HOUSTON -- Martin Maldonado, the recently-promoted catcher, did not have to think very long when asked which pitchers impressed him at Triple-A Nashville.
"We've got two young guys who are really good," Maldonado said. "At some point, this year or next year, they will be here."
He was referring to 22-year-old Wily Peralta and 26-year-old Michael Fiers, right-handers who started the season at Double-A Huntsville but finished strong in Nashville. Peralta was 2-0 with a 2.03 ERA in five Triple-A starts, with 40 strikeouts versus 11 walks in 31 innings. Fiers was 7-0 with a 1.21 ERA in seven starts and two relief appearances, with 65 strikeouts and 22 walks in 59 2/3 innings.
They attack hitters with contrasting styles -- Peralta features a power arsenal, while Fiers uses finesse. Maldonado said there were nights that Fiers' fastball sat in the 86-88-mph range, but he still carved through lineups. He throws his fastball, cutter and changeup from precisely the same slot, and hitters have trouble picking up the baseball.
"Very different pitchers," said Maldonado, who did think of one similarity: "They know how to throw."
General manager Doug Melvin said one of the pitchers was under consideration for a September callup after Nashville's season ends on Monday.
Peralta has the benefit of being on the 40-man roster, but the Brewers do have one open spot.
"You'd like them to come up if they have a chance to pitch a few innings, [not] just to be here," Melvin said. "The problem is, our games are all meaningful games. Teams that are out of the race, when [their affiliates] are done playing, they can get those guys."
Green gets first big league start
HOUSTON -- Taylor Green got the heads-up on Friday night that he would make his first Major League start on Saturday at third base against Bud Norris' nasty slider. Somehow, he got a great night's sleep.
"I'm ready to go," Green said.
Good thing, because he was due for more firsts in a week that was full of them. He singled in his first Major League at-bat on Thursday against the Cardinals, and sparked his first winning rally with another single on Friday night against the Astros.
He stayed hot on Saturday, going 2-for-5 with his first multi-hit game, his first double and first career RBI.
Green also got his first opportunity to play defense on Saturday. The scouting report on his defense sounds similar to incumbent third baseman Casey McGehee: Good hands, accurate arm, so-so range.
Offensively, Green has already impressed manager Ron Roenicke.
"It looks like he's going to battle up there," Roenicke said.
The Brewers stacked the lineup with left-handed hitters against Norris -- including shortstop Craig Counsell. It was a good day to rest regular shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt, who was hit on the right elbow by a pitch during the eighth inning of Friday's win. Betancourt did not require X-rays, but was in some pain on Saturday.
"It got him pretty good [on Friday]," Roenicke said. "I could use him for defense and hitting if I want, but he's pretty sore."
Family emergency pulls Kranitz away
HOUSTON -- The Brewers' thoughts this weekend are with pitching coach Rick Kranitz, who was forced to take temporary leave from the team on Friday after his mother had an unexpected medical emergency in Las Vegas.
Kranitz was in contact with his temporary replacement to help the team game plan for the Astros. Bullpen coach Stan Kyles moved to the dugout to serve as pitching coach, and veteran bullpen catcher Marcus Hanel covered for Kyles.
Kranitz told manager Ron Roenicke he expected to return on Monday or Tuesday, during the Brewers' series in St. Louis.
"[Game planning] is really one of his strengths. He's one of the best I've seen," Roenicke said. "That is going to be hard to replace. I think he's helped Stan with what he needs to do, but I [usually] rely on him in the dugout."
Kranitz is in his first season as Brewers pitching coach, and has drawn universal praise from players. The staff entered Saturday ranked seventh of 16 National League teams with a 3.66 ERA.
Kyles has experience as a pitching coach. He served in that capacity with the Brewers' Triple-A affiliate before a promotion to the big league bullpen in November 2008.