ARLINGTON -- For the first time in more than five weeks, the Brewers' lineup card had Aramis Ramirez's name in the cleanup spot, as the third baseman was activated on Tuesday following a lengthy absence due to a sprained left knee.
Ramirez went 0-for-3 in Milwaukee's 5-1 win over the Rangers before being replaced by Jeff Bianchi at third base to start the bottom of the sixth.
Entering Tuesday's game, Ramirez was hitting .271 with five home runs and 26 RBIs in 54 games this season. The knee has caused him problems all year, and he has had two stints on the disabled list, causing him to miss most of April and July.
"It's just nice to get on the field," Ramirez said before the game. "It's been awhile."
Ramirez elected not to go on a rehab assignment prior to rejoining the team, and he said he doesn't know what to expect with regard to getting his timing back.
"We'll see after I play -- I don't like to get ahead of myself," Ramirez said. "I'm going to face some good pitching here in Texas, and when we get back home, we play St. Louis and Cincinnati. It's kind of a tough road, but we'll see what happens. … It's not the same, I don't care how much [rehab] work you do outside baseball, once you step on the field, it's different."
Manager Ron Roenicke said the plan is to use Ramirez at third base, see how he responds and then most likely use him at a designated hitter in Wednesday's game against the Rangers. After that, Ramirez could be a daily third baseman if things go well, Roenicke said.
"Some guys just come back better than others, but it's usually tough, so I'm interested to see how he's going to do right off," Roenicke said.
For Ramirez, the goal the rest of the season, personally, is quite simple.
"Health," he said. "I want to stay healthy the rest of the year and know I'm healthy and ready to go for Spring Training."
Gindl sent down, but should be back soon
ARLINGTON -- His bags packed, Brewers rookie outfielder Caleb Gindl exchanged the customary handshakes and well wishes with teammates on Tuesday as he prepared to return to Triple-A Nashville after he was optioned to make room for Aramis Ramirez.
It was the second time this season Gindl has been sent down, but it was not all bad news. In his second stay in the Majors, Gindl performed well, with a .293 batting average (17-for-58), a .379 on-base percentage and a .483 slugging percentage in 22 games and 16 starts in the last month.
Moreover, Gindl will likely get to return as a September callup.
"I'll go back down and I'll hit and get myself right back up here," he said.
Gindl, who has hit .294 at Nashville and .282 with Milwaukee this season, said he spent much of his most recent Major League stint talking to older players to learn more about the game at its highest level. Starting pitcher Kyle Lohse was a frequent mentor, Gindl said.
"I talked to Lohse a lot as far as the way he pitches, the way he goes about things, trying to get me a better approach when I face a veteran pitcher, how he's going to go about his business," Gindl said. "I think that really helped me this go-around.
"This time, I learned more. The first time, you're in awe and you don't know what to expect. This time, you really pay attention, you settle down and you really learn a lot more."
The left-handed Gindl was the odd-man out among three young Brewers outfielders, manager Ron Roenicke said. Rookie Logan Schafer and Khris Davis remain with the club.
"It's a tough call, just because he's doing well for us," Roenicke said of Gindl.
Texas homecoming for rehabbing Gallardo
ARLINGTON -- The Brewers' short road trip to Texas provided plenty of comfort for injured starting pitcher Yovani Gallardo, who stayed at home with his family near Fort Worth on Monday night and made strong progress with a bullpen session on Tuesday afternoon.
Gallardo, who pitched for Trimble Tech High School, about 25 minutes west of Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, is likely to pitch on Saturday against the Reds after his injured left hamstring responded well on Tuesday.
"No issues [with the injury] … today was a little bit more intensity, a little bit harder bullpen than normal," Gallardo said.
Gallardo led the Brewers with 33 starts last season but has made only 23 this year, with little chance of throwing 200-plus innings, as he did each of the previous two seasons. He has had difficulty going deep in games in 2013, throwing seven-plus innings in only three starts, while pitching less than five innings six times.
Gallardo said he hopes the break can help him establish some consistency in the final month and a half of the season after he returns.
"That's something that I've struggled with this year," he said about giving his team length. "It's tough, it's been one of those years. But to get the opportunity to go on the DL and work on a few things while you're trying to get back on the mound is important."
Gallardo said his whole family, including son Yovani Jr., 8, and eight-month-old daughter Zayra, were planning to attend Tuesday and Wednesday's games, and he had more hospitable lodging than the team hotel.
"Anytime you get the chance to stay home, that's good," he said.
Thornburg's outing could be his last start for a while
ARLINGTON -- Tyler Thornburg will make at least one more start for the Brewers, on Wednesday, but the starting rotation is about to undergo a shakeup now that Yovani Gallardo is set to return later this week.
"Something will have to happen there when Yo comes back," manager Ron Roenicke said. "We're not going to go with six starters right now, so somebody will slide back to the bullpen, and then somebody's going to have to go out."
It could be Thornburg, who will be making his third start of the season for Milwaukee. The rookie right-hander hasn't allowed an earned in his two starts, lasting six innings in both, with five walks and 10 strikeouts. He scattered seven hits in his previous start, last Saturday in San Francisco.
"The last two starts were a good building block, and I hope I can keep it going," Thornburg said.
Thornburg has a 1.72 ERA in 31 1/3 total innings with Milwaukee this year -- significantly better numbers than he has had at Triple-A Nashville, where he was 0-9 with a 5.79 ERA in 15 starts. But he had 87 strikeouts in 74 2/3 innings there.
"I really didn't feel like I was pitching that bad down there," Thornburg said. "But at the same time, since I've been up here, I've been able to lock in a little more and really actually pitch instead of trying to get a lot more strikeouts down there."
Dave Sessions is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.