PHOENIX -- If Zack Greinke seems ahead of the curve, it's because he's gotten a chance to use it more often. The curveball, that is.
The Brewers right-hander said Tuesday -- after he held the Mariners to just one hit and one walk, while striking out five in three innings of work at Maryvale Baseball Park -- that he's been able to hone his offspeed repertoire earlier than in years past, accelerating his progress this spring.
"I need to work on all that stuff," Greinke said. "The fastball was pretty good coming in, so I wanted to work on pitching a little bit, mixing speeds, which some people aren't doing yet and it might be why I've done a little better than usual to start the spring. Usually I'm just fastball-changeup early on."
Greinke said he used his curve sparingly Tuesday, mixing it in with his slider and changeup. He also said he was able to use his cut fastball more than he's been able to recently, since the Seattle lineup had more left-handed hitters than he's seen recently.
"Today I threw it a decent amount," Greinke said of the cutter. "There were a couple that weren't perfect, but it came along pretty well and I was happy with that. Now, it's pretty much just not falling in love with it and using it in the right spots."
Greinke was making his third appearance and second start of the spring and now has allowed just one earned run in seven innings of work, striking out 11. He threw 48 pitches on Tuesday, and said he'll ramp up his pitch count to 55 or 60 in his next start.
Marcum making progress toward return
PHOENIX -- Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said he was encouraged by the progress pitcher Shaun Marcum has made the last few days, leading up to a bullpen session on Tuesday in Phoenix.
Marcum, 30, is still slated to join the Brewers for the season-opener but has been battling shoulder soreness and was scratched from his scheduled Cactus League start on Saturday.
"He's going to get up on the mound today, throw a little bullpen and we'll see how he comes out of that," Roenicke said Tuesday morning. "And if that's good, just catch, and another bullpen the next day. He's coming along pretty good."
Marcum, who missed the 2009 season to recover from Tommy John surgery, has logged at least 195 innings each of the last two seasons -- the most recent for the Brewers, when he won 13 games.
Roenicke said "if everything went perfect" that Marcum would still be on pace join the Brewers on Opening Day, but would be on a restricted pitch count.
"But if you remember last year, he was so efficient with his pitches," Roenicke said. "He would throw his 80 pitches and could be in the sixth inning, easily."
Morgan back in lineup after missing two days
PHOENIX -- Brewers outfielder Nyjer Morgan was back in action Tuesday, after being hit in the head by a Barry Zito curveball during Saturday's game against the Giants and taking two days off. The Brewers had an off-day on Monday.
"All good," said Morgan, who went 2-for-3 and stole two bases against the A's on Tuesday. "It was an unfortunate little incident but I'm fine now."
Morgan was hit in the top of the first inning on Saturday and stayed on base and took the field in the bottom of the frame before coming out as a precautionary move in the second inning.
On Tuesday, he was slotted in the No. 2 spot in the lineup and played right field.
"He does a nice job defensively," manager Ron Roenicke said. "Whether we put him in center or right."
Morgan said he felt fine on Sunday, but said Major League Baseball has been playing close attention to head injuries and he felt there was no need to rush back to action.
"I would have definitely played the next day, but it was March 10," Morgan said. "So we were just being safe."
Manager Ron Roenicke said he visited reliever Juan Perez at Maryvale Hospital during the Brewers' off-day on Monday and said the pitcher seems to be doing well after being hospitalized on Sunday morning with a partially collapsed left lung.
"He's not happy being in there," Roenicke said. "He's doing fine and he's set up fine, but the way he's feeling, he doesn't want to be in the hospital. He wants to be here pitching. He knows that he had a good chance to make our team. I don't know what's going to happen there. They're going to look at it today and I'm hearing different things for how many days he needs to be there."
Perez, 33, has played in parts of three seasons for the Pirates and Phillies, posting a 1-1 record with a 4.79 ERA in 32 relief appearances. The left-hander was a non-roster invitee to Spring Training and pitched well enough early on to gain serious consideration for the bullpen, yielding no runs and two hits while striking out two over the course of three appearances and 3 1/3 innings.
Reliever Brandon Kintzler, who was shut down on Friday after experiencing pain in his throwing arm, will meet with doctors Tuesday after an X-ray Monday was inconclusive.