Fiers to make first '14 start Saturday

Fiers to make first '14 start Saturday

MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers will send out their seventh starting pitcher of the season Saturday as Mike Fiers will start in place of the injured Matt Garza, Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said after Thursday's 3-1 win over the Giants.

Fiers, a 29-year-old righty, will face the Dodgers in his first start of the season after a stint in the Major League club's bullpen in June. Fiers has had an impressive year with Triple-A Nashville, holding an 8-5 record and 2.55 ERA over 17 starts.

The Brewers are undoubtedly hoping Fiers will catch fire like he did in 2012, when he threw six innings or more while allowing two or fewer earned runs in 10 of his first 12 Major League starts. After fading down the stretch, he finished with a 9-10 record and 3.74 ERA after 22 total starts. He also made 11 appearances, including three starts, for Milwaukee last season.

The club's choice was made reasonably clear Wednesday when their other candidate to take Garza's place, Marco Estrada, pitched three innings in relief of Yovani Gallardo in a loss to the Giants. Estrada threw 39 pitches and admitted it would have been a challenge to start on two days' rest.

"I'm not sure how I would feel [physically] that day, but I would say I'm 100 percent ready no matter what," Estrada said. "If it was tomorrow, I would do it, because that's what I want to do -- I want to start. I don't want to be in the bullpen. And they know that."

But Estrada said he was made no promises when he was removed from the rotation that he would be reinstated the first time the team needed another arm, and Roenicke said the team wants to see what it has in Fiers.

"I think Fiers, with the way he's been throwing in Triple-A this year, we know what he did for us when we first had him up and what kind of starts he got," Roenicke said. "I think we were kind of going into it not sure which way we were going to go, and then needing Marco the other day did make a difference. We like what Marco can do starting, [but] we want to try Fiers and bring him up and see if he can give us the starts he gave us a couple years ago."

It's unclear how long Garza, on the disabled list with a left oblique strain, will be out.

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. Caitlin Swieca is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.