WASHINGTON -- The Brewers shuffled their rotation in light of Sunday's rainy, marathon loss to the Pirates, bumping prospect Johnny Hellweg to temporary relief duty and re-inserting Kyle Lohse in Hellweg's place.
Lohse will now start against the Nationals on Wednesday, three days after his Sunday start in Pittsburgh was cut short by rain after 1 2/3 innings. Thursday's starter has yet to be determined, with manager Ron Roenicke saying it would either be Hellweg or the previously scheduled Donovan Hand.
Hellweg pitched the eighth inning of Monday's 10-5 loss to the Nationals, and if Hand stays on schedule for Thursday, then Hellweg would work on Friday at home against the Mets and make one fewer start before the All-Star break.
"There's still an innings thing that we need to worry about with Hellweg, and who we match up against comes into play sometimes," Roenicke said. "[The Nationals] have some pretty good left-handers in this lineup. So some of that definitely comes into the conversation.
"The most important thing is to get this guy confident, and the only way for him to do that is to success. So, what's better for him? Pitching here Thursday or pitching Friday, back at our place? Donnie Hand, I'm very confident in. Donnie, I don't care who it's against, I don't care what ballpark it is, I have a lot of confidence in him. He throws strikes, he's got great offspeed pitches. But the other guy we have to be concerned about."
Hellweg pitched a perfect first inning in his Major League debut, on Friday in Pittsburgh, before allowing seven runs (five earned) on six hits while recording only two outs in the second inning. He is eager to start again.
"I'm ready to go back out there," Hellweg said. "I kind of left a bad taste in everyone's mouth the last time they saw me. I want to get out and show what I can do."
He did not have to wait. With the Brewers trailing, 8-5, in the eighth inning on Monday and the rest of the bullpen taxed, Hellweg made his first Major League relief appearance. He surrendered two runs, one of which was unearned because of shortstop Jean Segura's error, but he topped 96 mph from the start of his outing.
"I know things didn't turn out for Hellweg, but I really like the way he threw the ball," Roenicke said. "He attacked the guys. He showed his best stuff, and we didn't make some plays behind him."