The Brewers have placed Corey Kneel on the 10-day disabled list with a strained left hamstring and the closer will be sidelined for “a minimum of six weeks,” Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell told Jon Morosi of MLB Network.
Counsell also said to Morosi that the Brewers will have multiple relievers “share” the closer’s role until Knebel returns. Until then, the club recalled right-handed pitcher Adrian Houser from Double-A to take Knebel’s place on the active roster.
Knebel suffered his injury after collapsing on the mound in the ninth inning of Milwaukee’s 8-0 loss to the Cubs on Thursday. After the game, Counsell and the Brewers knew Knebel would be headed to the DL, but the severity of his injury was revealed during an MRI on Friday.
It’s a tough blow for Knebel and the Brewers.
The 26-year-old Knebel was coming off a breakout season in 2017 in which he led the National League in appearances with 76 and finished third in saves with 39 after taking over the closer’s role from Neftali Perez last May. Knebel, who also posted a 1.78 ERA, a 1.16 WHIP and 126 strikeouts (14.9 K/9 ratio), earned his first All-Star appearance for his efforts. This year, he only pitched in three games, making one save and allowing three earned runs.
As for the Brewers, their realistic ninth-inning options are Josh Hader, Jeremy Jeffress, Matt Albers, Jacob Barnes and Dan Jennings. Out of these five relievers, Jeffress is the only one who has actually worked as a closer, making 27 of 28 saves with the Brewers in 2016 before he was dealt to the Rangers. Jeffress wound up coming back to Milwaukee in 2017 in another trade with Texas. However, Hader is an up-and-coming star reliever after the 23-year-old posted a 2.08 ERA and 0.99 WHIP in 35 appearances last year.