LOS ANGELES -- Injured right-handers Dave Bush and Jeff Suppan threw productive bullpen sessions at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday, when Brewers manager Ken Macha could suddenly see the day that he owned a surplus of starting pitchers.
Macha announced that he had chosen Carlos Villanueva over Mike Burns to start Friday's series opener in Houston -- because of off-days on Thursday and Monday, only one of the two is needed on this turn through the rotation -- and said Suppan could rejoin the rotation as early as next week.
Suppan hasn't pitched since facing the Nationals on July 27, when he strained a rib-cage muscle during an at-bat. But Suppan and head athletic trainer Roger Caplinger were encouraged by the right-hander's mound session at Dodger Stadium, according to Macha, who said Suppan could start as early as Aug. 12 against the Padres.
Bush, meanwhile, has not pitched in a game since June 20, so he probably will throw one more bullpen session in Houston on Friday before heading out on what could be a one-game Minor League rehabilitation assignment. If he remains on schedule, it puts Bush in line to return to the rotation sometime during the week of Aug. 16.
Confused? Don't be, because the Brewers' pitching plans are likely to change several more times based on the health of the candidates.
"These are all pieces floating around," Macha said. "We're going to have to go on how everybody feels."
Macha said Villanueva got the call over Burns to start in Houston because of his success against the Astros (3.56 ERA in 14 appearances, including two starts). Burns, who was charged with three runs in 5 2/3 innings in his last start at San Diego, was available in the bullpen beginning Tuesday night.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.