Having not played in a game since being pulled early from Sunday’s series finale against the Cardinals, Brewers fans probably were expecting an IL stint for Christian Yelich as this week dragged on. Yet word continued to be that the former MVP was day-to-day.
In fact when he joined Friday’s Brewers-Pirates television broadcast, Milwaukee president of baseball operations David Stearns had stated that the team was hoping to see a return from Yelich some time over this weekend, meaning that IL stint wasn’t necessarily inevitable.
Apparently that is no longer the case as it turns out that Yelich will indeed end up missing some more time. Brewers manager Craig Counsell confirmed as much to reporters before Saturday’s game against the Pirates before the team made the move official.
It’s true that Yelich did show some progression from his injury on Friday, which is what led to Stearns’ comments. It’s more what the team observed on Saturday that resulted in Yelich’s trip to the IL.
A stint on the IL means that Christian Yelich’s attempt at a bounceback season for the Brewers will be put on a brief hold.
One of the major keys for success for the 2021 Milwaukee Brewers always revolved around a bounceback season by their best player, Christian Yelich. Fans were starting to see the old “Yeli” show himself, at least somewhat, which makes the timing of the injury that much more unfortunate.
Through his first nine games of the 2021 season, Yelich was batting 10 for 30 (.333) with a .828 OPS in 37 plate appearances. Though he had just one extra base hit on the season, he’d already scored eight runs and swiped a couple bags, putting him halfway to his 2020 total already.
Although his strikeout rate through nine games was on par with his elevated 2020 rate, that trend was starting to reverse in recent games. After tallying nine strikeouts in his first four games of the season, Yelich had punched out just three times in his most recent five games.
With Yelich and fellow outfielder Lorenzo Cain both on the shelf, the Brewers have largely been relying on Jackie Bradley Jr and Billy McKinney in their place. The former had three hits off the bench in Monday’s win over the Cubs while the latter is in the midst of a six-game hitting streak.
In his place, the Brewers decide to reinforce the bullpen with the return of reliever Eric Yardley. The right-hander who was optioned to alternate training site just a few days ago has had a rough start to 2021, giving up earned runs in three of five appearances and currently sitting with a 9.00 ERA and a 2.000 WHIP.
The loss of Cain to the IL put the Brewers’ solid outfield depth to the test. It appears as though the addition of Yelich to the IL will test it even futher.