Who will fill in for Zack Greinke?

Well, it’s been a question that everyone has been avoiding all spring while just kind of keeping their fingers crossed, but we have been forced to address it. Who is Milwaukee’s sixth starting pitcher? After Zack Greinke will miss a couple starts due to a cracked rib suffered while playing basketball, the Brewers must find someone to fill at least one, maybe two or three, of his turns in the rotation.

Could it be Mark Rogers' time to shine?

Adding further mystery to this issue is the fact that the two leading candidates to be the sixth starter – Manny Parra (sigh) and Mark Rogers – are both yet to throw a pitch in a spring training game. Parra has been suffering from back tightness, and after performing an MRI and not finding anything wrong, it seems like Parra should be able to pitch as soon as the pain goes away. Of course, no one really knows when that will be. Rogers has been plagued by a stiff shoulder, but he has been making progress – he was scheduled to throw live batting practice today and hopes to appear in a game sometime this week. Given Rogers’ injury history, however, you can be assured that the training staff is not going to hurry the recovery of Milwaukee’s newly proclaimed top prospect just so he can make one start in April.

The real question here is, if both Parra and Rogers are healthy, who would you go with? The answer to this question, to me at least, seems easy. Manny Parra has been awful as a starter the last few years. He has been reasonably good as a relief pitcher, so why not keep him there? Parra pitched in relief for the entirety of the second half of last season, and probably hasn’t been stretching out at all this spring, as his role at the start of this season was pretty clearly defined, at least as far as I can tell, as a reliever exclusively. Certainly, we could have Parra go out there and pitch four or five innings and turn it over to the bullpen, and hope he has a game like this one. Personally, however, I would much rather go with Rogers.

Last season, Rogers made two starts as a September call-up, pitching a total of 8 innings while giving up 2 runs and striking out 10 while walking 3. Opposing batters hit .083 against him. Granted, those two games were against a Florida team out of the hunt and a Cincinnati team that had already clinched, but those are not easy numbers to put up. Rogers is being groomed as a starter, therefore would probably be better equipped to make a start than Parra, who may no longer be ready to throw more than 40 pitches or so. Plus, it is good experience for him, and he still has major league options left, so that wouldn’t be a problem. I would be okay with seeing Mark Rogers in Greinke’s place.

Of course, we have to prepare for the fact that neither Parra nor Rogers will be ready to make a start once the season rolls around. Another starting pitcher the Brewers have in camp with a little major league experience is Tim Dillard. Dillard has been awful so far this spring, and despite having 15 major league appearances, he has never started a game in the majors and hasn’t appeared in a game since the 2009 season. Amaury Rivas is one of the Brewers brighter pitching prospects, but he has never pitched above AA. Same goes for Wily Peralta.

Basically, the Brewers are in trouble if Parra or Rogers isn’t ready to go for Greinke’s start. If Rogers isn’t ready, the Brewers might be in trouble anyway. I think that this fan base has probably seen enough of Manny Parra having horrible starts to last quite awhile, so my hope is that Rogers gets back on track soon and is healthy enough to fill in as the fifth starter for the one or two games that will be required of him in April. Also, that the Milwaukee’s starting pitching staff doesn’t suffer a more serious injury. Because to be honest with you, these replacements make me uncomfortable.

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5 Responses

  1. 4 man rotation? is it viable?

    • They say they will need a fifth three times in April. I don’t think they would risk overworking guys so early.

  2. I’d rather go with a replacement level pitcher. Parra – no thanks. Rogers – might not be 100 % healthy. So the risk is too big.

    The Blue Jays still have too many starting pitchers, why not trade once again? They could use a bat –

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