A shock-wave was sent through Brewer nation on Sunday evening as it was announced that staff ace Junior Guerra was being scratched from his scheduled Tuesday start due to "elbow soreness." Anything related to a pitcher's elbow is cause for concern considering the seeming epidemic of Tommy John surgeries throughout the game, and panic ensued as many fans of our local nine assumed the worst and that Guerra's rookie magic had finally run out.
Not so fast, my friends.
When Craig Counsell addressed the media prior to yesterday's game, he informed reporters including Curt Hogg of MLB.com that Guerra would indeed be placed on the disabled list, but that the move was more "precautionary" than anything else. Some inflammation was present the morning following his most recent start on August 3rd against San Diego, but he has not experienced any pain or discomfort out on the mound. Guerra himself added through the club's translator that he doesn't think that he'll require any more than the minimum 15 day stay on the DL.
Let’s collectively breathe a sigh of relief.
The injury doesn’t sound as though it’s anything serious, but it’s likely a wise decision to play it safe with their 31 year old breakout right-hander. Guerra threw just 87.2 innings last year with the White Sox organization and is already up to 130.2 innings between the Brewers and AAA Colorado Springs this season. He’s never thrown more than 160 innings in a year when you combine his efforts in the various foreign, independent, and winter leagues that he has appeared in over the last 10 years, including his stints in Spain and Italy that aren’t included on his Baseball-Reference register.
Since making his Brewers’ debut on May 3rd, Guerra has posted a 2.93 ERA and 3.64 FIP in 107.1 innings while serving as the stopper in the Brewers’ rotation. He’s gone from unheralded waiver claim to the 16th-most valuable pitcher in the National League in terms of RA9-WAR, which values him at 3.2 wins above replacement this season. His continued health and presence in the starting rotation could serve to hasten the Brewers’ rebuilding process, or he could become trade fodder and return more prospects to an already heralded minor league system.
Guerra’s DL stint is retroactive to August 4th, meaning he can return to the active roster as soon as August 19th. Wily Peralta will take Guerra’s turn in the rotation on a start-by-start basis, though in the end the #2016BrewersAce may only wind up missing two scheduled appearances.