The Brewers will not have reliever Corey Knebel pitching for them this season, as he is planning to have Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, according to Robert Murray of The Athletic.
Corey Knebel will undergo Tommy John surgery on Wednesday. Dr. Neal ElAttrache will perform the surgery.— Robert Murray (@ByRobertMurray) March 29, 2019
“Had it for five years and it got a little worse,” Knebel said.
Knebel had been pitching with a damaged ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow since 2014, when he was with the Rangers. He said at that time, the Rangers’ doctors had recommended rehab rather than reconstructive Tommy John surgery, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
The Rangers ended up trading Knebel to the Brewers in 2015. Two years later, Knebel had his best season, making 39 saves while posting a 1.78 ERA and 126 strikeouts in 76 appearances, which tied for the most appearances in the National League. Knebel had an OK regular season in 2018 (3.58 ERA, 19 saves, 88 Ks in 55 1⁄3 innings), but was excellent in the Brewers’ run to the NLCS, allowing only one earned run and two hits while fanning 14 batters in 10 innings.
Knebel reported discomfort in his elbow following his last appearance of spring training on March 17 and has been sidelined since that day. In five outings, he did not allow a run and struck out six in 5 2⁄3 innings pitched.
After Milwaukee’s team physician examined him, Knebel got a second opinion and met with ElAttrache.
With Knebel not available, the Brewers’ bullpen loses a crucial part of their big three, which includes Josh Hader and Jeremy Jeffress. The Brew Crew will look to these two plus relievers Alex Wilson, Matt Albers, and Alex Claudio to step up their play.