Brewers Manager Pat Murphy Gives Update On Garrett Mitchell, Final Roster Spots

Right before Opening Day, the Brewers manager gave some news updates on key players
Milwaukee Brewers Workout
Milwaukee Brewers Workout / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

Just a day before 2024 Opening Day, a lot of things are still in flux for the Milwaukee Brewers with plans for the season and getting the roster ready to go.

A major wrench was thrown into those plans when starting outfielder Garrett Mitchell suffered a hand injury that will put him on the injured list to start the season. That opens a roster spot and will have to change plans for playing time for several other players to fill the gap.

Manager Pat Murphy was on the Mike Heller Show on 97.3 The Game in Milwaukee on Wednesday and gave several updates on Mitchell and the ensuing fallout from his injury.

Garrett Mitchell Injury Timeline

After seeing a hand specialist, Garrett Mitchell is going to be out for 6-8 weeks to start the year, Murphy revealed. That gives him a mid-May return at the earliest and possibly a June return for the Crew's projected starting centerfielder. He will not need any surgery.

This timeline isn't entirely surprising. Mitchell will need a few weeks without swinging a bat to let the fracture heal and then he'll need to ease back into baseball activities and ramp back up to being ready to face big league pitching. Sometimes it can take a while for a hitter to recover from a hand injury because of how important the hands are when it comes to hitting.

Sal Frelick third base experiment put on pause

Murphy also told Heller that Sal Frelick is going to move back to the outfield after the big story all spring was that he was moving to third base and spending more time in the infield. Frelick will be the starting centerfielder against righties.

This is the most logical move and hardly a surprise. With Mitchell out and Joey Wiemer already optioned to the minor leagues, Frelick is the only remaining starting caliber option in the outfield mix after Christian Yelich and Jackson Chourio. Blake Perkins will make the team, but Perkins is not going to start over Frelick on a regular basis.

This means playing time at third base has opened up though.

The battle for the final roster spot looks to be over

One of the toughest decisions the Brewers have had to face this spring has been how many catchers they will carry. William Contreras is entrenched as the starter while Eric Haase signed a major league deal and then late in the offseason the Brewers also signed Gary Sanchez. Sanchez has a bigger contract, even though both are on one year deals, and is expected to get a lot of DH at bats, which leaves Haase as the 3rd catcher.

Haase has played so well in spring that he's been worthy of consideration for a spot but carrying three catchers is a tough ask for any team. According to Murphy, the Brewers are indeed leaning toward carrying only two catchers, which would leave Haase as the odd man out.

Instead, the player earning that final spot is probably going to be Oliver Dunn, a trade pickup from Philadelphia this offseason. Murphy said Dunn will be "hopefully joining the Opening Day roster". Dunn was previously sent to minor league camp but the Mitchell injury since then has changed the roster calculus.

Dunn is an infielder that can play second or third base and will likely split time with Joey Ortiz and Andruw Monasterio over there as well as possibly splitting some time with Brice Turang at second base.

Opening Day being postponed now to Friday due to rain in New York should help give Dunn enough time to join the team before the first game and make the roster since Murphy said he's hoping to have him.