DENVER -- Brewers right-hander Marco Estrada is ready to begin a Minor League rehabilitation assignment, his final step before rejoining the starting rotation after a long battle with hamstring and back issues.
Estrada, who was placed on the disabled list on June 5 with a left hamstring strain, successfully threw live batting practice on Friday, Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. He is slated to start and work two innings for Rookie-level Arizona on Monday, the first of three scheduled starts.
"We'll see how smooth those go, and where his pitch count gets to," Roenicke said. "It would be a nice arm to get back if he pitches like he did last year. He wasn't the same this year, for whatever reason. We talked about the [World Baseball] Classic and trying to get amped up early, and maybe not quite having the same Spring Training he was used to. I don't know what the reasons are, but he wasn't the same guy this year as he was last year."
Estrada pitched to a 3.64 ERA in 23 starts and six relief appearances in 2012, leading to a spot with Team Mexico in the Classic and a start in the Brewers' second game of the regular season. But he posted a 5.32 ERA in his first 12 regular-season starts before the hamsting injury.