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Melvin keeping eye out for starter

Melvin keeping eye out for starter

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MILWAUKEE -- Carlos Villanueva will make another start for the Brewers on Wednesday while general manager Doug Melvin combs the waiver wire for other options.

Melvin already has added three relievers since July 31 -- Claudio Vargas, Jesus Colome and David Weathers -- but what he really wants is an impact starter. The trouble, according to Melvin, is that difference-makers are not available.

"If we could find a starting pitcher, we would consider it," Melvin said. "Ideally, you would like to get a No. 1 or No. 2 guy. They're not out there. That's why we went with the reliever route."

After July 31, players must clear waivers before they can be traded. Asked whether any pitchers of interest to the Brewers had cleared waivers in recent days, Melvin responded vaguely, "Not anyone I want to talk about."

He was willing to talk about a handful of names that have churned through the rumor mill. John Smoltz reportedly is available after clearing waivers, but Melvin said the Brewers aren't interested. They are wary of the negative reports about Vicente Padilla's relationship with his former Rangers teammates that followed his departure from Texas. Reds right-handers Bronson Arroyo and Aaron Harang come with high salaries.

Injuries are the issues with other potentially available arms. A's right-hander Justin Duchscherer is coming back from elbow surgery and has a long medical history -- one that perhaps is too long for Milwaukee's taste. Melvin talked to Greg Clifton, the agent for rehabbing left-hander Mark Mulder, about a month ago, and was told Mulder was getting close to game shape. Similar reports emerged this week, but Melvin has yet to hear back from Clifton.

Melvin has not heard a word from Casey Close, the agent for right-hander Ben Sheets, who is working back from elbow surgery, and the GM wondered whether Close's silence is a sign that Sheets will not pitch in 2009.

"I think he would call clubs if [Sheets] were going to pitch, wouldn't he?" Melvin wondered.

Even if Sheets or Mulder was available, Melvin would have to carefully weigh his interest.

"It's hard to put your eggs in the basket of a guy who hasn't pitched," Melvin said. "It didn't work for Smoltz. It didn't work for [Tom] Glavine. Guys that haven't pitched in a year or two, you never know."

If he's unable to make any additional deals, Melvin and the Brewers would have to count on Dave Bush and/or Jeff Suppan returning from the disabled list. Suppan threw a bullpen session on Tuesday, but he remains stalled by a rib-cage strain. Bush has had a number of setbacks in his return from a triceps injury, but he could be one more bullpen session away from appearing in a Minor League game. Suppan also will have to go out for a Minor League rehabilitation assignment, manager Ken Macha said Tuesday.

With both of those options still on the shelf, Macha will call on Mike Burns to make another start on Saturday against the Astros.

"If there's nobody that's available in a trade, you wait it out," Melvin said.

Pitching matchup
MIL: RHP Carlos Villanueva (2-9, 6.05 ERA)
The right-hander tossed five-plus innings on Friday in Houston in his third start since a move from the bullpen, allowing four runs on six hits. Villanueva pitched against the Padres on Aug. 2. He allowed two hits and struck out three in five scoreless innings.

SD: RHP Kevin Correia (7-9, 4.51 ERA)
What started poorly didn't end up as such a bad night for Correia in his last start, on Friday against the Mets. Correia allowed three hits and two runs in the first inning, and then he settled down, giving up seven hits and the two runs -- both unearned -- over six innings. Shortstop Everth Cabrera dropped a throw from catcher Henry Blanco in the first inning on an Angel Pagan attempted steal to pave the way for the two-run first inning. Correia, who walked two and struck out three, retired the final seven hitters he faced.

Tidbits
The Brewers will host the third and final Block Party of 2009 on Saturday from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. CT at Hart Park, 7300 Chestnut St. in Wauwatosa. Players and coaches scheduled to attend include Ryan Braun, Burns, Todd Coffey, Craig Counsell, Brad Fischer, Bill Hall, Trevor Hoffman, Jason Kendall, Felipe Lopez, Macha, Willie Randolph and Mitch Stetter. ... According to STATS, Inc., when Hoffman picked up his 25th save of the season last week, it was the 803rd game finished of his career, a new Major League record. He passed Lee Smith. ... To clear a 40-man roster spot for Weathers, the Brewers designated right-hander Nick Green for assignment. The team claimed Green off waivers from the Angels over the winter and hoped he could provide starting pitching depth, but he has been hampered by a neck injury this year. ... With Tuesday's loss, the Brewers fell to 27-27 in home games this season.

Tickets
 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• FS Wisconsin-HD

On radio
• WTMJ 620

Up next
• Thursday: Brewers (Manny Parra, 7-8, 6.26) vs. Padres (Cesar Carrillo, Major League debut), 1:05 p.m. CT
• Friday: Brewers (Yovani Gallardo, 10-9, 3.54) vs. Astros (Wandy Rodriguez, 11-6, 2.51), 7:05 p.m. CT
• Saturday: Brewers (Mike Burns, 2-4, 5.89) vs. Astros (Brian Moehler, 7-8, 5.32), 6:05 p.m. CT

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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