Shaun Marcum is downplaying his latest battle with shoulder soreness.
The Milwaukee Brewers right-hander will be eased into action at spring training in Phoenix, said manager Ron Roenicke.
"We’re going to back him off a day," Roenicke told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Thursday. "Just a little tender, a little bursitis. Not as bad as it was last year. But there’s a little bit."
Marcum, whom the Toronto Blue Jays trade to Milwaukee on Dec. 5, 2010 for third baseman Brett Lawrie, missed one start last spring due to a stiff right shoulder.
"I think everybody gets aches and pains and soreness in spring training," said Marcum, who was limited to 68 pitches in his final spring start a year ago and was on a lower pitch count to start the regular season because he wasn’t properly stretched out.
Marcum, 30, missed the entire 2009 season following elbow ligament replacement (Tommy John) surgery.
Barring another setback, he is scheduled to pitch March 10 in a split-squad game against the Chicago Cubs or San Francisco Giants.
Roenicke said Marcum will be held to six spring training starts after tossing 200 innings in the regular season and another 9 2/3 innings in the post-season in which he allowed 16 runs for an ugly 14.90 earned-run average.
Marcum was much more effective in 33 regular-season starts, posting a 13-7 record and 3.54 ERA while striking out 158.
"[I] don’t need to throw 20 innings in spring training. That’s pointless," he said. "Spring training is so long for everybody, by the end of it you’re wasting pitches and wasting time. Nobody needs seven starts to get ready. Usually five or six are plenty."