Potential starter Thornburg to begin with middle relief

Potential starter Thornburg to begin with middle relief

PITTSBURGH -- Tyler Thornburg's 2013 season is beginning to feel a lot like '12, bouncing between the Brewers and the Minor Leagues. A right-hander who pitched three separate stints in the Majors last season, Thornburg, the club's top prospect, rejoined the team Saturday for the second time in '13.

"Hopefully, I pitch well enough to stick around," Thornburg said. "I know that throughout your career, you might have to bounce around. I think it's a good experience."

The Brewers have already employed 10 different starting pitchers this year, and when he was asked whether he could see Thornburg joining that list, manager Ron Roenicke quipped, "At this point, I could see anybody getting a start."

But for now, Thornburg's role will be middle relief.

"We like some of the outings out of the bullpen," Roenicke said. "If he's able to do both [starting and relief], it's going to help him stay in the Major Leagues, which is what he wants to do. Somewhere along the line, I'm sure he's going to get a chance to start. He'll help us.

"Any time you start doing different jobs, it's gets easier. And the thing is, it's not like we're taking a guy who was lights out in Triple-A and then just kind of messing with him [Thornburg was 0-9 with a 5.79 ERA in 15 starts]. We're trying to figure out a place for him, where he fits -- whether it's as a starter for us, whether it's a long guy, whether it's maybe a one-inning guy late in ballgames. But he's got great stuff, and we have to figure out how that plays into our team and our needs."

That decision is not imminent, Roenicke stressed.

"I don't want to make any quick judgments to say he is not a Major League starter, because I have seen him out there starting where he's done a real nice job," Roenicke said. "I don't know. It's just that we've got so many guys who seem to be in this area where, 'OK, we'll give them a shot to start,' and then either they get hurt or they don't do as well and we make a change. I'm still waiting for some of these young guys to really grab it."

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.