The Brewers have already navigated plenty of injuries prior to the 2021 All-Star break, enough to last a full season to be honest. Yet the initial announcement of a pitcher injury by the Brewers on Friday may have been one of the most frightening, at least at first.
Devin Williams last appeared in a game for Milwaukee prior to the break, throwing a scoreless inning of relief and giving up a hit with a strikeout in a loss to the Reds on Sunday. It was his sixth scoreless outing in a row and 14th in 15 games.
Williams continues to be one of the most important parts of the team’s bullpen. So you can forgive Brewers fans for possibly envisioning a nightmare scenario when Saturday’s news was announced by the team on social media.
“Elbow discomfort” is never something you want to hear with regards to pitchers. Sure, a relatively vague phrase like that could point to something minor, but it’s also not surprising if one has immediate fears of an injury that involves Tommy John surgery.
Luckily for Milwaukee Brewers fans, it sounds like this Devin Williams injury news isn’t worst-case scenario.
Once word of the Williams injury broke, there was hope that some clarity on the situation would follow. Thankfully, less than an hour after that announcement, MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy relayed word from Brewers president of baseball operations David Stearns that the IL move was more precautionary than anything.
Williams emerged in 2020 as one of the most dangerous pitchers in the league for the Brewers. With a miniscule 0.33 ERA and a 17.7 K/9, he went on to win both NL Rookie of the Year and NL Reliever of the Year for a Milwaukee team that made a franchise record third straight playoff appearance.
After rehabbing a shoulder injury during the offseason that delayed his start in the spring, Williams got off to a rough start to 2021. He gave up four earned runs on three hits and five walks over his first four outings, good for a 9.82 ERA and eventually a brief respite from high-leverage outings.
But things had been looking much better for Williams. After his most recent scoreless outing, his ERA dipped below 3.00 for the first time all season (2.97) and he was looking much more like the dominant force at the back of the bullpen as he did in 2020.
Any extended absence by Williams would be terrible news for a Brewers team that has playoff aspirations yet again. Luckily, it sounds like things are trending more toward a shorter IL stint for one of the best pitchers in the game.