MILWAUKEE -- Frustration has turned to elation for Brewers pitching prospect Angel Perdomo, who earned his first call to the Major Leagues this week after spending all of Summer Camp in isolation due to a positive test for COVID-19.
Perdomo, a 6-foot-8 left-hander who was promoted Thursday along with fellow pitching prospect Drew Rasmussen, was one of two Brewers players who tested positive for the novel coronavirus prior to the start of camp. Like the other player, infielder Luis Urías, Perdomo had little or no symptoms throughout the ordeal, yet he followed doctors’ advice to remain quarantined at his apartment in Arizona until he attained clearance to emerge.
“I was definitely very frustrated during the whole time,” Perdomo said via Brewers translator Carlos Brizuela. “But I was very thankful I had a lot of people on my side, making sure I stayed positive and reminded me that everything is on God’s time. Just stay positive and keep my mind right. They knew eventually I was going to get out of it.”
Perdomo, 26, kept his arm in shape with resistance bands and weights. He threw pitches into his couch. When he was cleared to get outside, he ran along a river adjacent to his apartment complex. Eventually, he was assigned to the Brewers’ alternate training site in Appleton, Wis., to await a call to the Majors. It came from Brizuela’s older brother, Eduardo, who is the Brewers’ director of Minor League operations.
While Rasmussen’s ultimate role remains to be determined, Perdomo profiles as a reliever. He flashed dominant stuff last season between Double-A Biloxi and Triple-A San Antonio, using his power fastball and exceptionally long frame to log 107 strikeouts in 69 1/3 innings.
“I've never had to hit against him, but I've played catch with him, and when he releases that thing it feels like the ball is at your chest already,” Rasmussen said. “If it's uncomfortable to play catch with him, I can't imagine it being a super-comfortable at-bat. … It's like he's handing it to you at 100 miles an hour. It's not the most enjoyable thing ever.”
What’s next for Burnes?
Why did manager Craig Counsell and assistant athletic trainer Dave Yeager visit Corbin Burnes on the mound during Thursday’s loss to the Cubs? Burnes was having trouble with command, and Counsell worried it was related to recent treatment for minor discomfort in one of his knees. But Burnes assured the men he was fine, and he remained in the game.
“It hasn't been bugging him at all,” Counsell said. “Most players have something going on and we generally don't talk about it, but if there's an instance when we see something that looks out-of-whack, we're going to go make sure. The term 'abundance of caution' seems to be popular this year, so I'll put it in that category.”
Burnes has been pitching in tandem with left-hander Brett Anderson, but may be needed in the rotation now that Eric Lauer has been optioned down. The Brewers don’t need a starter in Lauer’s spot until next weekend in Pittsburgh, so it may be several more days before Counsell announces his plan for Burnes.
• Ryan Braun was absent from the starting lineup for a second straight game by design, according to Counsell, who wants to use Braun in the field on Saturday or Sunday against the Cubs and said Braun needed the additional time to let his right index finger heal. Braun underwent a procedure earlier this month to relieve an infection near his fingernail.
“The plan was to play him two days then give him two days [off],” Counsell said. “We've tried to let the finger heal because he was still having some residual [pain] in the finger when he was throwing. But you'll likely see him in the lineup Saturday or Sunday. He's available to play.”
• Logan Morrison, who was designated for assignment earlier this week when the Brewers promoted Urías, cleared waivers and, as expected, declined an outright assignment to the alternate training site. That makes Morrison a free agent. He’d made clear both in Spring Training and Summer Camp that it was big leagues or bust.
“We weren't expecting him to go to Appleton,” Counsell said.
• With Saturday’s weather forecast looking ominous later in the day, Saturday’s Brewers-Cubs game was preemptively bumped up to a 2:20 p.m. CT first pitch. The game originally was scheduled to begin at 7:15 p.m.