While it seems like the injury bug just doesn't stop biting the Milwaukee Brewers early on this season, some things are getting better on the health front.
The Brewers have three key big league pieces on rehab assignments and they are going to return to the big league roster soon. When they do, a corresponding player will have to be sent back down off the roster to make room.
Here are three players likely to lose their roster spots when Adrian Houser, Tyrone Taylor, and Gus Varland return from the injured list.
Candidate to be sent down #1: RHP Colin Rea
Colin Rea has done a serviceable job in the rotation in the absence of Brandon Woodruff. He's made three turns through the rotation and has a 5.17 ERA. He's been plagued by the big inning but has overall been able to keep the Brewers in the game.
However, when Adrian Houser returns from the injured list, he's likely to lose his rotation and roster spot. The Brewers have been stretching Houser out despite their initial plans to put him in the bullpen this year. With the injury to Woodruff, a spot has opened in the rotation once again for Houser and he's very likely to slot right back in and take the spot of Rea.
Houser himself is out of minor league options and he's coming off a down year last year. But Houser has shown the ability to be a solid starting pitcher in the past and the Brewers would much prefer to roll with the higher ceiling and higher floor of Houser over Rea.
Rea does have a minor league option remaining and the Brewers are likely to use it and send him back down when Houser is ready.
Candidate to be sent down #2: OF Blake Perkins
Tyrone Taylor has been out all year so far with an elbow injury that popped up early in spring training. As the rest of the Brewers outfield has dealt with injuries to Garrett Mitchell and Sal Frelick, the return of Taylor becomes all the more important to the Brewers.
The Brewers called up Blake Perkins for his MLB debut after Mitchell and Frelick were injured on the same day. Perkins is 1-for-8 with a single and four strikeouts and hasn't been able to crack the starting lineup much since being called up.
When Taylor comes back, he'll join an outfield with Christian Yelich, Joey Wiemer, and Brian Anderson. Taylor can play all three outfield spots and likely to see a lot of starts as the Brewers can push Anderson to the infield whenever they desire. There won't be much room for Perkins on the roster once Taylor is back and he'll go back to Triple-A Nashville where he can get everyday playing time.
Candidate to be sent down #3: RHP Tyson Miller
Gus Varland is on a rehab assignment from his hand contusion and the Brewers will be excited to get him back, although the choice on who to send down to make room for him in the bullpen will be difficult.
There are three legit candidates who could be optioned down; Elvis Peguero, Jake Cousins, and Tyson Miller. It's difficult to choose between them because there are reasons to like all of them. Peguero has been excellent in his two appearances since being recalled and hasn't allowed a run. I think he's earned the right to stay so far.
Between Cousins and Miller, it's a toss up. I chose Miller but it could just as easily be Cousins. Cousins' prior history with the organization makes me think they might be more likely to keep him up and send down Miller, a newcomer to the organization this year. We haven't seen Miller in a big league game yet since his call up. Cousins has appeared in one game so far, but didn't allow a run in his 1.2 IP
As the Brewers get some of their players back from injury, some of the players who filled in will need to be sent back down and we could be seeing these three players drop off the big league roster soon.