Brewers get one pitcher back from IL; What role can be expected from Jakob Junis?

Jakob Junis will rejoin the team this weekend after spending most of the season on the 60 day IL
Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Jakob Junis (35) pitches during the first inning of the game against the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday April 2, 2024 at American Family Field in Milwaukee, Wis.
Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Jakob Junis (35) pitches during the first inning of the game against the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday April 2, 2024 at American Family Field in Milwaukee, Wis. / Jovanny Hernandez / Milwaukee Journal
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The Brewers will finally get some pitching reinforcements from the injured list this weekend in San Diego. After missing nearly the entire first half of the season with a shoulder injury, Jakob Junis will return Friday night against the Padres. He was signed by Milwaukee to a one-year, $7MM contract this past offseason.

The role of Jakob Junis is currently listed as "TBD". Junis' lone game this year came in an early April start against the Minnesota Twins. He pitched four innings, allowing just one run, while striking out four batters. In his two rehab starts, Junis threw just 4.1 total innings, but he only allowed a single run, on one hit, and two walks. His last two outings have been simulated games down in Arizona with no official stats. The Brewers will have options on how they want to use the returning arm.

In order to make room on the active roster, the Brewers optioned Bradley Blalock back to Double-A. Blalock was able to make his MLB debut on Thursday night with a scoreless inning. The 40 man roster is back at capacity.

Who is Jakob Junis?

Junis made his MLB debut back in 2017, and the 31 year-old has since tallied over 717 innings, while making 111 starts. He pitched five seasons for the Kansas City Royals, before signing with the San Fransisco Giants in 2022. After two seasons with the Giants, Junis came to Milwaukee this off-season and was expected to be in contention for a starting role. Junis has a career 4.63 ERA, but more impressively he holds a WAR of 7.2 throughout his career.

As of right now, the Brewers have elected to give Carlos Rodriguez another start on Saturday, but if it's another short outing, we may see Junis in a long relief role. We could see Junis back in the rotation as soon as next week, but for the time being that is still up in the air. The Brewers ultimately are just happy to have another long arm in the mix.

The Brewers pitching staff has been depleted this season. Even guys who were called up/given opportunities have failed to stay healthy. The most recent victim was Robert Gasser, who's third opinion this week suggested he won't make a return this season. Gasser has left elbow soreness and will undergo Tommy John surgery this week, keeping him out for about 12 months. Fortunately, the Brewers will hopefully see DL Hall back in the mix soon, as he had a good outing in Triple-A this past week.

While the Brewers will still need more pitching reinforcements to make it through the season, getting Junis back is a welcome sight. He can start if needed or relieve, and that versatility is sorely needed.

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