The hits just keep on coming to pitchers across the Major Leagues, as the Milwaukee Brewers announced just hours before their game against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday night that ace Brandon Woodruff had been placed on the 15-day injured list with shoulder inflammation.
Woodruff has established himself as one of the best pitchers in the National League over the last few seasons, with a 2.84 ERA and an 11 K/9 over 406.1 innings from 2020-2022. He’s a two-time All Star with a top-five NL Cy Young Award finish on his resume, and the one-two punch he formed with Corbin Burnes is the foundation to the Brewers’ formula for success.
Milwaukee will need Woodruff back in the fold to make a run at the NL Central crown, so when can we expect him back?
Brandon Woodruff injury update
July 5 Update: Woodruff’s recovery isn’t going as planned, and his next scheduled bullpen session has been delayed. It remains to be seen if this decision stemmed from the setback from late May or if it is something more recent. There is still hope that Woodruff will be able to return later this month, but the delays are certainly concerning.
June 16 Update: Woodruff has resumed a throwing program and is progressing at a good pace. With the recent setback, there is no rush for the veteran. If things continue at this clip, there is hope that Woodruff will be able to return by the All-Star break.
May 24 Update: Woodruff tried to do too much too quickly and ended up needing a 4-5 day break from throwing. He did start playing catch again today, and while there are many more benchmarks to hit, there is still hope he can rejoin Milwaukee by the end of June.
Brandon Woodruff had to take a 4-5 day pause from throwing but he was back playing catch today. He's been targeting the end of June to be pitching for the Brewers, but there are many steps ahead: Sustained long toss, bullpens, live BPs, rehab starts. He's feeling good today.— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) May 24, 2023
April 17 update — Woodruff initially didn’t sound too worried, but an MRI of his shoulder begged to differ.
Brandon Woodruff will know more when he sees the doc back in Milwaukee, but you get a sense here that he’s looking at an extended absence.— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) April 15, 2023
You also get a sense of what kind of teammate he is. pic.twitter.com/r7p1qzGbRu
It’s a sub-scap strain, which won’t require surgery but could keep him out weeks to months.
If there’s a silver lining here, it’s that Woodruff doesn’t seem to be too concerned about a long absence:
Brandon Woodruff expects his stay on the 15-day injured list to be a short one. pic.twitter.com/b0yp7Nshds— Curt Hogg (@CyrtHogg) April 12, 2023
It sounds less like Woodruff was experiencing pain in the shoulder than that he just didn’t recover quite as quickly as usual from his previous start against the St. Louis Cardinals. The team understandably wants to be extra cautious with its ace, so hopefully he’ll only need to miss a start or two — without any need for a rehab start — before coming back.
Janson Junk will take Woodruff’s place in the rotation in the meantime and start Wednesday against Arizona, but he’s not a recommended fantasy play.