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RECOVERY PLAN


RECOVERY PLAN
If Jeff Suppan is dwelling on his trying start to the season, the Milwaukee Brewers' pitcher was doing a good job of hiding it.

"There's nothing you can do about it," Suppan said this week, after falling apart during a terrible fourth inning in Sunday night's 8-5 loss to the Chicago Cubs. "When you're 50 years old, it's still there. So the idea is to keep that short focus. Baseball is a game that's played in the moment, and you have to really focus on doing that.

"And that's where my focus is, really working on getting back to being in the moment and just making that pitch. Making that pitch selection and then just making the pitch."

Suppan's next chance to show the Brewers' faithful he's recovered from a horrible end to last season comes Sunday in New York in the finale of a three-game series with the Mets at brand-new Citi Field.

Milwaukee bumped Suppan's scheduled start back one day, meaning he'll face Mike Pelfrey, while young right-hander Yovani Gallardo matches up against Mets ace Johan Santana on Saturday. Dave Bush takes on Livan Hernandez in tonight's series opener, which kicks off a nine-game trip for the Brewers (3-6).

Suppan hasn't lasted longer than four innings in either of his first two starts.

He allowed six earned runs on six hits and one walk in four innings in Milwaukee's opener in San Francisco, a 10-6 loss, then gave up five earned runs on two hits and six walks in 3 2 3 innings against the Cubs. His ERA stands at 12.91, and he admittedly was aiming the ball rather than simply throwing it against Chicago when he issued three bases-loaded walks in a disastrous fourth inning.

"Anytime you go out and you don't pitch the way you want to pitch, it's a battle, but you work through it and that's what we do," he said.

"With my last game, I threw three strong innings and it was a tough fourth. But, you know what? There's nothing I can do about that now, and my focus is on my next game against the Mets."

Suppan posted similar ugly numbers in September last season, going 0-3 with an 8.44 ERA in five starts, before lasting just three innings - and allowing five earned runs - in the final game of the Brewers' National League Division Series against Philadelphia.

"Last year is over with," Suppan said. "So I'm looking at these last two outings, trying to be a pitcher that helps the team win. That's my goal, that's what I'm trying to do, so I'm looking really at the last two starts."

Suppan has drawn the ire of many fans because of his team-high $12.5 million salary as part of the four-year, $42 million contract he signed after the 2006 season. In his first two seasons with Milwaukee, he went 22-22 with a 4.78 ERA - numbers that pretty much line up with his career totals.

"We didn't expect an 18-game winner, a 20-game winner," Brewers general manager Doug Melvin said before the team's home opener, noting that Suppan went 5-0 in August last season.

"Jeff has never been that and that's not what we expected. ... He does have moments like some pitchers do, where there's slumps and they will have good games and bad games. It's almost similar to what hitters go through when hitters have streaks, but when you're a pitcher, it seems to stand out more. People notice it more."

Riske to DL

The Brewers placed reliever David Riske on the 15-day disabled list Thursday because of a tight right elbow and will bring up left-hander R.J. Swindle from Class AAA Nashville to take his place.

The move was retroactive to April 10. Swindle had a save, allowed two hits and two walks with 10 strikeouts in three appearances with Nashville.


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 18, 2009

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