaukee Brewers' five-man starting rotation is set for the beginning of the 2013 season.
The starters are currently lined up in this order: Yovani Gallardo, Marco Estrada, Wily Peralta, Chris Narveson and Mike Fiers. Mark Rogers originally was in the mix but was moved back to throwing bullpen sessions after struggling with his command and velocity.
"(Pitching coach) Rick (Kranitz) was happy with the (first bullpen session) and I think he wanted him to throw another one," said manager Ron Roenicke, who indicated he expects Rogers to get back to game action at some point.
"Where he is in pitch counts, it's going to be tough to be extended out to 90 pitches (to be a starter). I don't want to ever say it's not going to happen, but it's tougher for him now."
Rogers is out of minor-league options, meaning he would have to clear waivers to be assigned to the minors. One alternative is to place him in a long-relief role in the bullpen with hopes that he gets back on track there.
While Gallardo and Estrada were put back on schedule to be the Nos. 1 and 2 starters after pitching for Mexico in the World Baseball Classic, the other three pitchers have yet to find grooves. Peralta is 1-0 with a 6.23 earned run average in two outings (his last appearance was in a minor-league game); Narveson is 1-1 with a 5.40 ERA in three games; and Fiers -- the best of that trio thus far -- is 2-0 with a 4.41 ERA in five games.
The Brewers knew they were taking a calculated gamble by committing to some inexperienced pitchers, and Roenicke admitted he'd like to see more consistency from his starters before camp ends in less than two weeks.
"It's not always just what we have here," said Roenicke, noting that Tyler Thornburg and Johnny Hellweg are getting regular work in the minor-league camp and Hiram Burgos is still with Puerto Rico in the WBC.
"I would like the young starters we have going into the season to have one or two good games. I think these next couple of games for them are important."
General manager Doug Melvin said he didn't expect to search for another starting pitcher from outside the organization.
"In spring training, you just look to get guys healthy," said Melvin. "You rely mostly on what they did last year unless they have a complete, off-the-table performance. It's just getting ready.
"There's always a chance (of a move) but not many teams give up players in spring training. The worst thing is having injuries early in the year because you can't find replacements. Teams aren't willing to move players on their club unless you make a big, dramatic move."
The Los Angeles Dodgers supposedly had pitching to trade before injuries struck, and Melvin said, "Right now, they haven't called us."
LALLI MAKING IMPRESSION: Blake Lalli had another big day at the plate (2 for 3, RBI double) Monday in a 4-2 loss to Cleveland, and Roenicke said afterward he has a chance to make the roster as a backup first baseman and third catcher. Those are the only two positions Lalli plays but he is batting .387 this spring with a home run and seven runs batted in.
"Maybe," Roenicke said of Lalli's chances. "He's impressing a lot of people. Not just with what he's doing, but this guy is really sharp. He's going to call a great game if we have him behind the plate. He's a really smart guy. And he gives you a nice at-bat."
One scenario in which Lalli would make the club is if he and Alex Gonzalez are the extra infielders. The left-handed hitting Lalli could platoon at first with Gonzalez, who could back up at the other three infield spots. Whether another utility infielder would be kept remains to be seen.
"When 'Maldy' (Martin Maldonado) and 'Luc' (Jonathan Lucroy) are both swinging the bat, I think that's a nice advantage," said Roenicke. "We need to get Maldy back (from the WBC) and swinging like he did last year. If (Lalli) is on the roster, it would be pretty nice to have a third catcher. And we could use whoever isn't catching that night as a pinch hitter. It could work."
STRETCHING THEIR ARMS: Reliever Burke Badenhop pitched three innings in a Class AAA game Sunday, and reliever Tom Gorzelanny went 2 1/3 innings against Cleveland as Roenicke tries to stretch out the arms of pitchers who might work multiple innings out of the bullpen.
"It helps as you go through a season and a starting pitcher sleeps on a bad pillow and his neck is sore and he can't make a start," said Roenicke. "You have to scramble and try to figure out what you're going to do. It's nice to have guys like that."
Badenhop said he tired a bit in his third inning against Kansas City's Class AAA club but overall was pleased with his outing.
"There's plenty of time for some two-inning stints," said Badenhop. "The spot might arise for three innings but hopefully that doesn't become the norm. I didn't go three innings last year, so I was a little rusty yesterday.
"The first two innings were really good. I punched out four and threw 22 pitches. The third inning was bad.
"I was a little tired; you could see it with my pitches. The first two innings, they were crisp. I wasn't really finishing things in the third inning. I can make a mental note of that."
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