After navigating through a number of injuries throughout the first half of the 2022 season, the Milwaukee Brewers are finally (with the exception of a key utility man) healthy on offense. The same can’t be said for the pitching staff.
Pitching was expected to be the strength of this Brewers team, and while it still is, injuries have made the pitching staff more vulnerable at times. Some of those players have returned from injuries, but two starters and a small handful of relievers remain on the injured list.
Luckily, reinforcements are on the horizon. One of those two starters and three relievers are currently out on rehab assignments across various levels of the minor leagues. So, let’s check in and see how that quartet has been doing so far.
Here is an update on four Brewers pitchers who are currently out on rehab assignments.
RHP Freddy Peralta
Possibly the biggest blow to the Brewers pitching staff came with the loss of Freddy Peralta. After an excellent 2021 that saw him make his first All-Star game, the righty made eight starts earlier this year before being sidelined with a strained lat muscle all the way back in late May.
Peralta finally made his first rehab start for the Triple-A Nashville Sounds last Sunday. It was a two-inning appearance that saw him give up a run on one hit (a solo homer) and a walk with three strikeouts. He threw 33 pitches, 22 for strikes.
Last night, he made rehab start number two. This one lasted a little bit longer at 3 1/3 innings. This time, Freddy gave up just an unearned run on three hits and no walks while striking out five. He extended his pitch count to 52, 38 of which being strikes.
Gaining a pitcher like Peralta off the injured list is as good an acquisition as almost any starter the Brewers could get at the trade deadline. He’ll need to build up that pitch count further, but hopefully it’s not too far into August before the team’s No. 3 starter returns.
RHP Luis Perdomo
Luis Perdomo came into the season with a borderline chance to make the team’s 2022 Opening Day roster. He wouldn’t end up making it, but in then May, he would finally be added to the team’s 40-man and 26-man rosters.
Perdomo would get seven appearances in for the Brewers before the injury bug would force him to the injured list on May 28th with a right elbow effusion. Of the four pitchers on this list, he has made the most rehab appearances.
Perdomo has made six appearances with the Nashville Sounds, five of which lasting one inning and his most recent lasting 2/3 of an inning. Three of those appearances were scoreless innings that saw him face the minimum three batters. The other three saw him give up a run apiece, one of which was on a home run.
Overall, Perdomo has pitched 5.2 innings and given up three earned runs (4.76 ERA) on three singles, a double, and a homer. He has struck out six batters while issuing one walk. He shouldn’t need many more rehab outings before he’s ready to come back.
RHP Justin Topa
After a decent initial showing for the Brewers in 2020, the thought was that Justin Topa could be a key reliever for the team in 2021. A flexor strain at the beginning of the season would delay that opportunity, but he would finally get his chance later that season.
Though his first outing would go well, his next three would not as he would give up 11 earned runs over 2.1 innings. Then the news got even worse as it was revealed an elbow injury was shutting down his season for good. For a pitcher with multiple Tommy John surgeries in his history, that’s never a good sign.
Topa is nothing if not resilient, though, and he is finally out for some rehab appearances. His first was at the Arizona Complex and though he hit the first batter he faced on his second pitch of the outing, he ended up facing the minimum after inducing a double play and a strike out.
His next two outings were for Nashville. On Tuesday, Topa pitched an inning and got all three batters to ground out. Then on Thursday, he pitched his third scoreless inning in as many outings, this time giving up a first pitch single and a walk before inducing a ground out and a double play to get out of the eighth inning.
RHP Jake Cousins
Jake Cousins was another reliever who seemingly came out of nowhere for the Brewers, this time in the 2021 season. And like Topa, he was expected to be a key bullpen piece in his sophomore season, except in Cousins’s case he actually got that chance.
Things looked a little off from the get-go for Cousins and after surrendering four runs in his first eight innings, he was not only sent to the IL, but it was also later determined that he had an issue with his UCL. However, instead of having Tommy John surgery as can often happen in his case, Cousins opted to attempt to rehab the injury and try to come back later in the season.
It appears as though that will still have a chance to happen as Cousins made his first rehab appearance on Tuesday. It was a nice, tidy outing as he faced three batters and threw just seven pitches, striking out two and forcing a ground out.
He has since joined the above trio at Nashville and had his first rehab appearance there on Friday night. He started his outing off with a pair of singles, a run-scoring fielder’s choice, and a walk before ending the inning with two consecutive strikeouts.
Want your voice heard? Join the Reviewing The Brew team!
This is all great news for four pitchers that the Brewers could really use down the stretch. By the time September rolls around, perhaps all of them will be back on an MLB roster.