Before 2012, Chris Narveson was a pretty great story. A former second round pick in the 2000 draft, he needed nine years and four organizations to get his first full-time opportunity in the majors. Despite the long wait, though, he made 28 starts for the Brewers in 2010 and again in 2011. He even appeared in six postseason games for the Brewers' first division championship team in nearly three decades.
On April 20, 2012, though, Narveson got the news that every pitcher has to dread. He had a torn rotator cuff. He was done for the season, and there was no guarantee that surgery and rehab would get him back to his previous strength.
A year later Narveson was back with the Brewers on Opening Day, but didn't last long. He made just two appearances before going back on the DL with a finger injury, made five rehab starts for AAA Nashville and posted a 7.00 ERA over 18 innings. Instead of bringing him back to the big leagues, the Brewers removed Narveson from the 40-man roster.
Narveson continued to struggle after that, finishing with a 5.14 ERA over 15 starts in AAA. He also finished the season on the DL, appearing in his last game on August 12. The Brewers opted not to put him back on the 40-man roster, so he's a minor league free agent this winter.
Narveson's comeback attempt continues this winter in the Dominican Republic, where he leads Licey with 27.1 innings pitched in winter ball and has a 1.98 ERA, striking out 27 with just four walks. If he continues to perform at that level, he's a near lock to get a major league camp invitation from someone. He could be an interesting low-risk option for the Brewers, but it'd also be understandable if he's ready for a change of scenery.
Both of Narveson's MLB relief outings in 2013 were largely inconsequential, so we'll dig deeper into the archives for a reminder of what he can do when he's healthy. He dominated the Diamondbacks over seven scoreless innings on July 20, 2011, holding them to four hits and no walks with four strikeouts.
Here are the highlights from that game:
As mentioned above, Narveson is a minor league free agent this winter. He also has slightly more than four years of MLB service time, so if he catches on with a team this winter he'd be arbitration-eligible in 2015 and a free agent for 2016.
Previous MVBrewers posts can be seen at the links below: