SAN DIEGO — The Brewers’ deep and talented starting rotation suffered its first major blow, with All-Star right-hander Freddy Peralta facing a “significant” stint on the injured list after an MRI revealed the extent of his right shoulder injury.
The official diagnosis, according to the team: posterior shoulder sprain.
“He’s going to miss a lot of time,” manager Craig Counsell said. “He will be back this season, but it will be a long absence. We’re confident there won’t be any after effects to this thing, but it’s going to take some time to heal and then rebuild.
Peralta left his Sunday start against the Nationals complaining of tension, and he and the Brewers were hoping for the best. That was not to be the case, although the Brewers are hopeful for now that Peralta will recover in time to be a factor later in the regular season and lay enough groundwork to start playoff games, should the team in. get there.
The 25-year-old was the Brewers’ third starter to open this season and was 3-2 with a 4.42 ERA in his first eight starts. Last season, Peralta was 10-5 with a 2.81 ERA in 144 1/3 innings and made National League All-Star Team for the first time – one of three Brewers starters and the team’s four Brewers pitchers.
His absence means an extended stint in the starting rotation for southpaw Aaron Ashby, who has bounced between the rotation and the bullpen so far this season, his second in the Majors. Ashby was already scheduled to start the series finale on Wednesday in San Diego before Peralta was injured.
“First of all, I hope Freddy is doing well,” Ashby said. “This guy is such a light in the clubhouse, and seeing someone get hurt like that sucks for everyone. There is definitely a place to step in and help this team. Wherever I’m needed, I’m more than happy to do it.
With Ashby going from sixth starter to regular member of the rotation, the next man, if needed, could be another young southpaw, Ethan Small, who is 3-1 with a 1.95 ERA this season for Triple-A Nashville. Small, ranked by MLB Pipeline as the Brewers’ top pitching prospect, missed his last start with a non-COVID illness but is scheduled to start Tuesday night in Toledo.
“We have a very competent replacement in the starting rotation, but Aaron has influenced us in other places,” Counsell said. “The way we were in the trend, Aaron was probably going to impact us a little more in the bullpen the further we went. So we lose that, and that means someone else has to step in and try to set the bar high with their performance here.