The Brewers' starting rotation has hardly looked familiar from one week to the next this season. Manager Ron Roenicke has been forced to use 11 different starters already, pulling hurlers from his bullpen and the Minor Leagues to fill voids left by injuries.
Yovani Gallardo and Tom Gorzelanny each took steps Wednesday toward their returns, but Roenicke will still have decisions to make with his rotation going forward.
Gallardo has sympathy for his manager.
"It's definitely tough," Gallardo said. "It' not easy to ... start the year off with five guys, and next thing you know you're scrambling to find pieces to fit in, whether it be a spot start or start two or three times. Pitching is very important to any team. There's so many adjustments you need to make, and when you have those five guys or six guys for the whole year, you know when you're pitching, you know what the plan is ahead of time. When guys aren't 100 percent, the manager and the pitching coach have to make adjustments with what to do with the rotation, and I can only imagine that is not easy for them."
One guy who has helped ease the pain is right-hander Donovan Hand, who will oppose Giants righty Tim Lincecum on Thursday to try to help the Brewers take three of four games in the series at AT&T Park.
Hand started the season at Triple-A Nashville but was called up in late May to join Milwaukee's bullpen. After 10 relief appearances, he was moved to the injury-depleted starting rotation and has a 3.69 ERA in six starts. Despite pitching well, Hand is 0-3 and still looking for his first big league win.
Hand threw seven quality innings his last time out against the Nationals but his offense didn't back him in a 3-0 loss. He allowed three earned runs on five hits while walking one and striking out three. Hand has a 3.60 ERA in 50 innings between the bullpen and starting rotation this season.
Lincecum, meanwhile, has regrouped since the nightmarish outing that followed his no-hitter two weeks ago. He gave up eight runs in 3 1/3 innings to the Reds, but has thrown back-to-back quality starts since. On Saturday, he gave up one earned run on six hits in a seven-inning no-decision against the Rays.
Lincecum has not quite returned to his Cy Young form this season -- outside of his July 13 no-hitter -- but he also has not gotten a lot of run support. The Giants have failed to score more than one run in 10 of Lincecum's 22 starts, and they have lost 12 of his last 14 starts after winning six of his first eight.
The 29-year-old right-hander is 5-11 this season with a 4.43 ERA in 22 starts.
Brewers: Gallardo, Gorzelanny on the mend
Gallardo and Gorzelanny each took steps toward their returns Wednesday.
Gallardo, who strained his left hamstring in a game against the Cubs on July 30, ran windsprints before Wednesday's game, and Gorzelanny, who was hit in the elbow by a line drive against the Nationals last Friday, threw a bullpen session.
Gorzelanny is expected to make his next start either Saturday in Seattle or Tuesday in Texas, and Gallardo could jump back into the Brewers' rotation Aug. 16 in Cincinnati, the day after he is eligible to return from the 15-day disabled list.
Gallardo will likely throw from a mound in the coming days.
Giants: Blanco rests, Francoeur gets start in center
Jeff Francoeur started in center field for the third time in his Major League career Wednesday in place of Gregor Blanco, who Giants manager Bruce Bochy says will rest for two or three days.
Francoeur, who made two starts in center last season for the Royals, went 0-for-3 batting seventh Wednesday and did not have any chances in center field. He did field a few singles without any problems.
Blanco entered Wednesday hitting a Major-League low .067 (3-for-45) since the All-Star break with a .248 average overall in 97 games, including 79 starts. He did tally a pinch-hit double in the eighth inning Wednesday.
Asked how long Blanco might be absent from the starting lineup, Bochy said, "It could be a day, two days or longer."
• Lincecum is 3-3 with a 4.59 ERA in nine career starts against the Brewers. Hand has never faced the Giants.
Kevin Massoth is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.