MILWAUKEE -- When right-hander Shaun Marcum returns to a Major League mound this weekend for the first time in more than two months, he will not just be pitching for the Brewers.
"I'm playing for 29 other teams right now," said Marcum, a free agent after the season. "I have to get a job next year, so I have to go out there and show them I'm healthy, see what happens."
Marcum was charging toward free agency -- 5-3 with a 3.39 ERA through his first 13 starts -- before he felt stiffness in his surgically repaired right elbow after a June 14 outing at Kansas City. He thought he would miss one start and instead missed more than two months, finally returning to action in recent weeks with three Minor League rehabilitation starts for Class A Wisconsin.
After allowing one run on four hits in six innings on Monday, Marcum was deemed ready to return. He will pitch either Saturday or Sunday at Pittsburgh -- as of Tuesday afternoon, manager Ron Roenicke was not ready to make the plan public.
Marcum said he would defer to Roenicke's wishes, just as he did in agreeing to one last start at Wisconsin. Marcum threw 50 of his 71 pitches for strikes on Monday, so he should be able to go over the 90-pitch mark in his return to Milwaukee.
"That was fine," Marcum said. "It made more sense after we talked about it, to come back here without a pitch count, and the other team knowing I had a pitch count, taking a lot of pitches and taxing the bullpen."
Marcum is earning $7.725 million in 2012 and the Brewers have made no moves to retain him beyond this season. He will be a free agent for the first time.
"I know if I go out and pitch, numbers speak for themselves, track record speaks for itself," Marcum said. "I'll be able to find a job with somebody. [Free agency] will definitely be different. I know guys say that's what you play for, but usually you play to win games, be happy and comfortable and be somewhere you have a chance to go to the postseason. Those are the main things."