Brewers March 10 spring training notes

<p>Milwaukee Brewers' Tyler Thornburg stretches during a spring training baseball workout Tuesday, March 1, 2016, in Phoenix.</p>

Milwaukee Brewers' Tyler Thornburg stretches during a spring training baseball workout Tuesday, March 1, 2016, in Phoenix.

The Milwaukee Brewers are loaded with young pitchers.

Three pitchers on the Brewers' 40-man roster are 23 years old -- Zach Davies, Adrian Houser and Jorge Lopez. There's also Josh Hader, who turns 22 in April, who is in camp as a non-roster invitee.

Hader, Houser and Lopez all pitched for Milwaukee on Wednesday against defending World Series champion Kansas City, which had many regulars in the lineup. Manager Craig Counsell said that's a great experience for young pitchers to have and it can only help the Brewers in the future.

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"To have starters on your 40-man roster all legitimate candidates to be members of a big-league pitching staff at this year at some point, maybe, is pretty exciting," Counsell said. "That's our depth. They need to continue their development."

One young pitcher looking to establish a role is 27-year-old Tyler Thornburg, who had been a starting pitcher his entire career but whose major-league past and future is in the bullpen. Of his 86 minor-league games, 83 were starts. With the Brewers, he has made only 10 starts over four seasons with 67 relief appearances. Last season, Thornburg appeared in 24 games with a 3.67 ERA and 1.252 WHIP in 34 1/3 innings.

In addition, last year Thornburg was recovering from a slight tear in his ulnar collateral ligament, which has been a big change in his spring training approach.

"His health was a big priority last spring and getting him healthy through a season was a big priority," Counsell said. "He was a starter still . . . He's a reliever now. It's certainly an important camp for him."

Thornburg enters Thursday's game having pitched three innings in two games, allowing two runs on four hits.

The new guy: Counsell said recent signee and non-roster invitee Franklin Morales has thrown two bullpen sessions, including one Wednesday, since his arrival.

Flexing his muscles: Hernan Perez his a home run against Kansas City on Wednesday. The infielder, who is a non-roster invitee, said he bulked up to 200 pounds over the offseason and hit eight home runs in winter ball. "I have a little more power," he said. "I can move better in the infield at 200 pounds (as well)."


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Who's on first? Ramon Flores is getting a tryout at first base as Milwaukee searches for Chris Carter's backup. Flores played some first base in the minors, but not much. He has 50 games of experience, but most of it was early in his career in Low-A. Flores did play three games there for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in 2014 and two games for High-A Tampa in 2012.

"We're trying to give him three weeks here to take some groundballs. It's new for sure and we understand that. It's a work in progress . . . we'll see if it is something by the end of spring if we consider it an option."

Flores is on the 40-man roster but is out of options.

Phillips update: Center field prospect Brett Phillips has been sidelined with a left oblique strain and has yet to appear in a game. Counsell said Phillips is getting healthier and could still see some action, but the team won't rush him back.

"It's spring training, we're always going to be conservative because it is the season that matters," Counsell said. "He's getting to the point we're going to take the restrictions off, but we're going to go slow with it. His health for the season is really important. But he's got a chance to still maybe get active and play a little."