Brewers News: Impact Of Aaron Ashby's Delayed Start To Spring Due To Injury

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Arizona Diamondbacks v Milwaukee Brewers / Kayla Wolf/GettyImages

Pitchers and catchers haven't even reported yet and the Brewers are dealing with an injury to their pitching staff.

Brewers GM Matt Arnold confirmed on Wednesday that starting pitcher Aaron Ashby will be delayed in getting started at spring training this year due to "shoulder fatigue".

A couple of weeks ago at the Brewers Hot Stove and Cold Brews Event, Aaron Ashby said he was dealing with a little bit of shoulder fatigue in his offseason work. At the time, it was unknown if that would impact his spring training schedule. We now know that it will.

The Brewers have stronger pitching depth heading into 2023, but it's facing an early test before spring training even gets started with Ashby's injury.

Last year, the Brewers didn't have enough quality pitching depth behind the top group. This year, they seem to be in a much better position. They've signed veteran Wade Miley back and have added talented, controllable arms such as Janson Junk and Bryse Wilson, who will compete for rotation spots.

Ashby was likely pushed out of the top five rotation spots with the addition of Miley, but was sitting in a pretty good spot to earn the 6th starter job, operating as a long reliever out of the bullpen. If he's unable to get his spring training work underway quick enough, he may start the season on the IL. That opens that 6th starter job to other candidates.

Adrian Houser may see a lot more bullpen duty in 2023 and he's out of minor league options. As the veteran of the group with plenty of big league experience and history in the organization, he's the immediate favorite to step right into that 6th starter job.

Bryse Wilson and Janson Junk both now have clearer paths to a roster spot with the injury to Ashby. Both were told to come to camp to compete for the starting rotation when they were acquired this offseason. Wilson is out of minor league options, which makes this spring training crucial. Provided the rest of the top starters remain healthy, carrying Ashby, Houser, and Wilson in the bullpen seemed like an unlikely situation and Wilson would have been the one on the cut line in that scenario. Junk has options but if performs well in spring training, it's much easier to see him being able to at least earn an Opening Day roster spot.

It's unclear how long the shoulder fatigue for Ashby will last. With pitchers and catchers reporting next week, we know he'll at least be delayed through then. The longer he's unable to pitch as he rests the shoulder, the more likely it is he begins the season on the IL, but we're not at the point yet where that will definitively be necessary.

You can never have enough starting pitching depth. The Brewers learned that lesson after last year and they're already on their way to testing if they'll have enough rotation depth for 2023.

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