MESA, Ariz. -- The addition of Matt Garza gave the Brewers' starting rotation a much-needed boost, but for one young up-and-comer, that roster move probably means having to wait a little longer to settle into a Major League role.
Right-hander Tyler Thornburg, the club's third-round pick in the 2010 Draft, impressed management last year with two solid auditions, going a combined 3-1 with a 2.03 ERA over 18 games, including seven starts. He took the mound against the Cubs on Sunday unsure where he would begin the season -- he could make the team as a reliever or start the year at Triple-A -- but with a handful of outings remaining on the spring schedule, he is blocking out the what-ifs and focusing on the here and now.
General manager Doug Melvin spoke briefly with Thornburg at FanFest about the Garza signing, and around the same time pitching coach Rick Kranitz also reached out. It is clear Thornburg is part of the Brewers' future, even if Garza knocks him down a notch on the depth chart for the time being.
"It certainly made it tougher for him to be one of those five guys," manager Ron Roenicke said. "We're still stretching him out. He's got the start today and at least mapped out a couple more starts. Then we need to see where we're at. It's nice to have him stretched out because he certainly is a guy that proved last year that he deserves that opportunity. Even though we're excited to get Garza, for him it makes it a lot more difficult."
Thornburg allowed two runs on three hits over four innings against the Cubs. He yielded a first-inning home run to Justin Ruggiano but settled in and retired eight straight until Ruggiano singled in the fourth.
"It was probably an outing that I was most excited about while I'm going through it," he said. "When you're going through things, especially early in Spring Training, things just don't feel right. Sometimes it takes one pitch, one inning, something, and then it just all of a sudden clicks and you remember what you did when you were being successful. That's exactly what happened in between the first and second."
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy.Alyson Footer is a national correspondent for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.