Brewers Spring Training Quick Hits: Bradley Jr, Injuries, Black, Bettinger
By David Gasper
With spring training underway, there’s no shortage of news about the Brewers to cover.
Let’s take a look at some quick hits on stories to keep an eye on in the coming days as the Brewers continue to get ready for the season.
Brewers Spring Training Quick Hit: Jackie Bradley Jr officially added to Brewers 40 man roster, Tim Lopes (oblique) goes on 60 Day IL
Man, those oblique injuries can sneak up on you. Apparently, on one of Lopes’ swings in a recent spring training game, he strained his oblique and was immediately put on the 60 day IL when Jackie Bradley Jr needed to be added to the roster.
Typically, an oblique strain starts someone off on the 10 day IL, and recovery is normally in a 4-6 week time window. Even on the long end, six weeks falls short of 60 days, so this must be a pretty severe oblique strain.
Lopes was a candidate to be designated for assignment after the JBJ addition, even though he still has minor league options left. By putting him immediately on the 60 day IL, they can keep him in the organization and ensure he gets back to 100% while getting longer looks at other options such as Billy McKinney and Derek Fisher.
Meanwhile, Bradley Jr will appear in his first spring training game on Saturday, per Craig Counsell.
Brewers Spring Training Quick Hit: Ray Black dealing with an elbow injury, will be shut down for a few days
After coming over from the Giants in the Mauricio Dubon/Drew Pomeranz deal, Black has fallen short of expectations. He’s lived up to his scouting report of throwing hard, but he’s struggled to stay healthy and has struggled with command when healthy.
In his last Cactus League outing, Black started off throwing 98 MPH, but after just four batters, his fastball was down to 90 MPH, a huge drop. According to Craig Counsell, Black has some elbow inflammation and will be shut down for the next few days.
It’s just another setback in a long line of them for Black, who will turn 31 years old this summer and is out of minor league options. He dealt with a shoulder injury that took out most of his 2020 season and was facing a tough battle to win a bullpen job this spring.
The Brewers dreamt big on the powerful right arm of Black when they acquired him in 2019, but he’s yet to provide the return on investment the Crew expected.
Brewers Spring Training Quick Hit: Alec Bettinger also has been dealing with an elbow issue
Bettinger‘s elbow issue appears to be a bit more minor than what Black is going through at first glance. He has yet to appear in a Cactus League game yet, but Bettinger is back throwing again and he could be seen soon.
Of the three prospects added to the 40 man roster this offseason, the only one fans have gotten to see in spring training games is catcher Mario Feliciano, who has been a late inning replacement for Manny Pina and Omar Narvaez.
Dylan File had a stress fracture in his elbow and will miss the next few months while Bettinger has his own elbow soreness.
After an abbreviated season last year and a lot of players not even pitching at all, there was concern about pitcher injuries in the early part of 2021, and three pitchers now have been dealing with elbow concerns.
The Brewers are built on depth, and it’s being tested a little bit here early on.