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Adrian Houser and Jandel Gustave test positive for COVID-19, Christian Yelich gets closer to return for the Milwaukee Brewers

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This puts the count of players for the COVID-19 IL at nine.

MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at Milwaukee Brewers Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports

While the outbreak of COVID-19 for the Milwaukee Brewers hasn’t been an explosion, it has turned into a bit of a slow burn. Unfortunately, the team can’t fully escape it yet, and a few more players have gone down to it. Yesterday, Adam McCalvy reported that Adrian Houser and Jandel Gustave have tested positive for COVID-19 as well. A roster move was not officially announced by the Brewers yesterday.

The pitching staff has been decimated in recent days, and it’s now hitting the starting pitchers in addition to the relievers. Eric Lauer tested positive a few days ago, and now Houser will be out for a few starts as well. Meanwhile, Gustave had originally been placed on the IL as a close contact, but now has tested positive and will have to remain out for at least ten more days.

The Brewers will now have to figure out who to cover a start or two for the team. They may have to go back to a five-man rotation for the time being, They have Brandon Woodruff set to pitch today and Brett Anderson tomorrow, but the next two starts after that would be Eric Lauer and Adrian Houser’s turns in the rotation. The Brewers will have the option to dip into the minor leagues to bring up a starter not on the 40-man, who they can later return to the minors and off the 40-man without having to expose them to waivers. This rule is in place for teams that have an outbreak. From the MLB.com website:

Any clubs that experience a COVID-19 outbreak among their players may add to their Major League Active List temporarily, without the need for those players to be placed on waivers, outrighted, or optioned in order to be removed from the 40-man roster when players return from the COVID-19 Related Injured List.

Meanwhile, there’s some good news on the other side of the COVID-19 timeline. Christian Yelich has cleared protocols and is eligible to return. Adam McCalvy reports that Yelich felt fine by day two of his quarantine and spent time relaxing and learning to play guitar. While he is eligible to return, the Brewers are going to give him time to ramp back up first since he hasn’t done any activity in ten days. This will likely be a common decision for the Brewers, since players won’t be able to do much more than some at-home workouts during their quarantines. However, we will see Yelich’s return in the near future.