MILWAUKEE -- Rule 5 Draft pick Wei-Chung Wang threw the first of what could be a series of simulated games on Wednesday, designed to push the 22-year-old's development despite a light workload.
The 20-pitch simulated game, with rehabbing Brewers third baseman Aramis Ramirez doing much of the batting, was staged in place of the flat-ground throwing sessions that are routine for other relievers, during which they work on pitches while throwing at less than 100 percent.
Because Wang pitches so sporadically -- six appearances in the Brewers' first 53 games -- Brewers coaches figured he needed something more closely resembling the real thing.
"I think we'd rather do that," Roenicke said. "He threw some really good breaking balls today, some good change-ups. It's something to try to progress his development. It's hard, because we still need him out there, and in a game that we need to get some innings out of him, we want to be sure he's able to throw those."
Wang controlled his effort during the afternoon mound session and was available to pitch Wednesday night, according to Roenicke.
Roenicke said the Brewers would stage future simulated games for Wang "when we think the timing is right."
Aramis agrees to rehab assignment in Minors
MILWAUKEE -- Brewers third baseman Aramis Ramirez was encouraged by a new round of baseball activities on Wednesday and said for the first time that he would finish his comeback with a Minor League rehab assignment if club officials asked him to do so.
Ramirez, on the disabled list since the second week of May with a strained left hamstring, took swings in live batting practice against left-hander Wei-Chung Wang before running the bases for the first time under the supervision of head athletic trainer Dan Wright. Ramirez then took regular batting practice with the team and fielded his position.
"I feel pretty good," Ramirez said. "I can't complain. Everything went according to plan. [The final step] is taking the ground balls and reacting to balls in the field. That's how I hurt it. Running, you can control that a little bit. Playing defense, you just react."
Ramirez and manager Ron Roenicke planned to have a discussion later in the day about a next step. Roenicke said earlier in the week he was trying to convince Ramirez to test his leg in a few games at a Minor League affiliate. That decision ultimately rests with the player, per baseball's Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Class A Wisconsin, based about an hour north of Milwaukee, is home beginning Saturday. The weather forecast is excellent for Saturday, but calls for a chance of rain on Sunday.
"I'm going to talk to Ronnie about it today or tomorrow," Ramirez said. "He wants me to go for one or two games to do a rehab assignment, so when I get close to doing it, I'll do whatever he wants. He's the boss and we have a pretty good relationship."
While hesitating to put a timeline on his return to Major League action, Ramirez said, "It will be sooner rather than later."
"I don't want to put a time on it," Roenicke echoed. "We need him to run a little harder out there, but somewhere [over the weekend or early next week], I think he'll be ready. We'll talk about things, the pros and cons, and see if we can work it out."
Segura enjoying time as Crew's leading man
MILWAUKEE -- Brewers manager Ron Roenicke borrowed a page from old friend Joe Maddon's playbook to spark one sputtering hitter.
The hitter is shortstop Jean Segura, who entered Wednesday's start against the Orioles with 11 hits and a .414 on-base percentage in his first 30 plate appearances since a move to the leadoff spot. The stretch added 21 points to Segura's batting average, which stood at .273 entering the day, and 20 points to his OBP, which was .303.
"I think any time you put a guy in a different situation, you're looking for different things from him," Roenicke said. "Example: Sometimes, if a guy is slumping, Joe Maddon puts him in the leadoff spot. [Evan] Longoria was really struggling, and [Maddon] led him off and I think he got three hits right away and a homer."
That may have been May 28, 2011, when Longoria's batting average had fallen to .209 and he had two home runs in his first 24 games. He had two hits including a homer in his first game batting leadoff.
"Anything to take your mind off of what is going on," Roenicke said. "It can help. I like what [Segura] is doing now, and I hope he keeps it up and we can figure out what's going to happen when [rehabbing third baseman Aramis Ramirez] comes back, where we can put everybody. When everybody is swinging the bats well, we could be pretty deep if we get everybody back."
• Brewers players and front office officials took part Wednesday in the club's annual "S.C.O.R.E. for Excellence Day," a program that emphasizes the importance of school, community, opportunities, role models and excellence. Players, including center fielder Carlos Gomez, pitcher Wily Peralta and infielder Scooter Gennett engaged engage students at Milwaukee College Preparatory School in a dialogue about the importance of those five S.C.O.R.E. elements.