MILWAUKEE -- Brewers left-hander Brett Anderson has a history of developing blisters on his pitching hand at the start of the baseball season, and he’s tried everything to speed the healing. Well, almost everything. Urinating on his hand, Anderson said, is a bit too far.
Bottom line, Anderson knows when he’s ready to resume pitching, whenever that time comes. Milwaukee's weekend series against the Cardinals, in which the lefty was set to start the Miller Park home opener on Saturday, has been postponed due to positive COVID-19 tests for St. Louis. The Brewers are now set to play their first home game of 2020 on Monday night, against the White Sox.
“Arm feels good. Body feels good,” said Anderson, who inked a one-year deal with the Brewers in December, coming off a healthy season in Oakland. “For the first time out, I don’t expect to throw a complete game by any stretch, and go out there and be [like Cubs Opening Day starter] Kyle Hendricks, I don’t think. But I can give our team a chance, keep us in the game and let the game dictate how long I go.”
Anderson has received regular treatment since developing a blister on his left index finger during Summer Camp that landed him on the Brewers’ 10-day injured list. The humidity was a factor, Anderson said, compared to the dry air in Arizona that typically allows him to build up resistance to blisters during a normal Spring Training. But after navigating a simulated game at the Brewers’ Alternate Training Site on Sunday and a bullpen session on Wednesday morning, he was confident that the issue was behind him.
“If I can get through this weather with the moisture and everything like that, then I should be good to go with the dome or nice weather going forward,” Anderson said.
The Brewers haven’t yet had a starting pitcher work past the fifth inning, though Tuesday starter Josh Lindblom might have had a chance had he not developed cramping or spasms in his back. Part of that is by design; with Anderson coming off the 10-day injured list on Friday, the Brewers essentially have seven starting pitchers on the staff: Brandon Woodruff, Adrian Houser, Freddy Fermin, Eric Lauer, Lindblom and Anderson. Manager Craig Counsell has suggested that the rotation could be fluid from game to game as the Brewers seek matchup advantages.
Tandems are possible, as well. Anderson went up and down three times in his last simulated game, throwing 18-19 pitches per “inning” and getting more than three outs in at least one of them.
“It’s all to be determined,” Anderson said. “Depth’s obviously a positive thing in any season, let alone this one with the way things have gone. It’s all hands on deck. ... I’ve always been a starter and I expect to be a starter, but as far as tandem stuff, that’s to be determined.”
Perdomo back in action
After missing all of Summer Camp following a positive test for COVID-19, left-handed pitching prospect Angel Perdomo has cleared protocols and has been an active participant at the Brewers’ alternate training site in Appleton, Wis.
He was one of two Brewers players, with infielder Luis Urías, who tested positive for the virus before intake testing for Summer Camp. Both Urías and Perdomo have since been activated.
Anderson included Perdomo among the young pitchers who’d impressed in Appleton.
“He looks like … a younger Aroldis Chapman,” Anderson said. “He has stuff that's special from the left side, and if he can harness it in certain directions towards home plate, he's going to be special, because he's big and he slings it. If he can throw strikes and throw competitive strikes, he has the arm to be special. And then [No. 9 prospect Drew] Rasmussen, I saw him a little bit [in Summer Camp at Miller Park], but he's got a phenomenal arm, especially coming back from two Tommy John surgeries. He's high up on the Brewers' radar.
“But those two -- you know, I saw Perdomo throw a bullpen, he wasn't even in a game, and you could hear it. I wouldn't want to face him from the left side, that's for sure.”
Wahl optioned; Nottingham activated
The Brewers optioned reliever Bobby Wahl to the alternate training site and recalled catcher Jacob Nottingham to help cover Wednesday’s game against the Pirates after Manny Piña was banged-up on a foul ball Tuesday. Nottingham already was on site, part of the three-man taxi squad that traveled with the Brewers on the trip.
The taxi squad was implemented in response to the coronavirus pandemic to limit commercial travel as much as possible. Does Counsell see any merits of making that a permanent feature?
“I would probably say no, and here’s why: I do think that these guys are traveling with us, they need to play,” Counsell said. “Taking a week off and not playing is not good for them. They need to be taking at-bats or seeing live hitters.”
Wahl pitched in three of the Brewers’ first five games. He threw one pitch to get the lone out he needed on Opening Day and then surrendered a home run in each of his other two appearances, on Sunday against the Cubs and on Tuesday against the Pirates.
• The Brewers believe Josh Lindblom will be able to make his next start as scheduled, Counsell said. Lindblom exited his start Tuesday against the Pirates, complaining of cramping in his back.
• Justin Topa, a right-hander who split last season between Class A Advanced Carolina and Double-A Biloxi, is expected to be added to the Brewers’ alternate training site roster. The Brewers had not made that announcement as of Wednesday afternoon, likely because a player must pass a COVID-19 test before he can report.
• Add third-round Draft pick Zavier Warren to the list of Brewers farmhands getting work in independent leagues this year. Warren, a catcher from Central Michigan University, is playing in the Utica, Mich.-based United Shore Professional Baseball League, according to the suburban Detroit news site HometownLife.com.