Sounds reasonably positive for Sheets....
PHOENIX -- If all goes according to plan, the Brewers' five-man rotation should be back together the next time the team takes the field at Miller Park.
Two right-handers sidelined by balky shoulders -- Tomo Ohka and Ben Sheets -- survived stifling heat and some free-swinging Arizona rookie leaguers in rehabilitation assignments before the Brewers began second-half play at Chase Field. Ohka threw 60 pitches on Thursday at Maryvale Baseball Park in what likely will prove his final tune-up before rejoining the rotation and Sheets threw 87 pitches at Peoria on Friday, his second Minor League rehab stint.
Brewers manager Ned Yost wouldn't go into detail about the various contingencies, but it appears Ohka will be cleared to start on Tuesday night in San Francisco. Assuming he stays on a five-day schedule, Sheets would make one more rehab start on Wednesday, before rejoining the Brewers on July 24 against Pittsburgh.
"We're doing our best to get realigned," Brewers pitching coach Mike Maddux said. "You plan for the worst but hope for the best. I think the best is right upon us."
Pitching in front of a contingent that included general manager Doug Melvin, Yost and Maddux, Sheets pitched 4 1/3 innings against the Padres' rookie affiliate. He allowed five runs on five hits with two walks and eight strikeouts.
"You can't go on the stats," Maddux said. "You have to go on the execution of pitches, which was very good. He had some four-out innings, five-out innings."
Sheets' fastball ranged from 89 mph in the first inning to 94 mph once he got warmed up. Yost said the young defenders behind him and the young umpire behind the plate may have contributed to the crooked numbers in Sheets' pitching line.
"Benny shouldn't have given up a run," Yost said. "The runs mean absolutely nothing. The thing that's important is that he got to 87 pitches."
Sheets was in the training room all afternoon on Friday and could not comment on his outing.
Pitching on Thursday against A's farmhands in Phoenix, Ohka surrendered four runs on seven hits in three innings. He was limited to 60 pitches because he was working on short rest, lining him up to start Tuesday.
"Tomo had a little problem getting a grip on the ball," Yost said. "His first two innings were good, but it's real hot and dry out there."
Said Maddux: "He looked great today, felt fine. It looks like all of those problems are behind him."
Another rehabbing Brewer, left-hander Jorge De La Rosa (blisters), made his fourth rehab start for Double-A Huntsville on Thursday and is scheduled for two more before rejoining the Brewers, Melvin said. De La Rosa is expected to pitch out of the Brewers bullpen upon his return.
Good news on all counts. But Yost took a typically cautious approach.
"We're looking forward to having Tomo and [Sheets] back, but we can't rely on that too much, either," Yost said. "We're sitting back, waiting for those guys to cure all our ills, it's not going to happen. We need to pick up in all phases of our game. That's all 25 guys."
"Trying to hit him was like trying to drink coffee with a fork." - Willie Stargell on Sandy Koufax