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Brewers reliever Devin Williams to miss playoffs with broken hand after punching wall
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Brewers reliever Devin Williams to miss playoffs with broken hand after punching wall

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Brewers reliever Devin Williams celebrates a save with catcher Omar Narvaez.

ST. LOUIS — The Milwaukee Brewers will be without one of their biggest weapons when the playoffs get underway next week.

Right-handed reliever Devin Williams fractured his hand punching a wall Sunday night while out celebrating the Brewers' clinching the NL Central Division title. He was placed on the 10-day injured list Wednesday while the team prepared to take on the Cardinals in St. Louis.

Williams said the incident was self-inflicted.

"After our celebration, I went out to have a few drinks and on my way home I was a little frustrated, upset, and I punched a wall," Williams said. "That's how it happened.

"I'm pretty upset with myself. There's no one to blame but me. I feel like I've let the team down, the coaching staff, the fans, everyone. I know how big a role that I play on this team and there's a lot of people counting on me.

"I guess all I can do now is cheer my team on and learn from it and don't make that same mistake in the future."

Williams said he didn't realize how severely he injured himself until Tuesday, when he attempted to go through his usual pre-game throwing routine. When he was unable to do that, he alerted the team's medical staff and an X-ray revealed the fracture.

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Brewers president of baseball operations David Stearns said doctors determined Williams' injury will require surgery which is "likely to keep him out for the remainder of the season" but didn't rule out the possibility of Williams' returning if the Brewers made a deep run through the postseason.

"We also understand we've got a finite time frame here," Stearns said. "The most likely outcome is this will end Devin's season, but I think everyone is invested in doing everything possible so that if we move this along, perhaps there's a chance he'll be available for the World Series."

Prior to speaking to the media, Williams addressed his teammates in the clubhouse at Busch Stadium.

"I expressed my apologies and they said they've got my back," Williams said. "I mean, if I had known this would be the outcome, obviously I wouldn’t have done that. It happened in a split second. There’s no changing it now. If I could take it back, I would."

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Losing Williams is a huge blow to the Brewers, who are headed to the playoffs for a fourth consecutive season thanks in large part to Williams' work in a set-up role ahead of closer Josh Hader.

Appearing in 58 games, Williams went 8-2 with a 2.50 ERA with 87 strikeouts and a 1.185 WHIP over 54 innings while also recording the first three saves of his big-league career. His last appearance came Sunday, when he worked a scoreless eighth in Milwaukee's 8-4 victory over the Mets that clinched the division title.

"The way we look at it now is it's an opportunity for someone else," manager Craig Counsell said. "Somebody else is going to get a big job in the postseason and an opportunity to help us win."

Counsell will have plenty of options at his disposal with veteran right-hander Brad Boxberger leading the list. Although he's had a few hiccups over the past two weeks, Boxberger has a 3.41 ERA over 63⅓ innings this season with three saves in 69 appearances.

Right-handers Jake Cousins, currently on the IL with a right biceps strain, and Hunter Strickland are in the mix, too, while Counsell could also fill the role by using rookie right-hander Aaron Ashby, moving starters Eric Lauer and Adrian Houser into the bullpen or even allowing Hader to work multiple innings.

With more than a week before the starf of the playoffs, Counsell isn't in a hurry to make a decision.

"We're having those conversations right now," Counsell said. "We're bouncing ideas off each other.

"And look, the best thing we have going for us is we have Corbin Burnes going for us, we have Brandon Woodruff going for us, we have Freddy (Peralta) going for us. ... Those are the guys who are going to have a big say in what we do."


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