The Milwaukee Brewers are preparing to begin the 2019 regular season without one of the key cogs within their bullpen.
No official announcement yet but #Brewers manager Craig Counsell conceded that there probably isn't enough time left in camp for reliever Jeremy Jeffress to get in the innings needed to be on opening roster. Jeffress currently just playing catch.— Tom (@Haudricourt) March 13, 2019
Jeremy Jeffress attempted to make his Cactus League debut last week, but was removed from his initial spring outing after only three pitches when his fastball was topping out only in the 83-84 MPH range. Last season, Jeffress averaged 96.2 MPH on his heater according to Pitch Info.
Jeffress backed off from throwing for a few days before returning to playing catch on Monday, but he still is only playing catch and has yet to get back on to the mound. Jeffress has insisted that he doesn’t need many Cactus League outings in order to feel ready for the season, but manager Craig Counsell acknowledged to the media scrum in Maryvale that time is running out for Jeffress to get enough work in to be ready for Opening Day on March 28th.
Both Jeffress and the Brewers have indicated that the pitcher’s health is the most important aspect in this scenario, rather than pushing things in order to be ready specifically by Opening Day. It’s a long season and no one seems to expect Jeffress’ shoulder weakness to sideline him for any significant amount of time. But the bullpen is inarguably weaker for whatever period of time he isn’t active; last season, Jeffress pitched to a sterling 1.29 ERA in 76.2 innings covering 73 appearances and recorded 15 saves after taking over as the team’s closer down the stretch.
Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs