Things certainly could be going better in 2017 for one Phil Bickford. The 21 year old right hander has already been held on the sidelines during the beginning of the minor league season as punishment for testing positive this past December for a drug of abuse. The 50 game adjournment will expire towards the end of this month, but it will now be much longer than that before Bickford returns to action on the mound. Earlier today, we learned that Phil suffered two fractures in his hand after being hit by a line drive while pitching live batting practice in extended spring training down in Maryvale.
According to Tom Haudricourt of the Journal Sentinel, Bickford suffered fractures of his fourth and fifth metacarpals of his right hand and already underwent a successful surgery on Wednesday. He’ll be sidelined for some 8-12 weeks, which means that he’ll hopefully get back on the mound by sometime in late July or early August. The minor league season ends on September 4th. Per farm director Tom Flanagan, Bickford will be assigned to high-A Carolina when his suspension is completed and be placed on the 7-day minor league disabled list there.
Bickford, a 1st round pick in 2015, came to Milwaukee last summer as a part of the return from San Francisco in exchange for southpaw reliever Will Smith. He’s currently ranked as the Brewers’ #12 prospect by MLB Pipeline, boasting a low-90s fastball and potentially above-average slider to go along with a developing changeup and command that remains a work in progress. He split last season between the A-level Sally League and high-A California and Florida State Leagues, pitching a total of 120.0 innings with a 2.92 ERA as well as 10.1 K/9, 3.2 BB/9, and a 34% ground ball rate.
Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs and Baseball-Reference