It's a little easier for Tyler Thornburg to adjust to facing Pacific Coast League hitters after spending some of the season with parent club Milwaukee. After all, he's faced enough Major Leaguers to know what he's up against.
The Triple-A Nashville right-hander, making his third start since coming back down from the Brewers, allowed one unearned run on six hits over five innings Monday. He struck out five and didn't issue a walk, but didn't factor into the decision after the Sounds fell to the Salt Lake Bees in 12 innings, 5-4.
The Brewers' No. 5 prospect has gotten an extended taste of big league life this season, making his debut in a spot start June 19 and then spending much of July with the team, mostly coming out of the bullpen.
"The main difference is when you're throwing to Triple-A guys, there's one or two in the lineup that you really make sure to go over the scouting report well for, cause they're gonna be big league hitters," he said. "In the bigs, obviously, they're all big league hitters, so you have to bear down on every single pitch to every single guy."
It's been quite the ride for the 2010 third-rounder this year. MLB.com's No. 98 prospect pitched for Double-A Huntsville until early June, going 8-1 with a 3.00 ERA, striking out 71 and walking 24, over 75 innings
Then he skipped Triple-A to make his Major League debut June 19, allowing five runs in 5 1/3 innings against Toronto. After that, he made one start for the Sounds, a July 4 victory over Memphis, before heading back to Milwaukee.
He made four appearances, including one start, with the Brewers, amassing a 4.16 ERA over 8 2/3 innings. All told, he has posted a 5.79 ERA with 12 strikeouts and seven walks in 14 frames for the parent club.
Now the 23-year-old is firmly planted back in the Nashville rotation, a situation he appreciates after seeing what life in the bullpen is like.
"It was really, really hard to get into a routine. I'm definitely happy that I'm starting again," he said. "In the bullpen, you're always in a situation where guys are swinging a lot more than they are early in the game. You're in there for one, maybe two innings sometimes. And every run counts, every batter really, really matters."
In his four PCL starts this season, Thornburg is 1-0 with a 1.80 ERA, 24 strikeouts and only six walks in 20 innings. Despite moving around a bit the past few months, he's been able to pitch well. Still, it hasn't been the easiest.
He's gone from an apartment in Huntsville to a hotel room in Milwaukee to a friend's couch in Nashville back to Milwaukee and now an office room back in Nashville.
"It was honestly pretty tough," he said. "I was on another guy's couch in his hotel room, and then contemplating sleeping in my car a couple nights to save some money. I was lucky that I had my bed with me from Nashville and the office room was available. There's no door or anything. It's a tiny little room, but I can put my bed in it."
He knows, though, that he's at least not too far away from being permanently settled in the Majors.
"I'm definitely excited to get back up there and compete for a job next year," he said. "I think you try to get used to [moving] as much as possible, but you always feel more comfortable when you get settled in a place and know where you're living, where everything is. Hopefully I'll get that soon."
Edwin Maysonet powered the offense, driving in three runs, while Sean Halton fell a homer short of the cycle.