ST. LOUIS -- First baseman Mat Gamel was back in the lineup for the Brewers on Friday night after missing the previous two games following a home-plate collision on Monday.
"He's way better now," manager Ron Roenicke said prior to the series opener against the Cardinals. "He probably could have played the last game at home [Wednesday against the Astros], but he would have been sore. When you're swinging the bat well, usually you get out of whack because of an injury, you try to keep playing, and then all of a sudden your swing changes and things go bad. So we thought with the day off it was a good time to give him both those days. He swung in the cage [Friday] and feels good."
Gamel, who entered Friday hitting .281 with one home run and six RBIs, sustained a sore left shoulder after his collision with Astros catcher Jason Castro in the sixth inning of Monday's 6-5 victory.
"It was just a little sore," Gamel said. "With that kind of collision or whatever, we just wanted to make sure."
After two games and an off-day to rest the shoulder, Gamel was back in Roenicke's lineup batting in the sixth spot behind Corey Hart.
Gamel went 0-for-4 with two groundouts, a strikeout and a flyout as his batting average dropped to .262 in Friday's 13-1 loss.
Roenicke spins rotation for Cardinals' series
ST. LOUIS -- Manager Ron Roenicke discussed his adjustment of the Brewers' rotation, following the season-ending shoulder injury to Chris Narveson. Yovani Gallardo, Marco Estrada and Zack Greinke were set to make starts at Busch Stadium this weekend.
"We've been talking to all the guys figuring out where to put them," Roenicke said. "'Yo we're keeping on his fifth day because he'd rather stay on his fifth day. Estrada we needed to slot in there somewhere. With Zack's 115 pitches in six innings [Monday against the Astros], his arm was tired the next day, so we thought it would be better to give him that extra day.
"Then it just kind of pushes guys back to where they'll be in line. Then the next time around with Estrada, we'll talk again where we are and whether we think guys need the extra days' rest."
Gallardo started the series opener on Friday, and was to be followed by Estrada on Saturday and Greinke on Sunday.
Estrada's start on Saturday will be his second of the season and his ninth appearance. He took a no-decision last Saturday, after allowing one run on two hits over five innings against the Rockies. He struck out a career-high nine batters.
Travis Ishikawa earned some praise from manager Ron Roenicke for his performance in two starts this week while Mat Gamel was out with his sore shoulder.
"He had a nice couple games," Roenicke said. "The last one, starting against the left-hander [Houston's J.A. Happ], that's not always easy. He did a great job."
Ishikawa, a left-handed-hitting first baseman/outfielder, went 1-for-4 with a two-run home run in Tuesday's 9-6 win over the Astros, then went 1-for-3 with a solo home run in a 7-5 loss on Wednesday.
Roenicke was asked what the difference has been with outfielder Carlos Gomez this season. Gomez batted .225 with eight homers and 24 RBIs in 94 games a year ago and is off to a good start this season, hitting .371 with one homer and five RBIs in his first 15 games.
"He's staying on breaking pitches," Roenicke said. "He's not chasing the balls out of the zone. He hit a first-pitch curveball for a home run [on Tuesday against Houston's Brett Myers]. That's amazing. That's really difficult to do. Then the next day he took a slider away and drove it into right-center for a triple. Left-handers and right-handers, he's swinging the bat good against everybody."
Triple-A Nashville lost, 8-1, to the Iowa Cubs on Thursday to extend its losing streak to 10 games as the Sounds fell to 4-17 on the season. Third baseman Taylor Green had two doubles and an RBI in the loss, while pitcher Wily Peralta added two hits.
Pitcher Tyler Thornburg had a memorable day in Double-A Huntsville's 5-4 victory against Mississippi on Thursday. Thornburg earned the win after allowing one earned run (four runs total) on four hits over 5 2/3 innings and helped his cause by hitting a three-run home run in the fourth inning. Thornburg, a third-round Draft pick in 2010 out of Charleston Southern University, is 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA after five starts. He has struck out 33 and walked seven in 28 innings.
Nate Latsch is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.