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PIT@MIL: Hand fans three in his Major League debut

Most starters would view a four-inning outing as a failure, but for Donovan Hand, who will take the mound for the Brewers when they face the Braves on Saturday, that's exactly what he's shooting for.

Hand is normally a long reliever, but due to a number of injuries to the starting rotation, he will be the ninth pitcher to start a game for Milwaukee this year. His role may be different, but his goals remain the same.

"I'm going to go out like I'm the long guy in the bullpen, which is what I've done," Hand said. "I'm going to go out until they tell me to stop. A realistic goal would be three or four [innings]; anything after that would be a bonus."

Starting isn't completely foreign for the right-hander, though. He started games in the Venezuelan Winter League last October and November, which he said will be beneficial Saturday.

"I'll try to get outs early, and the longer you can go, the better," Hand said. "I was a starter in Venezuela in the offseason so that will definitely give me some familiarity with it. It's really no different for me, just go about my business the same way, throw ground balls and limit my pitches. Hopefully by the end of it, I can give us a chance to win the game."

Hand has made eight appearances out of the bullpen since being called up in late May and has posted a 3.38 ERA. His longest outing was three innings, but manager Ron Roenicke said the decision to start Hand did not come with hesitation.

"It seemed like everybody wanted to [start Hand]," Roenicke said. "He's been stretched out enough where we're not that concerned. We're not going to throw him 90 pitches, but we'll see how the game goes."

Though Hand is relatively new to starting, his opponent Saturday, Tim Hudson, is a veteran by all accounts. The 15-year Major Leaguer has thrown four consecutive quality starts, but hasn't recorded a win in his last eight outings.

"I feel good about how I'm throwing the ball," Hudson said. "If I keep throwing it the way I'm throwing, the wins will come. I feel like our team has been playing pretty well. I just happened to be out there on the mound when the other pitcher is throwing a pretty good game."

Braves: Pena placed on DL
Ramiro Pena's sore right shoulder couldn't heal in time to avoid a stint on the disabled list.

The Braves placed the infielder on the 15-day disabled list on Friday and recalled Paul Janish from Triple-A Gwinnett.

"The move is we can't use Pena," manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "Sometimes you want to defend and you can't, so we decided to DL him. He's getting all the tests and all that kind of stuff and I'm sure we'll come up with some kind of diagnosis."

Pena hasn't played since Sunday with what is being diagnosed as a shoulder strain. He's batting .278 this year with three homers and 12 RBIs.

Brewers: Estrada closer to rehab stint
Starter Marco Estrada said his hamstring is on the mend and he hopes to make a rehab start in the near future.

Estrada, who threw a bullpen session Friday, left his June 4 outing against the A's after feeling a pop in his left hamstring on a fifth-inning pitch. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list the next day.

"It's feeling much better; I'm able to run at 100 percent," Estrada said. "I think I might be heading out to get a rehab start somewhere. I'm not 100 percent sure what we're doing, but that's what it sounds like right now."

Estrada is 4-4 this year with a 5.32 ERA. Roenicke said the right-hander could make his return in the next few days.

"Marco's looking OK," Roenicke said. "He threw a light bullpen today. If everything goes well, he should be pitching in two, three days."

Worth Noting
• Francisco Rodriguez is sitting on 299 career saves. With one more, he will be the 25th pitcher in Major League history with at least 300 saves.

• The Brewers have won seven straight games against the Braves at home.

• Atlanta is 29-5 this season when scoring first in the game. Comments