Notes: Piña, Robertson to IL; Weigel promoted

Veteran right-hander Zack Godley to start series finale on Wednesday

April 28th, 2021

MILWAUKEE -- The buzzard’s luck continued for the Brewers on the injury front Tuesday when they placed on the 10-day injured list with a fractured toe and placed utility man on the seven-day concussion IL.

They were already the 13th and 14th players added to the IL this year, joining the likes of Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain on the sidelines at the moment. Robertson has been down since being hit by a pitch on the helmet during the ninth inning of Sunday’s win over the Cubs, and Piña fouled a pitch off his left big toe in the third inning of Monday’s loss to the Marlins and was already hurting when he was hit in the exact same spot again in the seventh. Piña was able to finish the game in significant pain, and a postgame X-ray revealed a small fracture.

“They wanted to wait for today to see how it feels. When I woke up this morning and tried to walk, the pain was more,” Piña said. “It was very swollen, purple, and now I feel like it’s in a lot of pain.”

The team recalled outfielder Corey Ray to replace Robertson and recalled catcher Luke Maile to take Piña’s spot as the backup to primary catcher Omar Narváez. Piña was told there’s a chance the pain subsides within 3-4 days and he’s able to play again, but the team could not afford to proceed with only one catcher.

Maile has plenty of experience with Brewers pitching after spending all of Spring Training with the team and then joining the Brewers on their first two road trips as a member of the taxi squad. The Brewers signed him over the winter as an alternative to Jacob Nottingham, who has since been designated for assignment, in part because Maile had a Minor League option remaining and Nottingham did not.

“The start of the season [has been] tough but we keep winning,” Piña said. “We are in first place and we don’t have Cain, we don’t have Yelich, [Kolten] Wong was just back last week, and we’re still winning the games. That means when we get everyone healthy, I think we have more chances to win.”

The Brewers initially had hoped Robertson would not need time on the concussion list, but after playing the Marlins without him on Monday they changed course and made the move early Tuesday evening.

Said manager Craig Counsell: “We've been struck by some injuries, for sure. It happens every year, it happens to every team. There are points in the season that are worse than others. We'll be challenged over the next week with the lack of off-days from a pitching perspective and that's why you've seen already some transactions on the pitching side of things. You do the best you can. It takes more than 26 guys. We know that. I think that's coming true.”

Bickford out, Weigel in
Speaking of pitching transactions, the Brewers on Tuesday promoted , one of the two right-handers acquired in the Orlando Arcia trade with the Braves earlier this month, to the big league bullpen, and optioned Phil Bickford back to the alternate training site.

It marked the second straight year that Bickford’s first stint with the Brewers lasted only one outing. He needed 38 pitches for one inning against the Marlins on Monday and was charged with two runs on two hits including a Corey Dickerson home run, a walk and a hit batsman. Last year, Bickford made his Major League debut in September against the Tigers and was charged with four runs on four hits and two hit batsmen in a 33-pitch inning.

“Phil needs to throw more strikes,” Counsell said Monday night. “I think that's the big thing. You've got to get into better counts and you've got to have something to finish a hitter off with. But it starts with just the strikes for him. Some of the sliders just missed by too much, a little bit, and if you give Major League hitters pitches that are free, so to speak, it puts you in a pretty tight bind.”

Weigel, who joined MLB Pipeline’s list of the Brewers’ top prospects at No. 17, has pro experience as both a starter and a reliever. But he will pitch out of the bullpen at the start for Milwaukee.

“Patrick and [Chad] Sobotka have been with us for just a couple of weeks,” Counsell said, referring to the two pitchers in the Arcia trade. “They've thrown their ‘pens but it's our job first to watch a little bit before we kind of dig in too deep. Just kind of getting them going, getting them comfortable with their surroundings, their teammates and their coaches is really what's going on for the first couple weeks and getting them on a good schedule.”

Godley to start Wednesday
The Brewers will have to free spots on the 26-man and 40-man rosters on Wednesday morning to activate right-handed veteran Zack Godley to start the series finale against Miami. He will be pitching in place of Brett Anderson, who went on the 10-day IL over the weekend with a right leg injury.

Godley didn’t pitch for the Brewers in the Cactus League after signing a Minor League contract late in Spring Training, but he has plenty of big league experience over parts of six seasons with the D-backs, Blue Jays and Red Sox. He was 0-4 with an 8.16 ERA in eight games, seven starts, spanning 28 2/3 innings last season with Boston.

“As we were leaving [Spring Training], he was getting started, really,” Counsell said. “He probably pitched once or twice in Arizona in some of the simulated games or other games. He's gotten stretched out really good. And so he's got bulk [of innings] underneath him, and he's ready to go for that."

Next week for Cain?
Counsell offered no update Tuesday on the status of Yelich (back) and indicated continued progress for Cain (left quad), who has been taking part in pregame activities on the field since the weekend.

“He's on a good track right now,” Counsell said. “I don't have a day for you, but this is three days on the field. We'll keep progressing. They'll be a light day, then a day off then some heavy days and we should be ready to go. You're going to see him on the road trip. He'll be ready to go when we get on the road. That's what I can give you right now.”

The Brewers are home against the Marlins and Dodgers through Sunday, then are on the road next week at Philadelphia and Miami.