Roenicke says Marcum's return is near

Roenicke says Marcum's return is near

MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers have long since stopped putting a timetable on Shaun Marcum's return from an elbow injury that was supposed to sideline him for one start and instead will wind up costing him at least six weeks.

So without offering any specifics, manager Ron Roenicke said Marcum's return to the mound is drawing near.

Marcum, whose ailment was never described more specifically than a "stiff elbow," has been playing catch from 120 feet pain-free. He did so on Tuesday at Miller Park and will do so once more this week before he is cleared to take the mound and begin bullpen sessions. After a handful of those, Marcum could finally be cleared for a Minor League rehabilitation assignment.

"We really thought it was going to be one start, and I don't know why sometimes, especially when they don't find anything wrong, medically, it has gone on so long," Roenicke said.

Marcum reiterated on Tuesday that tests never showed structural damage to his elbow, the subject of Tommy John surgery in 2008. He developed stiffness in the joint after a June 16 start in Kansas City.

"I'm back to 120 feet, throwing the ball and it's coming out good," said Marcum, a free agent after the season. "It's turned into more than one, but I'd rather miss four or five or six or whatever it is that the rest of the season. Injuries are part of the game -- especially this year."