Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Brandon Woodruff has been on the shelf since late July, but he’s set to return to the active roster in the next week. What kind of role will Woodruff have when he finally comes back?
The emergence of Brandon Woodruff was one of the few positives that have come out of the Milwaukee Brewers pitching staff this year. The team appears to have found a rotation cornerstone for the next few years. The injury he suffered in late July was also one of the biggest problems the team had to overcome this year. There’s really only one that’s even tougher to overcome.
The good news is that Woodruff has been ramping up his workouts for the past 10 days. He should return to the active roster in the next week, but what will his role be?
What was Woodruff out with?
Woodruff suffered a severely strained left oblique on July 21st. Oblique injuries are no joke, and typically take a full six weeks, or longer, to recover from.
What will Woodruff’s role be for the rest of the year?
Woodruff starting playing catch in August, ramped up to bullpen session by the end of August, and tossed a two-inning simulated game this past week.
Woodruff hasn’t been able to rebuild his arm strength to the point that he can throw the 90-to-100 pitches that a starter normally logs. He could still feature as a ‘starter’ who works two-to-four innings, and then gives way to the bullpen. However, he could also function as a multi-inning reliever to take over for a starter in early trouble and bridge the gap to the bullpen.
It’s a shame that the Minor League regular season ended in early September, and Woodruff couldn’t have an opportunity to work his way back properly. Woodruff as a fully stretched out starter posted an 11-3 record with a 3.75 ERA in 20 starts this year. He’s worked 117 2/3 innings and managed to strike out 136 batters while walking only 29.
When will Woodruff return?
It doesn’t sound like there’s an exact time table, but he should be activated at some point during the upcoming homestand.
The Milwaukee Brewers need all the help they can get for the final weeks of the season. Adding even a limited version of Woodruff should provide a boost to the staff down the stretch, but it would have been so much more impactful for Woodruff to return as a starter.