Following the Brewers’ 9-3 win over the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday evening, the team announced the Alfredo Figaro was the latest Brewers player to succumb to injury.
Citing an oblique strain that popped up three starts ago — which would help explain the downtick in performance as well — Figaro was placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to Monday, June 24th. The big news of the move though was who was recalled to take his place both on the roster and in the starting rotation.
Top prospect, the 6’9″ fire-balling righty Johnny Hellweg was recalled from the Triple-A affiliate Nashville Sounds. He’ll join the team officially tomorrow and travel to Pittsburgh on Thursday evening in preparation for his Major League debut.
After a slow start to the season, Hellweg modified his approach on the mound with spectacular results so far. Over the last month, Hellweg has made four starts (he was held out for a stretch to conserve innings) and posted the following line:
4-0 record, 0.67 ERA, 27.0 IP, 20 H, 3 R (2 ER), 1 HR, 7 BB, 12 K, 2 HBP, 1.000 WHIP
He’s been pitching a bit more to contact, worrying less about the strikeout, and letting his defense work. Ironically, he’s currently scheduled to square off against Gerritt Cole, the top pitching prospect for the Pirates who also has been conspicuously devoid of strikeouts since his MLB debut. He’s another fireballer who has let his natural movement and disdain for pitching outside the zone work to his advantage.
Hellweg was called upon because, as manager Ron Roenicke put it, they needed another starter with Figaro getting hurt. Still, there’s something telling about Hellweg coming up for an audition in advance of the trading season. Hellweg represents the spearhead of a wave of touted pitching prospects reaching the upper levels of the Brewers’ system. That he was a part of the return in the Zack-Greinke-to-Anaheim deal along with Jean Segura just makes his debut that much more exciting.
Bottom line: Set your DVRs for Friday night in Pittsburgh if you aren’t going to be home. As for me?
My wife and kids are going up north on Friday morning. I’m considering a road trip to Pittsburgh for Hellweg’s debut. Who’s coming with me?
— The Brewer Nation (@BrewerNation) June 26, 2013