The Milwaukee Brewers start off their 2019 campaign looking to defend their division title from just one season ago, while improving on their 96-67 record.
A big part of that run was spurred on by the dominance of the bullpen, aided by pitcher Corey Knebel. He was felled late in the spring, this time around, by persistent elbow pain, and many of us feared that one of the deepest units in the game was about to be majorly dinged.
On Friday, our fears were confirmed; Knebel made the decision to have Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery, just one game into the new season.
#Brewers reliever Corey Knebel has decided to have Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery.— Tom (@Haudricourt) March 29, 2019
The loss of an All-Star pitcher is never a good thing for a team, especially when that team is looking to improve on a 96 win season and have a deeper post season run than in recent history.
Tommy John, unfortunately, will sideline him for well over a year. According to Knebel, this is the natural progression of something that's been lingering for quite a while.
Corey Knebel will undergo Tommy John surgery on Wednesday. Dr. Neal ElAttrache will perform the surgery.— Robert Murray (@ByRobertMurray) March 29, 2019
“Had it for five years and it got a little worse,” Knebel said.
The Brewers will have to look deeper into their bullpen for a reliever to fill in for Knebel as they hope to play deep into October and November. Along with Jeremy Jeffress' existing injury, this could spell disaster and take quite a toll on Josh Hader.