No surgery for Yelich; should be OK for spring

September 12th, 2019

MIAMI -- will not need surgery to repair his fractured right patella, the Brewers confirmed on Thursday morning after the reigning National League MVP Award winner underwent a battery of tests in Milwaukee.

The team expects Yelich to be down eight to 10 weeks, meaning he will miss the remainder of this season but have ample time to prepare for 2020. The Brewers do not expect Yelich to experience any long-term effects from the injury.

President of baseball operations and general manager David Stearns elaborated that Yelich's leg will be immobilized for a while before strengthening and rehabilitation. He will get a second opinion, as most players do after sustaining serious injuries, either over the weekend or next week.

Yelich tweeted thanks for all the support he's received since the injury, "Thank You to all those who have reached out over the last couple days it means a lot. Frustrating way for a season to end but these things happen in sports. I will be just fine and am looking forward to making a full recovery and supporting the boys the rest of the season."

All told, the news could have been much worse, since surgery would have meant a significantly longer recovery, and could have impacted Yelich’s offseason work or even have sidelined him into next season.

"I think certainly from his perspective, being able to exhale a little bit to know that it’s not an injury that requires surgery was important to him," said Stearns, who called it a relatively clean and small fracture. "The good news as we got into examining the injury and determining which path we needed to go here is that it’s not going to have any long-term effect. This is an injury that can be repaired, will be repaired. He will be good to go and that, I think, is peace of mind to him and to everyone else."

Yelich sustained the injury while batting in the first inning of Monday's 8-3 win over the Marlins, fouling a 79.8 mph slider from right-hander Elieser Hernandez off his right knee. After sitting on the ground for several minutes in obvious pain, he was able to walk off on his own power and head to the clubhouse for testing.

And, no, the Brewers are not dreaming about Yelich having a Kirk Gibson moment should the team make it all the way to the World Series, which is about six weeks away. A six-game winning streak lifted the Brewers into a tie with the Cubs for the NL's second Wild Card entering Milwaukee’s series finale at Marlins Park.

But the Brewers were still hurting for their best player, who was making a strong case to repeat as the MVP Award winner. Yelich's season came to an end with him leading the Majors in slugging (.671), OPS (1.100) and total bases (328). He also set various franchise records: wRC+ (172), wOBA (.441), OPS (1.100), slugging (.671) and AB/HR (11.11).

"I get to watch him every day, and when you watch this every day, you see how he's contributed to this team and how he impacts this team on so many different levels -- what we see on the field and also what he does behind closed doors in the clubhouse," Stearns said. "From my perspective, which may not be a completely objective perspective, it's tough to imagine a more impactful player in the National League right now."

There was also good news on another Brewers All-Star, , who threw 40 pitches during live batting practice on Wednesday at Marlins Park. According to Stearns, it's "probably safe to say that he should be back on a Major League mound within a week," though there isn't an exact date.

Woodruff has been on the injured list since July 22 with a left oblique strain. The 26-year-old right-hander is 11-3 with a 3.75 ERA and 1.173 WHIP over 20 starts this season.

"He's not stretched out. There will be rough pitch guidance," Stearns said. "Whether that's at the front end of games, in the middle of games, we're still going to have to talk through. He's done both. He's very capable of doing both. We'll figure that out over the next couple days and set a path forward."

Worth noting
returned to the ballclub for Thursday's series finale, starting at shortstop and batting eighth. Arcia left Sunday's game early when his fiancee went into labor with twins.

"When I got to the delivery room, the doctor had the computer on," Arcia said through an interpreter. "He had the game on, so I was watching the game as the girls were being born. I was keeping up."