The Braves have placed a pair of young hurlers on the 45-day injured list, as David O’Brien of The Athletic covers on Twitter. Righty Jacob Webb is dealing with a shoulder strain, while southpaw Phil Pfeifer has been diagnosed with a bone contusion in his pitching elbow.
This news makes it rather unlikely we’ll see either of these pitchers in the 2020 regular season, though it doesn’t formally rule out the possibility. The typical 60-day injured list has been shortened to a 45-day minimum for the 2020 season. While these injuries dent the Braves’ pitching depth, the procedural moves open up 40-man roster space to bring in new arms.
Webb, who’ll soon turn 27, turned in a sparkling 1.39 ERA in his first 32 1/3 MLB innings last year. While the peripherals — 7.8 K/9, 3.3 BB/9, 1.1 HR/9, 38.2% groundball rate — didn’t support the results, it’d be hard to deny him a pen slot. Unfortunately, Webb dealt with elbow woes late in 2019 and has now come down with further arm troubles despite the lengthy layoff.
It’s also unfortunate to see Pfeifer go down when he was so close to making his major-league debut. The 28-year-old had seven strong appearances this spring after earning his way onto the 40-man roster with an excellent 2019 effort. Pitching at three levels last year — as a starter in High-A and then increasingly as a reliever as he moved into the upper minors — Pfeifer ran a 2.97 ERA with 10.7 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 over 133 1/3 frames.