If there's an area of wide open competition for the Brewers this spring, it might just be in the bullpen. We know Neftali Feliz will take the 9th inning, with Carlos Torres, Corey Knebel and Jacob Barnes likely taking the ball in some order before that. But the middle innings are still largely up for grabs, and it looks like the Brewers are still perusing the market for options.
Maness missed much of last season after tearing a ligament in his elbow, but his comeback involves a unique story. He went under the knife in August, but instead of opting for Tommy John, he elected a new alternative with hopes of not missing an entire season.
On Aug. 18, the surgeon repaired the ligament at the bone and used tape to create a scaffolding for the ligament to aid and support it during healing.
Maness and Mitch Harris, who remains with the Cardinals, are two of the three pro pitchers who have had "primary repair."
With the alternative procedure, Maness started a throwing program a month before he would've been able to with Tommy John, and the program was a month shorter than a typical TJ recovery program. He still has some recovery time to go, but he's already been throwing off a mound for two weeks after having the surgery six months ago.
As for what Maness is throwing, Goold says his fastball during the workout was clocked between 81 and 84 mph, touching 85. Last year, he was throwing 87 before the injury, and averaged 89 mph for three years before the injury. Scouts expect Maness' velo to approach those levels again once he builds more arm strength. Maness also threw a curve during the workout.
When he was healthy, Maness was never much of a strikeout pitcher, but has induced an extremely high amount of groundballs. He's induced a 59.4% groundball rate during his career, including a ridiculous 68.4% rate in 2013.
Even if he may not be ready to go at the start of the season, Goold seems to think Maness will get an offer based on the workout. Aside from the Brewers, the Cubs, Reds, Nationals, Royals, Indians, Orioles, Astros and Twins were mentioned as teams that had at least one scout in attendance.
Statistics courtesy of FanGraphs