Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Get Outta Milwaukee, Injury Bug

If I had a penny for every injury the Milwaukee Brewers suffered in 2013, I’d have enough to buy, well nothing, because pennies are a ridiculous waste of time. But I’d have about 35 cents. In other words, the Brewers were viciously attacked by the injury bug a season ago, and if they expect to compete in 2014, they had better hope it flies away and finds another team to torment. The St. Louis Cardinals would be the preferred choice.

By the end of 2013, the Brewers had placed 15 different players on the disabled list (four with season-ending injuries). Below is a chronological list of Milwaukee’s disabled.

  • Mat Gamel – Torn right ACL – 60-day DL (out for season)
  • Jeff Bianchi – Left hip bursitis – 15-day DL
  • Taylor Green – Left hip labral injury – 60-day DL (out for season)
  • Corey Hart – Right knee surgery – 60-day DL (out for season)
  • Mark Rogers – Right shoulder instability – 60-day DL
  • Aramis Ramirez – Left knee sprain – 15-day DL
  • Chris Narveson – Sprained middle finger – 15-day DL
  • Tom Gorzelanny – Left shoulder tendinitis – 15-day DL
  • Hiram Burgos – Right shoulder impingement – 15-day DL
  • Jim Henderson – Strained right hamstring – 15-day DL
  • Marco Estrada – Strained left hamstring – 15-day DL
  • Ryan Braun – Right thumb contusion – 15-day DL
  • Alfredo Figaro – Strained right oblique – 15-day DL
  • Aramis Ramirez – Sprained left knee – 15-day DL
  • Yovani Gallardo – Strained left hamstring – 15-day DL
  • Rickie Weeks – Left hamstring surgery – 60-day DL (out for season)

Two of the Brewers best offensive weapons (Braun and Ramirez) dealt with injuries throughout the season, never being able to fully produce. At one point, Braun was unable to grip a bat due to severe thumb pain, and Ramirez’s pain in his left knee never ceased. It’s hard to have a potent offense when your two stars are debilitated.

The likes of Donovan Hand and Burgos were forced to make spot starts because of injuries to the rotation. The Brewers started 12 different pitchers last season, two seasons removed from starting six.

Let me be clear. The abundance of injuries was not the reason the Brewers were 14 games under .500 and 23 games back of first place, but it certainly didn’t help.

Going forward, Milwaukee’s offense should be better than last year. Braun is back for a full season and the permanent additions of Khris Davis and Scooter Gennett should boost production. The rotation still has its issues and it’s unclear what it’ll look like. But, if injuries become a recurring problem, all of that is moot.

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Tags: Milwaukee Brewers

  • Novak

    Something that nobody talks about – I’ve wondered if the WBC had an early impact on the team; to go along with the injuries, etc.

    The Brewers sent Braun, Gomez (dropped out), Lucroy, Gallardo, Estrada, Axford, Henderson, Green, Maldonado, Burgos, and Bianchi.

    Luc, Gallardo, and Estrada started the season slowly. Green, Bianchi, and Burgos fell to injury early. Maldonado was bad throughout, but I think he’s a classic case of needing consistent playing time anyway. Braun didn’t struggle, but he also did the WBC in 2009 and knew what to expect (and even then dealt with the hand injury). Henderson and Axford are questionable, although I think both were bad in spring training.

    The Brewers pitching was horrid in the first half – Gallardo and Estrada with the WBC, Lohse signing late, Peralta starting slow and improving throughout the season (rookie arc), Narveson (injury), Fiers (performance then injury in AAA), Burgos (injury), Gorzelanny (injury), etc, etc.

    Food for thought.

    • Justin Schultz

      This is a good thought. The Brewers sent 13 (14 if Gomez didn’t drop out) players within the organization to the World Baseball Classic which was more than any other team. They didn’t get the usual time in Spring Training to get back into the swing of things. They were thrust into game action right away. I think this was definitely a factor in Milwaukee’s struggles.

  • orbrewer

    Between injuries and suspension, Braun and Ramirez were in the starting lineup together for only 28 games last season.

    • Justin Schultz

      And that was one of the main reasons why the Brewers offense suffered. It’ll be nice to have them both back in the lineup. Hopefully, they’ll be the dominant hitters they were in 2011.

      • orbrewer

        There’s two stats about last season that shows to me that a healthy team will compete for the division. One is the one I already posted. The other is that the Brewers lost 42 of their 88 games by one or two runs. You have to figure having Braun and Ramirez together in the lineup for 150+ games will boost the offense so that we win a considerable chunk of the close games we lost last year.

        We went from leading the league in runs per game in 2012 to below league average in 2013. Dropped 0.84 runs per game.

        • Justin Schultz

          You’re more optimistic than I am. The offense will be better but the pitching staff is still a big question mark.