Pittsburgh welcomed closer Matt Capps back from a seven-week stay on the disabled list prior to Saturday night's game against the Brewers. Relievers T.J. Beam and Romulo Sanchez were sent to Triple-A Indianapolis, while Jason Davis was moved to the bullpen to make room in the rotation for Tom Gorzelanny, who started Saturday's game.
Capps, placed on the DL with right shoulder bursitis on July 2, made six rehab appearances among three Minor League stops and didn't give up an earned run in 6 2/3 innings.
Capps appears set to resume ninth-inning duties rather than get his feet wet in middle relief.
"Obviously, he's passed all the rehab tests, so he's ready to go," Russell said. "I'm sure he's going to be champing at the bit if we have a lead in the ninth."
Capps pitched his final rehab inning on Wednesday and threw a side session on Thursday, just to make sure he could go on back-to-back days. Still, he's a little rusty.
"I feel like I'm in the third week of Spring Training," Capps said. "The important thing is, I'm healthy. I feel good and no pain."
Capps is feeling fit, too, after losing a dozen pounds during his recovery and scaling in below 250 at last check. Capps credited the slim-down to more home cooking, a successful workout regimen and wiser food choices, such as wheat bread instead of white bread or holding the sour cream on tacos. He's still not where he wants to be.
"At some point, I'd love to come into Spring Training at 235," Capps said. "That's going to be hard to do before the year is over. I think that's a pretty good goal for me for the offseason, coming into Spring Training in great shape and hopefully never having to experience the DL again."
Sanchez and Beam might not be gone for long. They are prime candidates to be called up when the rosters expand on Sept. 1. Sanchez, who has bounced between Indianapolis and Pittsburgh this summer, gave up three runs in five big league appearances for a 3.52 ERA. Russell praised Beam, who went 1-1 with a 4.01 ERA in 33 2/3 innings since June.
"They did a nice job, especially T.J.," Russell said. "He's very much in our future plans. I just told him to go down there for a short period of time and continue to work."
Davis got squeezed out of the rotation with the return of Gorzelanny, which lets him return to a familiar relief role. The right-hander made 63 relief appearances and no starts with Cleveland and Seattle in 2006 and 2007.
This year, Davis has already racked up 140 innings between Triple-A and the Majors. He was yanked after giving up eight runs in 3 2/3 innings on Wednesday in St. Louis, his third and apparently final start.
"He's thrown a lot of innings already this year, a lot more than he did last year," Russell said. "And with the extra starters we've got, it gives us an opportunity to put him in the bullpen. We'll still be able to use him, just not rack up as many innings."
Nick Zaccardi is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.