New Brewers hurler Eric Lauer was expected to compete for a rotation spot in 2020. After missing so much time, when might he be added to the roster?
In the offseason trade that shipped Zach Davies and Trent Grisham off to the San Diego Padres, the headliner of the return for the Brewers was deemed by most to be shortstop Luis Urias. Many expected that he would push incumbent starting shortstop Orlando Arcia for playing time at the position.
Things have not quite gone as planned for Urias since then. He suffered a wrist injury in Spring Training that was set to delay the start to his season before MLB shut everything down. Then, after it appeared that the delayed season would allow him to start his year on time after all, he would end up being one of three Brewers players to test positive for COVID-19 prior to Summer Camp.
While Urias still has not seen any Summer Camp action with the Brewers, left-handed pitcher Eric Lauer, who was acquired by Milwaukee in the same trade as Urias, made his summer debut with the team on Sunday. He did so after going through a similar bout of bad luck as Urias did.
Lauer was pitching well in Spring Training and looked to have a good shot at making the team before suffering a shoulder injury toward the end of Spring Training that was going to keep him sidelined through Opening Day. Healthy again going into Summer Camp, his attendance was delayed when he came in close contact with another individual who tested positive for COVID-19.
The lefty finally got his first action of Summer Camp on Sunday and looked good in his limited work. So how long will it take for him to find himself on Milwaukee’s active roster?
How were his summer and spring for the Brewers?
Despite the long layoff, Lauer looked outstanding in his Summer Camp debut for the Brewers on Sunday. Starting for the Blue Team, he worked one inning and retired all three batters he faced via strikeout. The first two batters were mowed down on six straight strikes.
His momentum, however, began during Spring Training. Lauer pitched 5 1/3 innings over three games, giving up just a run, a walk, and three hits while striking out 9 of the 20 batters that he faced.
As Adam McCalvy wrote for MLB.com earlier in the spring, Lauer and a number of other Brewers pitchers spent time refining pitches at the team’s pitching lab in Arizona. The results of the work were promising considering how he looked during Spring Training, which made it that much more unfortunate that he had to get shut down early.
When might Lauer get added to the Brewers roster?
While there is a good chance that Lauer finds his way on to the team’s active roster at some point this season, there is one thing we know for sure. He won’t be on the team by the time Opening Day rolls around.
It’s possible that there could be some opportunities for Lauer once he’s ready to return, though. The team announced on Monday that starter Brett Anderson will begin the year on the injured list. They are also waiting for details on Ray Black, who was removed from his scrimmage outing on Sunday with a possible shoulder injury.
There is a chance that a domino effect created by those openings could result in Lauer being added to the active roster sooner rather than later. But as the regular season carries on, the active rosters shrink – to 28 after two weeks and to 26 two weeks after that. The longer it takes for Lauer to get added to the roster, the more likely it is that he must wait for an injury or poor performance to join the Brewers.
It’s hard to imagine a scenario in which Lauer doesn’t end up on the active roster at some point this year. If anything, the fact that his inclusion is even a question just speaks to the depth that the Brewers have at the position.