MIAMI -- Brewers left-hander Chris Capuano will have gone 979 days between Major League starts when he returns to the mound on Thursday to face the Marlins in the finale of a four-game series, an outing that will mark the end of two years of rehabilitation following his second career Tommy John surgery.
So it's easy to understand that Capuano wants to make the most of his outing.
Capuano maxed out at 98 pitches in seven Minor League starts this season and said he should be able to pitch with no restrictions against the Marlins. He threw those 98 pitches in his next-to-last outing for Triple-A Nashville on May 23 -- 10 days after pitching eight innings in his Nashville debut. Capuano needed only 84 pitches in that game.
"Getting up and down that many times was another big goal of the whole rehab process, along with the pitch count," he said. "Physically, my body is definitely ready to handle the rigors of starting. From there, it's a matter of making pitches so you can get into the seventh or eighth inning. My goal is to try to throw strikes, get ahead and give them as much as I can."
Capuano will be making his first start since Sept. 27, 2007 -- a no-decision against the Padres at Miller Park. He underwent his second career Tommy John surgery in May 2008, made six late-season appearances in the Minors in '09 and then seven starts this season at Class A Brevard County and then Nashville.
In Spring Training, the Brewers briefly considered Capuano as a bullpen option. Since then, the plan has shifted back to starting, and Capuano is happy about that.
"I am, because that's been my focus for the last couple of months," he said. "I've been in that routine, I feel very comfortable doing it. It's not like I have to learn anything new."