MILWAUKEE — Brett Anderson missed the Milwaukee’s season opener but he’ll be the starting pitcher when the Brewers open the home portion of their 2020 schedule against the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday afternoon at Miller Park.
A blister on his left index finger landed Anderson on the injured list to start the season. The veteran left-hander continued working at the team’s alternate training facility in Appleton while his teammates kicked off the season with a road trip to Chicago and Pittsburgh.
Anderson has dealt with blisters before and spent time on the injured list while with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2016. Usually, blisters that arise in spring training heal quickly thanks to the hot, dry air of Arizona. Milwaukee had plenty of heat when the team arrived to start summer camp, but unusually high humidity levels slowed the healing process.
The conditions weren’t much better in Appleton, so along with time, Anderson and the Brewers’ medical staff utilized a number of other treatment methods.
“Obviously we’re not at Arizona, and with the humidity and moisture it kind of took a little bit longer for the skin to heal up,” Anderson said Wednesday morning. “They’ve got rubs and laser treatments to try to dry out the skin so it doesn’t become so soft. I think over the course of my career I’ve done everything but pee on it.”
Anderson threw a simulated game on Sunday that lasted about 70 pitches. If all goes well Friday, Anderson should be able to give the Brewers plenty of depth.
“I’m just going to go in there and expect to keep us in the game,” Anderson said. “Hopefully be efficient and pitch as deep as I can and then the game will kind of dictate how far and how long that goes. But it’s always ‘give us a chance to win’ and move on to the next one.”
A deep outing would be ideal as Friday kicks off a stretch of 33 games in 34 days for the Brewers, who will play 17 in a row before getting a day off on Aug. 17. That stretch, along with being cautious in the event Anderson can’t go deep, led manager Craig Counsell to hold off on announcing his starters for the remainder of the weekend series at Miller Park.
The Brewers have plenty of options, including right-handers Corbin Burnes and Freddy Peralta. Both made starts during the season-opening series. Left-hander Eric Lauer is in the mix as well.
“Those guys are all available,” Counsell said. “We’re going to give ourselves options for Friday’s game before we decide what’s going to happen Saturday. We’re just giving ourselves some flexibility.”
Catcher Jacob Nottingham was recalled from Appleton and available Wednesday night against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The Brewers needed an additional catcher after Manny Pina took a foul tip off his hand during Tuesday night’s game.
“Manny got a little banged up and is pretty sore today,” Counsell said. “Activating Jacob should allow us to avoid having to use him.”
To clear space on the active roster, the Brewers optioned reliever Bobby Wahl to the alternate training facility. The hard-throwing right-hander had appeared in three games, allowing three runs over 2⅓ innings. He allowed two home runs, including a tiebreaking two-run shot by Adam Fraizer on Tuesday.
Wahl missed all of last season recovering from a torn ACL so by sending him to Appleton, the Brewers are hoping regular work will help him establish consistency with his command.
“His misses (around the strike zone) were just too big yesterday,” Counsell said. “Just being on the mound is going to help him get better with that. Because he hasn’t been on the mound very much the last few years, it’s important and he’ll definitely be able to do that once he gets to Appleton.
“I anticipate we’ll see him (with the Brewers) again, for sure.”
All hands on deck
Through Milwaukee’s first five games, Counsell has used all 30 players on the active roster and has been able to rotate players through the designated hitter spot to get them a bit of a break.
Justin Smoak served as Milwaukee’s DH Wednesday night, making him the fourth player to fill the role this season. Counsell said he hoped to use second baseman Keston Hiura as the DH at some point during the upcoming homestand and will continue to move players in and out of the spot.
“Just being cognizant of not doing too much, too soon with some of the guys,” Counsell said. “Just taking note of that stuff is important as we got started, especially in a spot where our off days are more limited.
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