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Woodruff has history with oblique injury

Right-hander expected to miss six weeks due to strain
@AdamMcCalvy
July 23, 2019

MILWAUKEE -- Unfortunately, Brewers starter Brandon Woodruff has experience coming back from an oblique injury. He’ll rely on that while navigating his current stint on the injured list, which the club estimates will sideline the All-Star right-hander six weeks. “I had one in 2015 [at advanced Class A Brevard County],

MILWAUKEE -- Unfortunately, Brewers starter Brandon Woodruff has experience coming back from an oblique injury. He’ll rely on that while navigating his current stint on the injured list, which the club estimates will sideline the All-Star right-hander six weeks.

“I had one in 2015 [at advanced Class A Brevard County], but it was further back,” Woodruff said in his first comments since an MRI scan offered a firmer timeline for his return. “I think it lasted a month to the day from it happening; I was pitching in games again. But this is a little different spot. Further up front. [Six weeks] is about what I expected when they told me.

“I’ve been through it. It sucks. It’s a slow process. But you can’t rush it. That’s the worst thing about it; you don’t want to come back too early and then reinjure it and it be even worse. So it’s something I’m going to have to take my time with and be smart with. That’s going to be the toughest thing because we’re right in the meat of the schedule and I really want to be out there pitching. I just have to be smart and take things slow.”

How Woodruff's injury could impact Brewers

On first glance, the timing couldn’t be worse for Woodruff and the Brewers, who are 16-4 when he takes the mound. But Woodruff and manager Craig Counsell each pointed out a positive:

1) He should be able to pitch again this season. That gives Woodruff something to work toward.

2) He was hurt on Sunday in Arizona exactly 10 days shy of the July 31 Trade Deadline. Had the injury occurred after that date, president of baseball operations David Stearns would have been denied an opportunity to do something about Woodruff’s absence. This year, the July date is a hard trade deadline.

“You just deal with injuries as they come,” Counsell said. “Probably better before than after [the Deadline], I would say. There is probably more options to consider, but we lost a good player. There’s never any good timing with that. The Trade Deadline, from David’s perspective, is probably more independent of that stuff and more of a function of what’s out there on the marketplace and what kind of deals he thinks he can make to help us.”

Woodruff said he would try to be the best cheerleader possible during his absence, but veteran Gio Gonzalez shouted a correction from across the room: Be a teammate, Gonzalez stressed, not just a cheerleader.

The good news, Woodruff said, was that he was already starting to feel better.

“The big test is, for me, getting out of bed and laying down and this morning was a lot better,” he said. “I was able to get up pretty easy. So that’s a good sign for me and hopefully each day it keeps getting better.”

Last call

• Second baseman and reigning National League Player of the Week Keston Hiura returned to the lineup Tuesday, a day after he was a late scratch because of left quad tightness.

“We have to keep these guys healthy,” Counsell said. “Fifty-five to 60 games is more important than one game. You’ve got to keep that in perspective.”

• The Brewers and their longtime flagship radio station, Newsradio 620 WTMJ, have agreed to extend their radio rights agreement with a multiyear extension, the terms of which were not disclosed. WTMJ has been the flagship for all but two seasons since the franchise moved to Milwaukee in 1970.

• The Brewers introduced a new policy for carry-in bags this week that they will begin enforcing next season, when only single-compartment bags will be allowed. The aim is to speed the flow of fans through stadium security, said club spokesperson Tyler Barnes, who encouraged fans without any carry-in bags to use express lanes already in place this year.

• As he hinted Monday, Counsell said the Brewers would proceed for now with a four-man rotation in the immediate wake of Woodruff’s injury. That means Gonzalez, Chase Anderson and Zach Davies were tentatively scheduled to start the team’s upcoming three-game series against the Cubs. An off-day Thursday means everyone will pitch on at least regular rest.

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram and like him on Facebook.