Shaun Marcum working his way back to the rotation

Yes, Shaun Marcum is still on the Brewers.

It certainly doesn’t feel like it, though. Marcum has been out since early June, and was originally slated to miss just one or two starts with shoulder soreness, which has become quite common with Marcum over the past few years. But, it feels like he’s had to go through endless setbacks, including both shoulder and elbow issues. So here we are in mid-August, and Marcum still hasn’t returned to the rotation.

Barring any more “frustrating,” as Marcum calls them, setbacks, we should see him finally back in the rotation as soon as next week. Marcum has been rehabbing with the Timber Rattlers, the Brewers’ Class A affiliate, and has had up and down results. In his first start, which was last week, Marcum threw 36 pitches- 28 for strikes- over three solid innings while surrendering a solo homer. Marcum made his second start last night, which didn’t go quite as cleanly. He went 3 2/3 innings while giving up three runs, two of which were earned, on four hits. He also walked two and struck out four. But, Marcum needed 59 pitches (39 strikes) to get through those 3 2/3 innings.

Prior to his injury, Marcum was one of the more consistent Brewers starters, with a 5-3 record and 3.39 ERA. His only real bad start was a six-run disaster against the Giants back in May. Had he stayed healthy, Marcum would have been on pace to have a similar season to that of his 2011 season, when he went 13-7 with a 3.54 ERA.

Unfortunately, it looks like Marcum is going to come back, hope to stay healthy the last month or so, then test the free agent waters this offseason. I’ve heard multiple reasons that Marcum might be choosing to stay with the Brewers. The first is Marcum is bitter that the Brewers didn’t even attempt to extend him last offseason because they focused so much on Zack Greinke, despite the fact Marcum showed a lot of interest in staying Milwaukee long-term. Another rumor is that the Brewers think Marcum is going to draw $12.5 million per year. Even though Marcum is probably going to be a coveted starter in an offseason where there won’t be many starters available, I just can’t see him getting that much; his injury-plagued career doesn’t match it. The last reason is the Brewers simply don’t want him anymore because of his collapse in September and the postseason of 2011. Marcum had a 5.17 September ERA last year, and a horrible 14.90 ERA in three postseason starts, all of which he lost.

The most likely of those is that Brewers honestly think he’s going to attract too many suitors on the free agent market, and that they won’t be able to maintain him.

But we’ll see what happens. It’s a bit early to get into all of that free agent mumbo-jumbo. There’s still time for us to see how Marcum responds to not pitching in over two months, and that will determine his free agent situation.

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Tags: Milwaukee Brewers San Francisco Giants Shaun Marcum Wisconsin Timber Rattlers Zack Greinke

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