MLB Insiders - Milwaukee Brewers

The Pirates open a three-game series in Milwaukee on Friday night. The Bucs will start lefty Zach Duke. The Brewers will counter with lefty Manny Parra.

The Pirates go for their sixth win in seven games against the Brewers as the NL Central clubs open a three-game series Friday night in Milwaukee.

Zach Duke (10-11, 3.38 ERA) will take the mound for Pittsburgh looking to set a career high with his 11th win - and first against Milwaukee in nearly three years.

Duke is 0-3 with a 6.66 ERA in five starts against the Brewers since beating them Sept. 11, 2006. All five of those games were at Miller Park, where he's 0-4 with a 6.35 ERA in eight career starts.

The Brewers will hand the ball to Manny Parra (8-10, 6.54), who was tagged for eight runs - five earned - in 3 1-3 innings of an 8-3 loss at Washington on Sunday. The left-hander is 1-1 with a 2.31 ERA in two career starts against the Pirates.

Trevor Hoffman has not been in this position for quite some time.

"I've been a 10-and-5 guy for a long time," said Hoffman.

Hoffman referred to his previous status with the Padres, for whom he played 16 years. Any player with at least 10 years in the majors and five with his current club can veto a trade.

Hoffman, 41, doesn't have that status in his first year with the Brewers, however. FoxSports.com reported he had been claimed on waivers by an unnamed club, setting up a possible trade with that team.

Brewers general manager Doug Melvin wasn't available for comment Thursday but said earlier in the week that he didn't think he'd be offered enough to trade a veteran player before Aug. 31, the deadline for being eligible for postseason play.

Teams regularly put players on waivers after the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline to see who clears and who doesn't. If a player is claimed, his team can pull him off waivers and keep him.

Hoffman has converted 27 of 29 save opportunities while compiling a 1.85 ERA over 40 games. Thus, he'd be attractive to any contending team having closing problems, such as Philadelphia.

Hoffman also projects as a Class A free agent, meaning the Brewers could get two high draft picks if they keep him, offer him arbitration and he signs elsewhere. Hoffman said he likes Milwaukee and is open to returning in 2010.

REDS 8, BREWERS 5: The Brewers led 4-0 after one inning, thanks mostly to Prince Fielder's three-run homer. And Dave Bush, in his first start since June 20 (triceps tear), pitched no-hit ball for three innings.

Then it all fell apart in the fifth, beginning innocently enough with a two-out walk to Cincinnati pitcher Justin Lehr. Before the inning was done, five runs had come across the plate and the Reds were en route to a three-game sweep of the Brewers. Playing bad teams has only served to sink the Brewers, who are 7-12 in a stretch of 22 consecutive games against teams with losing records.

NOTES, QUOTES

--C Jason Kendall has been hit by pitches 13 times this season, the second-highest figure in the NL. Kendall has been hit by pitches 244 times in his career, fifth on the all-time list.

--The Brewers matched their season worst of five games under .500 (61-66) by getting swept by Cincinnati. They had not been five under since they were 4-9 on April 21.

--RHP Yovani Gallardo's pitch count has been a source of concern for the Brewers this season. Gallardo's pitch counts have risen early in games because he ranks among the league leaders with 80 walks and 179 strikeouts.

BY THE NUMBERS: 110 -- RBIs for 1B Prince Fielder through Sunday. The club record is 126 by Cecil Cooper in 1983.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I think some guys just tend to put more pressure on themselves and that's what I did." -- INF/OF Bill Hall, after being traded to Seattle. Hall was referring to getting a four-year, $24 million contract after a big year in 2006, a season he never came close to repeating.

ROSTER REPORT

--RHP Mike Burns was optioned to Class AAA Nashville to make room on the roster for RHP Dave Bush, who started against Cincinnati. Burns was 3-5 with a 6.10 ERA in 13 games, including eight starts.

--2B Felipe Lopez was back in the lineup after missing a start because of a strain between his right arch and big toe. Lopez wasn't running close to full speed but told manager Ken Macha he was feeling good enough to play. He doubled twice but limped noticeably on the bases.

--RHP Mark DiFelice continued to struggle out of the bullpen when he surrendered four hits and two runs in an 8-5 loss to Cincinnati. DiFelice has a 10.97 ERA (13 earned runs in 10 2/3 innings) in his last 15 appearances.

MEDICAL WATCH:

RHP Dave Bush (minor right triceps tear) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 21. He began a minor league rehab assignment July 10, but he felt arm fatigue after a July 15 start. He was activated Aug. 27.

RHP Jesus Colome (strained right forearm) went on the 15-day disabled list Aug. 21.

OF Corey Hart (appendectomy) went on the 15-day disabled list Aug. 3. He will miss up to a month.

RHP Seth McClung (right elbow discomfort) went on the 15-day disabled list July 25.

2B Rickie Weeks (torn tendon sheath in left wrist) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 18, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on June 14. He had season-ending surgery May 20.

RHP David Riske (right elbow tightness) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 10, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on June 4. He had season-ending Tommy John surgery June 2.

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