"This allow us to have 'Soup' miss one start instead of three," Brewers manager Ned Yost said. "He's been battling this for five weeks and it's been a bit of a struggle for him. It's time to get this knocked out."
Suppan has been struggling of late, allowing 18 earned runs and 30 hits in 15 2/3 innings over his past four starts, including a poor outing against the Pirates on Sunday in which he surrendered six earned runs in three innings.
He downplayed the degree to which his elbow affected his performance. Before Sunday, he only felt soreness doing non-baseball activities, but when he felt a twinge on a warmup pitch between innings against the Pirates, he alerted the team's medical staff and exited the game.
"We felt the best way to do this is get rest," Suppan said. "With the All-Star break, it was probably the best time to do this. ... All I know is it wasn't getting any better. The treatment we were doing had plateaued."
With Sabathia in and Suppan temporarily out, Yost arrived at Miller Park at about 9:30 a.m. CT on Monday and started realigning his starting rotation. Manny Parra, who was supposed to take the Tuesday slot now occupied by Sabathia, was bumped all the way back to Friday against the Reds, a team stocked with left-handed bats. Parra was available out of the Brewers' bullpen if needed Monday night.
Ben Sheets and Dave Bush will start the final two games against the Rockies this week, as scheduled. Parra starts Friday, followed by Seth McClung, and then Sabathia will close out the first half on Sunday.
Sabathia will also start the first game out of the All-Star break on July 18 at San Francisco. Sheets, who likely will pitch in the July 15 All-Star Game, will follow Sabathia on July 19, then Parra on July 20. McClung or Parra would start July 21 in St. Louis and Suppan will be eligible to rejoin the rotation on July 22.
Beyond that, Yost will face a decision. Either Bush or McClung will be bounced to the bullpen, or Yost could use them as sort of "dual starters," using Bush when his turn comes up at home and McClung on the road.
Bush has a 2.87 ERA at home and is 1-6 with a 6.95 ERA on the road. McClung has a 3.28 ERA on the road and a 5.28 ERA at home.
"I'd like to give each pitcher an opportunity to be successful," Yost said.