Thornburg shines in second spring start


Thornburg shines in second spring start

CREATED Mar. 8, 2013

Pitching in his third cactus league game of the spring, Brewers prospect Tyler Thornburg cruised harmlessly through three innings against the Texas Rangers at Maryvale Baseball Park on Friday. Heavy rain and hail have forced the game to be canceled in the bottom of the 4th inning with the Rangers leading 2-0.

Coming into the game, Thornburg, who is looking to make the team as a starter, had allowed four earned runs in four innings of work. Today, in his third appearance of the spring, the 24-year old Thornburg held the Rangers hitless through through innings, striking out two and walking two. Brewers Manager, Ron Roenicke was impressed.

"Definitely a better fastball today," Roenicke said. "He threw some good curveballs...changeup OK. So, yeah, I thought that was good for him".

Barring injury, or a complete collapse, four of the five starting spots appear to be set. In no particular order, I would say Yovani Gallardo, Marco Estrada, Chris Narveson and Mike Fiers will occupy spots 1-4. That leaves Thornburg, Willy Peralta and Mark Rogers battling to become the team's fifth starter. 

One thing is clear, if Thornburg doesn't lock in a spot in the Brewers rotation, he will be sent to AAA to serve as a starting pitcher for the Nashville Sounds, versus being a long reliever for the Brewers.  

"We would like him to start right now," Roenicke said. "We thought he had enough starts last year to maybe experiment after we brought him up for that first spot start. But right now, we'd like for him to go back and see how far he can go as a starter. That's not to say that during the year sometime we wouldn't bring him up as a reliever, but right now the plan is to have him start."

One thing is virtually certain - over the course of 162 regular season games, the Brewers will need more than five pitchers to start this season. It is more likely they will need six, seven, or maybe eight different pitchers to start. So even if he doesn't start the season on the opening day roster, it would not be a surprise to see Thornburg make a start somewhere along the line.