The Milwaukee Brewers have essentially been without three pitchers for the entirety of the 2023 season. Brandon Woodruff was placed on the IL after just two starts, Aaron Ashby underwent shoulder surgery in the spring, and Justin Wilson was signed while in the middle of recovering from Tommy John surgery.
With just under two and a half months left in the regular season all three of these pitchers are getting close to returning. Here we will provide an update as to where each player is in their recovery and when they might be ready to join the Brewers.
1) RHP Brandon Woodruff
On Saturday, July 22 Brandon Woodruff made his first rehab game appearance with High-A Wisconsin. He threw 32 pitches over 3 innings and touched 97 MPH. The plan with him is to build him up as a starter so that he can rejoin the Brewers rotation.
Milwaukee has indicated that he this will take a minimum three rehab starts, but it could take longer. Best case this puts him back with the team in mid August. His next rehab outing is scheduled to be with the Wisconsin TImber rattlers once again on July 27th.
2) LHP Aaron Ashby
Aaron Ashby recently returned to Milwaukee for a check in. While back in town he indicated that the Brewers are going to build him up like a reliever. This should expedite his return to the mound in which an end of August/early September time frame could be possible.
He is currently up to 30 pitches in the bullpen and is feeling the best he's had in a couple months, but is still working on normalizing his mechanics, regaining velocity, and feeling comfortable with all of his pitches. Once he checks those boxes he will start some rehab games.
3) LHP Justin Wilson
35 year old Justin Wilson has been pitching in Triple-A for quite some time. He has made eight relief appearances, thrown 7.2 innings of baseball, and struck out 11 batters. Per his game log he has not pitched in back-to-back games yet or gone longer than one inning. The Brewers probably won't have him do any of those things for them anyway, so he likely could be activated any day now.
All three of these pitchers will provide a big boost to the Brewers. Brandon Woodruff can single handedly win ball games and help preserve the bullpen. Aaron Ashby and Justin Wilson will both be left-handed weapons for Craig Counsell to have at his disposal. Currently the only lefty in the bullpen is Hoby Milner.
Due to these three pitchers all nearing a return, the Brewers could theoretically not need to acquire a reliever at the Trade Deadline this year. There is a saying that you can never have enough pitchers, but Milwaukee's current group has held down the fort nicely and they are only going to get better as they get healthier. These three arms could be better than anyone the Brewers could find on the trade market.