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Brewers officially put Brandon Woodruff on IL, recall Burch Smith

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Craig Counsell says Woodruff will be out until September

Milwaukee Brewers v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

It was a foregone conclusion when Brandon Woodruff left Sunday’s start early, but the All-Star and staff ace will spend at least the next couple weeks on the Injured List.

The Brewers announced the IL move this afternoon, recalling Burch Smith after a quick two-day demotion after being sent down to make room for the returning Gio Gonzalez.

If there’s good news, it’s that the Brewers will rarely need a 5th starter for much of August. If there’s bad news, it’s that after this series against Cincinnati, the Brewers will embark on another brutal stretch in their schedule.

In the next months’ worth of games, Milwaukee will play 6 games against the Cubs (9 games over .500), 3 games against the Oakland A’s (14 games over .500), 2 games against the Minnesota Twins (22 games over .500), 3 games against the Washington Nationals (6 games over .500), and 3 games against the St. Louis Cardinals (4 games over .500). The only series against losing teams in the next month are this week’s against the Reds and 3 games in Pittsburgh on August 5th-7th.

The injury also likely reinforces the need for starting pitching at the trade deadline, which is now just nine days away. The Brewers likely could have used a starter to potentially bump Jhoulys Chacin out of the starting rotation, anyway, but the absence of Woodruff likely amplifies that. If the August trade deadline was still a thing, Stearns would have the option of trying to tip-toe through August with a rotation of Zach Davies, Chase Anderson, Gonzalez and Chacin and swinging a deal for another Gonzalez-like stopgap. With the single July 31st trade deadline this year, he won’t have that wait-and-see option.

The Brewers have previously been linked to Madison Bumgarner (who now seems less likely to move with the Giants winning 15 of 18 and moving to just 2.5 GB in the wildcard race), Mike Minor, and now Marcus Stroman (according to The Athletic’s Jim Bowden). The Brewers currently own one of the two wildcard spots, but with that daunting schedule, the pressure will be there to add someone just to make sure the team is still within striking distance once Woodruff returns.

UPDATE:

After an MRI today, Craig Counsell says Woodruff is expected to miss about 6 weeks, which means he won’t be back until September.