Brewers Counting On Youth For Rotation





MILWAUKEE — While being quite successful in advancing impact position players out of their system over the past seven or eight years, the Brewers have had trouble getting pitchers to the big leagues.

Since Ben Sheets broke in with Milwaukee in 2001, the Brewers developed one starting pitcher who has stuck in the majors: Yovani Gallardo, who debuted in 2007.

The Brewers expect that trend to improve significantly in 2013, when as many as four starting pitchers could be homegrown.

"We have talented, young pitchers," general manager Doug Melvin said. "It might be time to give these guys a chance. We need to find out what they can do."

Out of necessity, the Brewers moved forward in that quest last season. When Shaun Marcum was lost to an elbow injury in the first half, unheralded righthander Mike Fiers was promoted from Triple-A Nashville and was very impressive over his first 15 or so outings before running out of gas at the end and finishing 9-10, 3.74 in 23 games.

The trade of Zack Greinke to the Angels in late July and release of veteran lefty Randy Wolf at the end of August created openings in the rotation. Righthanders Wily Peralta and Mark Rogers were summoned, and both fared well in limited action.

Peralta, rated the Brewers' top prospect, went 2-1, 2.48 in six games (five starts), and Rogers was 3-1, 3.92 over seven starts.

Fiers, Peralta and Rogers all will be given chances to win spots in the rotation in spring camp. That maneuver coincides directly with the club's plans to reduce payroll from $100 million to around $80 million for 2013.

Gallardo and Marco Estrada are expected to fill two rotation spots to begin the 2013 season. Lefthander Chris Narveson, who began last season in the rotation but was lost before May, is also expected to be fully recovered from rotator cuff surgery.

MICROBREWS

• Longtime instructor Rick Tomlin will take over as minor league pitching coordinator. Tomlin replaces Lee Tunnell, who was promoted during the 2012 season to serve as the Brewers' bullpen coach.

• Lefthander Travis Webb, who had spent his entire career in the Reds organization, signed a minor league deal with an invitation to major league spring training. Webb, 28, went 2-6, 4.81 in 54 appearances with Triple-A Louisville in 2012.