Brewers Deadline Pickup John Curtiss Suffers Torn UCL, Out for Season

Aug 8, 2021; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Milwaukee Brewers pitcher John Curtiss (46) throws a pitch during the sixth inning against the San Francisco Giants at American Family Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 8, 2021; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Milwaukee Brewers pitcher John Curtiss (46) throws a pitch during the sixth inning against the San Francisco Giants at American Family Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports /
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It’s not been a fun two weeks for Brewers reliever John Curtiss.

Just minutes before the 2021 MLB Trade Deadline, the Milwaukee Brewers agreed to a trade with the Miami Marlins, sending catching prospect Payton Henry to Miami in exchange for righty reliever John Curtiss. At the time, it was seen as a strong move to add quality depth to a shallow bullpen.

In the week and a half since joining the Brewers, Curtiss has allowed runs in five of his six outings, and left his most recent one with the training staff. In his last two outings, he had an inexplicable drop in velocity on his fastball.

Now we know why.

Brewers reliever John Curtiss has suffered a torn UCL and will be out for this season and most, if not all of 2022.

This is the worst possible news for Curtiss and the Brewers. Milwaukee was counting on him to help out the bullpen down the stretch this year and going forward. Now, he’s done for the year with a torn UCL.

Torn UCLs means Tommy John Surgery, which means 12-18 months of recovery. At the minimum, that puts his return to pitching at August/September 2022. That’s just about the end of the regular season, and that’s the best case scenario with a fast recovery. With even the slightest delay in his rehab from the fastest possible track, he’s not going to pitch at all for the Brewers in 2022.

Luckily, if there is any good news in this, Curtiss is under team control through 2025. That means, that when he returns, likely at the beginning of the 2023 season, the Brewers will still have three full years with him in their bullpen. Granted his first few outings didn’t go well, but given the nature of his injury, something had likely been going on with his elbow either shortly before or shortly after joining the Brewers.

Now, the only depth addition the Brewers made at the deadline for their bullpen is Daniel Norris, who also hasn’t gotten off to a strong start with Milwaukee.

The bullpen is getting some internal help though, as it was just announced that Justin Topa will be activated and available out of the bullpen after a strong debut season last year.

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This is a tough blow to a bullpen that has been dealt so many in recent weeks, but most of those other blows were short-term Covid IL stints. This blow to Curtiss is a longer-term issue.

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