Milwaukee Brewers: Brandon Woodruff to return soon?

Matthew Dewoskin
PHOENIX, ARIZONA - JULY 21: Starting pitcher Brandon Woodruff #53 of the Milwaukee Brewers reacts after giving up a two-run home run to Alex Avila (not pictured) of the Arizona Diamondbacks during the second inning of the MLB game at Chase Field on July 21, 2019 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, ARIZONA - JULY 21: Starting pitcher Brandon Woodruff #53 of the Milwaukee Brewers reacts after giving up a two-run home run to Alex Avila (not pictured) of the Arizona Diamondbacks during the second inning of the MLB game at Chase Field on July 21, 2019 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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The Milwaukee Brewers have been without starter Brandon Woodruff since hitting the Injured List on July 22nd. Could he return to the Major League roster soon?

The last time we heard from Milwaukee Brewers starter Brandon Woodruff, he had just progressed to playing catch, and was still working his way back from an oblique strain. The Brewers clearly miss their All-Star starter, but is there any chance he can return before the end of the year…or before the Brewers are eliminated from contention…whichever comes first?

What’s the latest on Woodruff

Woodruff has moved from playing catch to playing long toss. That’s good. However, time isn’t on Woodruff’s side.

The concern is that there’s not enough time left on the Minor League schedule to allow Woodruff to complete a rehab program with live games. The Milwaukee Brewers could allow Woodruff to work his way back with simulated games and batting practice, but it’s not quite the same as actual, live game action against hitters coming to the plate with a plan.

Could Woodruff return to the bullpen?

There hasn’t been an official announcement of any sort, but let’s think about this logically.

If Woodruff returns to the Milwaukee Brewers in mid-September, it may make more sense to have him work in relief. Eight weeks away from the Majors is a long lay off. Woodruff may not have the time to rebuild his arm strength to the point where he can take the ball every fifth day and throw 90-to-100 pitches. The bullpen could make sense depending on when Woodruff can return.

Is there a chance Woodruff doesn’t return in 2019?

This really depends more on how the team performs in the month of the season than Woodruff, but, yes, there’s a chance that Woodruff doesn’t come back to the Milwaukee Brewers in 2019. If the Brewers are eliminated from playoff contention by the time Woodruff is ready to return, it makes zero sense to bring him back.

The Milwaukee Brewers are three games out of the division with Elimination Number of 32. They’re also three games out of the second Wild Card with an Elimination Number of 32. There’s a good chance that they’ll still be in contention by the time Woodruff is ready to return, so he should still make an impact down the stretch.

Next. Is Devin Williams an impact arm?. dark

Woodruff has become the Milwaukee Brewers de facto ace, and would almost assuredly be in a better position to make the playoffs with him still on the roster. They could still use him for the final few weeks, but he needs to start progressing to a return in the next week or two if he’s going to make an impact down the stretch.

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