Injured Brewers eager to get back to work as spring training camp opens

Injured Brewers eager to get back to work as spring training camp opens

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Corey Knebel photo

Relief pitcher Corey Knebel — an All-Star in 2017 when he had 39 saves for the Brewers — had surgery last April to repair a torn ligament in his right elbow.

Bobby Wahl mug


PHOENIX — Bobby Wahl finally has some company.

The right-handed relief pitcher has spent much of the past year at the Milwaukee Brewers’ spring training facility, rehabbing from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee suffered during his second Cactus League appearance last season.

Wahl was one of the first players in the Brewers’ clubhouse Wednesday as pitchers and catchers reported to open spring training camp at American Family Fields of Phoenix. He couldn’t wait to finally get back on the mound alongside his teammates.

“I threw only one inning last year so I’m ready to be a baseball player again,” Wahl said. “I’m ready to go. No issues, no limitations.”

Wahl, 27, one of three players acquired from the New York Mets for outfielder Keon Broxton in January 2019, was 4-2 with a 2.20 ERA and 12 saves in 38 Class AAA appearances in 2018.

The hard-throwing Wahl was expected to be major contributor to the Brewers’ bullpen last season. Instead, Wahl spent most of his summer rehabbing with fellow reliever Corey Knebel, who was working his way back from Tommy John surgery.

Knebel, 28, had hoped to begin throwing off a mound in January, but he held off after consulting with the Brewers’ medical staff and his surgeon, Dr. Neal ElAttrache.

“Instead of me starting to throw (bullpens) Jan. 1, we started throwing ‘pens Feb. 1,” Knebel said. “It’s just kind of a month difference right now.’’

Also running a month behind schedule is infielder Luis Urias, who has been rehabbing at the Brewers’ facility after undergoing surgery last month to repair a fractured hamate bone in his left hand suffered while playing winter ball in Mexico.

Luis Urias mug


“It happens,” Urias said. “It’s part of the game. The doctor told me if it didn’t happen right now, it would have happened during the season so I’d rather it happen now than during the season and have to stop.”

Urias, 22, the centerpiece of the November trade that sent Zach Davies and Trent Grisham to San Diego, was expected to compete with Orlando Arcia for the starting job at shortstop this spring.

Urias struggled with the Padres last season, hitting .223 with four home runs and 24 RBIs in 71 games. But he found his groove again at Class AAA El Paso, where he hit .315 with 19 doubles, 19 home runs and a .998 OPS in 73 games.

Urias was hitting .288 in 30 games for Obregon of the Mexican Winter League when he suffered the hand injury on Jan. 25. He returned to Arizona for evaluation by the Brewers’ medical staff and underwent surgery on Jan. 28, with an estimated recovery time of six to eight weeks.

That timetable would seem to rule out Urias being ready for Opening Day, but he’s still hoping to be on the field when the Brewers play the Chicago Cubs at Miller Park on March 26.

“I want to be ready for Opening Day,” Urias said. “That’s the goal. If everything goes well, I’ll be ready.”

Brewers pitchers and catchers will have their first official workout of camp on Thursday. Position players aren’t required to report until Monday, with the first full-squad workout set for Tuesday.

Milwaukee will open Cactus League play on Feb. 22 against the Texas Rangers in Surprise, Arizona.

Photos: How Miller Park took shape over the years

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