For the second time in a week, Brewers fans found out that an injury to one of the team's players was even worse than originally thought. This time, it could be threatening the entire remainder of a player's 2023 season.
Outfielder Garrett Mitchell had been successfully building off of his 2022 MLB debut and was off to a decent start to the 2023 season. Though he had cooled off a bit recently, through 16 games the 24-year-old was batting .259 with a .772 OPS as well as a double, a triple, and three homers.
But on Tuesday, Mitchell ended up having to leave the game late after an awkward slide into third base and subsequent throw from center field that both had him looked at by team athletic trainers. He would later be placed on the injured list.
No one knew the full extent of the injury at that point, but there wasn't anything indicating that Mitchell was looking at an extended absence yet. That all changed with the update that came out earlier today.
Brewers outfielder Garrett Mitchell may be looking at an extended absence with his shoulder injury.
Upon further inspection, Mitchell apparently has what has been described as "significant damage to the labrum" in his shoulder according to Adam McCalvy, Brewers beat writer for MLB.com. It was also indicated that surgery is likely to repair the injury.
Reporters were able to catch up with Mitchell before tonight's home game against the Boston Red Sox. For his part, the young outfielder seemed surprised by the diagnosis considering how he was feeling physically since the injury.
This would already be the second time this season that a Brewers player suffered a shoulder injury that resulted in surgery that threatened his season. Aaron Ashby had been down all spring with a shoulder injury and then had surgery not too long ago. There is a chance he might not return at all in 2023.
Mitchell's injury now opens the door for some other players. Joey Wiemer should get first crack at the lion's share of the playing time in center field. He's off to a somewhat slow start, slashing .204/.306/.315 in 18 games. But he had two hits in his last game, plays good defense, and is a huge part of the team's future.
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Blake Perkins was called up when Mitchell went to the IL and should see some playing time while Tyrone Taylor, who has been on the IL all season, should be playing rehab games soon. And of course, fans will be wondering when 2021 first-round pick Sal Frelick might be added to the roster, though he is currently out of commission for Triple-A Nashville with a thumb injury.
Regardless of what happens, the loss of Mitchell will hurt. He had been bringing a spark to the team since his arrival last season, has already had some big walkoff moments for the Brewers, and was playing stellar defense in center field.
But injuries are a harsh reality for MLB teams and Mitchell's injury is just another reminder of that. Now, we just wait to hear how much time he'll end up missing.