2016 first-round pick Corey Ray is on the Brewers' list of non-roster camp invitees this spring, but likely won't see the field with the big league team, according to General Manager David Stearns.
Ray is still recovering from knee surgery in October to repair the torn meniscus in his left knee he suffered during fall instructionals. Talking to reporters at the start of camp today, Stearns said Ray will be "limited" when it comes to workouts with the major league team.
"He is running some, he is going through full lower-body lifts, he is hitting off a tee and throwing and things like that. So he is progressing towards baseball activities," Stearns said. "But it's limited at this point. … I would think it is unlikely that Corey plays in a game in Major League Spring Training this year."
That doesn't rule out the possibility of Ray being returned to minor league camp at some point over the next month and a half. As Adam McCalvy notes, affiliates don't break camp until early April, so there's a chance Ray could get a few at-bats in minor league spring games before the season begins. In the meantime, Ray will hang around the big league staff and get to know how things work at that level.
Ray initially struggled after being aggressively assigned to High-A ball right out of college, but hit better as the season went on and seemed to be improving at the time of his injury.
McCalvy mentions pitchers Adrian Houser and Sean Nolin will also be limited this spring as they return from Tommy John surgery, while Yhonathan Barrios is working his way back from shoulder surgery.
Meanwhile, as pitchers and catchers reported Tuesday, one notable name was missing in Maryvale -- free agent signing Neftali Feliz.
The presumed closer is still stuck in his home country of the Dominican Republic due to what Stearns called an issue with his visa. Stearns expects the delay to only last for a few days. As Tom Haudricourt noted in his spring-opening JSOnline chat, visa issues are not uncommon at the start of spring training. Former Brewer Francisco Rodriguez also consistently had problems getting his paperwork from Venezuela in time, a problem that continued last year when he was late to join camp with the Tigers.
The Brewers' first formal workout will begin Wednesday afternoon, once all of the pitchers and catchers finish their physical exams.