3:40pm: The Brewers announced that Suter does indeed have a UCL tear. He’s been placed on the 10-day DL for now, and right-hander Jorge Lopez has been recalled from Triple-A Colorado Springs in his place.
3:15pm: Brewers left-hander Brent Suter, who left yesterday’s start after three innings due to a forearm strain, has been diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow, tweets Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. He’s likely to require Tommy John surgery.
[Related: Milwaukee Brewers depth chart]
Suter, 28, has been through a tough stretch recently, struggling to a 7.58 ERA over his past four starts (19 innings). Whether his elbow was at the source of those troubles isn’t clear, though the soft-tossing Suter hasn’t experienced much in the way of a noted velocity drop in that time.
Those four outings have ballooned Suter’s ERA from 4.15 to 4.80, but he’s been a largely serviceable piece for Milwaukee for much of the 2018 season. From April 27 through June 21, Suter logged a tidy 3.47 ERA over the life of 57 innings, and he’s posted excellent K/BB numbers all season long (84 strikeouts, 19 walks in 101 1/3 innings). He’ll drop out of a rotation that should see both Freddy Peralta and Junior Guerra return this week, joining Chase Anderson, Jhoulys Chacin and Wade Miley in manager Craig Counsell’s starting five.
If Suter requires Tommy John surgery, he’ll obviously miss the remainder of the 2018 campaign and much of the 2019 season as well. It’s a blow to the Brewers’ pitching staff and to Suter’s future as he looks to solidify himself as a regular big league contributor, though he seems likely to be retained and accrue MLB service time on the 60-day disabled list both this year and next. Suter will finish out the season with one-plus years of MLB service and won’t be eligible for arbitration until after the 2019 season, at which point he’s a lock to be a Super Two player so long as the Brewers keep him on the roster.
Milwaukee has already been linked to upgrades in the rotation and in the infield, and the loss of Suter would only further the possibility of the team adding some rotation depth. That said, it’s also unlikely that a prolonged absence for Suter will spur the Brewers’ front office into action and prompt a significant rotation upgrade.