PITTSBURGH -- The Brewers sent their ninth different starting pitcher to the mound in Friday's 10-3 loss, the first of a three-game set against the Pirates. Johnny Hellweg made his Major League debut against Gerrit Cole, who made his first career start just a few weeks ago.
"It was kind of surreal. I guess the closest I've ever been to floating," Hellweg said Thursday about getting called up. "I guess that was a feeling I've never had."
Hellweg was roughed up in his debut. His offense gave him a 3-0 lead before he threw a pitch, but, after a 1-2-3 first inning, he gave up seven runs (five earned) and lasted only two outs in the second before being replaced by Tom Gorzelanny. Hellweg walked two and struck out one.
The Brewers' rotation has been banged up all season. Marco Estrada and Alfredo Figaro have been held out recently with hamstring and shoulder injuries, respectively.
Hellweg, who the Brewers received from the Angels as part of a deal for Zack Greinke, is the club's No. 3 prospect, according to MLB.com. Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said with what he saw from Hellweg in Spring Training, he felt it was the right time to give him the ball.
"He's got a power arm with his sink, and I think in our ballpark that's going to be important," Roenicke said. "So we'll see how he does with the nerves and whether he's been able to get over his offspeed stuff."
Brewers starting pitchers ranked 29th in ERA (5.00), 28th in opponent's batting average (.282) and 29th in innings (426 1/3) entering Friday.
"We need one of the young guys to really step up," Roenicke said. "And he's one of the guys that can do it."
Steven Petrella is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.