If only because we’ve had a day off to hopefully unwind, here’s a recap of what we learned this week as it relates to the roster, lineup, rotation and injuries…
Playing it safe
Kyle Lohse was officially scratched from his next scheduled start with what was described as “elbow irritation” by the team. They said it was minor, that they aren’t worried and that Lohse is penciled in to make a start against Minnesota next week. However, and understandably regardless of what they said, Lohse underwent a precautionary MRI to determine whether there was any structural damage to the elbow. It was reported that the elbow is “structurally sound” but that the areas of inflammation causing the irritation are not to be messed with. So after pitching with this ailment for a couple of starts, rest has become a necessity. Lohse has been the Brewers best starting pitcher so far this season. Whatever it takes to get him back on the field quickly must be done. After all, they can’t afford (financially or performance-wise) for things to get to the worst-case scenario.
Back on the front burner
As for the short term, that missed start — Saturday against the Pirates — will be made instead by Mike Fiers. Fiers has pitched in relief since rejoining the Brewers almost two weeks ago but was starting down in the minors after having been optioned due to ineffectiveness. Fiers began the season in Milwaukee’s rotation but was moved to the bullpen and eventually sent down after just one start. So much like last season, Fiers gets his second chance filling in for a pitcher with a balky elbow. Hopefully though Lohse will only miss one start unlike Shaun Marcum last year who missed many more than that.
Batting practice, running part of a Hart healthy diet
Speaking of missing a lot of time, we got an update on another Brewer on the comeback trail from injury, Corey Hart. Hart was recently cleared to run without restriction and began taking light batting practice and fielding grounders hit right at him. If he continues to respond well the target right now is for him to begin a rehab assignment in roughly 10 days from right now. It was also reported that Hart will make the next road trip with the Brewers to continue preparations for that assignment. It’ll be a long enough rehab stint to hopefully have Hart firing on all cylinders when he returns.
Injured southpaws on the mend
It was learned that Tom Gorzelanny threw live batting practice this week and could return to the roster as early as tonight. (Stay tuned!) The bullpen has been pitching very well lately despite his absence but before hitting the DL with shoulder tendinitis Gorzelanny was pitching key innings for manager Ron Roenicke.
Chris Narveson has also begun to throw as he rehabs the sprained middle finger on his pitching hand. Narveson may throw live batting practice prior to tonight’s game and be sent out on rehab assignment soon.
If you’re asking me, I’d be shocked if Narveson doesn’t ramp back up to start despite his initial role this season having been as a reliever. After all, the team said that part of the reason Narveson was in the bullpen to start the year was to limit his innings coming off of shoulder surgery. It’ll be mid-June before he’s back. He’s missed plenty of innings.