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Brewers 'pen intact after Gagne's return

Brewers 'pen intact

PHOENIX -- With a couple of exceptions, the Brewers essentially had their bullpen back together for the first time in six weeks at the start of a four-game series against the D-backs on Monday.

The team activated Eric Gagne from the disabled list after Sunday's loss in Minnesota and installed him alongside Guillermo Mota, David Riske, Brian Shouse, Mitch Stetter, Carlos Villanueva and Salomon Torres, who has closed games since Gagne went down with right rotator cuff tendinitis and will continue to fill that role.

Of that group, only Stetter and Villanueva were not in the bullpen on Opening Day. Stetter was with Triple-A Nashville, and Villanueva was in the starting rotation before swapping spots with Seth McClung.

Even though many of the names are the same, some of the roles have changed.

"There has to be some re-sorting because Torres has done so well," Brewers manager Ned Yost said.

Torres is 12-for-12 in save opportunities in Gagne's absence. Gagne converted 10 of 15 save chances and had a 6.98 ERA before his injury. He was activated after a pair of Minor League rehabilitation assignments and then a bullpen session on Saturday at the Metrodome.

Yost said his use of Gagne would be "a feel thing." Gagne was not exactly sure what to expect.

"It's been a while," Gagne said. "I don't really care when they use me. Hopefully, it's in a winning situation, but I don't care right now when I get used. They put everybody here in position to succeed."

Yost was more concerned about finding innings for Gagne. Brewers starters had produced quality starts (six or more innings, three or fewer earned runs) in 22 of their 31 outings prior to Monday. That has meant a relatively light workload for the Brewers' relievers. Through 81 games, Yost had used his relievers for 240 innings, third fewest in the National League.

"It's a Catch-22. Either you're using your relievers too much, or you're not using them enough," Yost said. "We're in the stage now where we're not using them enough. I need to get Riske more innings, I need to get Shouse more innings and now I have to find ways to get Gagne back in the right situation to get him going again."

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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