Brewers: Diving Into Jesse Winker's Injury History

Oakland Athletics v Seattle Mariners
Oakland Athletics v Seattle Mariners / Steph Chambers/GettyImages

As of December 2, Jesse Winker is a Milwaukee Brewer. Winker came over from Seattle to Milwaukee along with Abraham Toro in the Kolten Wong trade. Coming off of a stellar 2021 season with Cincinnati, Winker didn't meet expectations in his year with the Mariners.

Winker is an outfielder, which isn't exactly a position of critical need for the Crew, even after trading away Hunter Renfroe. Top prospects Frelick, Wiemer, and Ruiz are estimated to join Garrett Mitchell and the current outfield sometime this season. Especially considering his injuries and his feeble defense this past season, it's likely Winker will spend more time at DH than in the outfield.

Jesse Winker has earned the reputation of a "Brewer killer" and has historically raked at American Family Field. It's a relief that the next time he plays at American Family Field it won't be against the Crew.

However, Jesse Winker's injury history, especially recently, causes some concern that he'll be able to be a regular contributor to the Brewers' lineup.

Winker had two surgeries after missing the end of the 2022 season with the Mariners, one on his knee and a second on his neck. More concerning is that season-ending injuries are nothing new for the outfielder, who spent the end of the 2018 and 2021 seasons on the IL as well as time being injured in the 2019 season.

In 2018, it was a partial dislocation of his right shoulder that required season-ending surgery. In 2019, he spent the month of September out with a neck strain. Winker made it through the shortened 2020 season healthy, but 2021 was the same old story. He returned early from a rehab assignment due to an intercostal strain and promptly reaggravated the injury, ruling him out from mid-August through the end of that season.

On the bright side, Winker hasn't made any excuses for his lackluster performance in Seattle. He's committed to working hard to perform at a high level and become a difference-maker for the Crew. Another good sign— Winker has Opening Day in his sights. We likely won't get any more details about his timetable for quite some time, but it's a good sign to see that Opening Day hasn't been ruled out by Winker or his doctors yet.

Injuries have plagued Winker in recent years. Since debuting in 2017, he hasn't played a full-length season in the Majors without suffering a long-term injury. The most amount of games he's played in a season is 136, which happened this year as he battled through two injuries. Prior to that, 113 games in 2019 was the most he played.

Can Milwaukee be the fresh start he needs to bounce back from his latest injuries? Or will 2023 be the same old story, just in a different uniform?

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