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Gorzelanny won't compete for '14 rotation

Gorzelanny won't compete for '14 rotation

Gorzelanny won't compete for '14 rotation

MILWAUKEE -- After experimenting with him as a starter, the Brewers have moved left-hander Tom Gorzelanny back to the bullpen and view him as a reliever heading toward next season.

"We tried to see if it was going to work," manager Ron Roenicke said. "We liked what we saw early, and I think just with the conversations he had with me, what we're thinking about next year, who is going to be a starter and who has a chance to be a starter, all parties kind of decided that he was going to go back to the bullpen."

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Tyler Thornburg will start Monday against the Pirates. Gorzelanny, who last started on Wednesday in Pittsburgh, said he would be available for relief duty beginning Sunday or Monday.

He signed a two-year, $5.7 million contract in December to serve as a reliever and potential spot starter. When those spot starts came up, and Gorzelanny excelled in them, the Brewers wondered whether they had something and decided to audition him for the 2014 starting rotation.

But after allowing only one earned run over his first three starts and 16 innings, Gorzelanny pitched to a 6.87 ERA in his last seven starts, including Wednesday's loss to the Pirates, with 25 earned runs and 40 hits in 32 2/3 innings.

One of those outings was excellent -- a seven-inning start at Seattle on Aug. 10 in which Gorzelanny allowed three hits and no runs. Another was aborted after one inning when he was struck on the pitching elbow by a line drive. In the five others, Gorzelanny surrendered at least four earned runs.

"We know that he's there in case we need a starter, that he can do it," said Roenicke.

Thornburg has surrendered only one earned run over his first three Brewers starts this season, but Roenicke could not say Saturday whether he would remain in the rotation through September. The Brewers may use six starters while finishing the season with 20 games in as many days, but one of those spots will go to Johnny Hellweg, and another, at least for a start or two, may go to top prospect Jimmy Nelson.

"We're trying to figure out how to do this right," Roenicke said. "With two off-days [Sept. 5 and 9], we can't do a straight six-man and just run through it, because we've got too many guys on eight days [rest]. Probably the next week and a half, it's going to be messed up some. We'll probably have to bump people."

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.

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