The Milwaukee Brewers are expected to be without two of their pitchers to begin the season. Aaron Ashby is expected to miss multiple months with shoulder fatigue and now Jason Alexander is in the same boat.
Brewers pitchers and catchers have just reported to camp, so both of these issues stem back to problems that presented during the offseason. Neither Ashby nor Alexander played in a Winter League, but pitchers still go through a throwing program of their own.
What is the impact of both Ashby and Alexander potentially being out multiple months extending into the Brewers regular season?
Both Ashby and Alexander have the ability to work in similar roles. Both pitchers made starts for the Brewers last year as well as worked in long relief. On the depth chart, both were expected to compete for the sixth starter spot, if the Brewers decide to go that route.
Looking further at the two, Ashby was a lock to make the Opening Day roster. The Brewers have him secured on a long term extension and when healthy he is a force to be reckoned with on the mound. His struggles last year began mid-season (2.70 ERA through his first 40 innings), which was right before he was first placed on the injured list. Because this dates back to last year, the Brewers are being extremely cautious with Ashby's timeline to return.
On the other hand, Alexander was expected to start the year in the Minor Leagues. He started 2022 from the outside looking in on the 40-man roster, but ended up carving out a role due to multiple injuries in the starting rotation. Over 71.2 innings last year he posted a 5.40 ERA that included 11 starts and 18 total appearances.
With these injuries, other pitchers who will be competing for the sixth starter spot include Adrian Houser, Bryse Wilson, and Janson Junk. Of these three, both Houser and Wilson are out of Minor League options. Houser likely is not in danger of losing a spot on the active roster, but these injuries may present an opportunity for Wilson to make the Opening Day roster.
With these injuries presenting before a single Cactus League game has been played, it appears as if the injury bug may be following the Crew into the 2023 season. The good news is that hopefully Ashby and Alexander take care of themselves now so that they do not have to miss time later in the regular season.