The Brewers announced Tuesday that they’ve placed right-hander Ray Black on the 10-day injured list due to a strained right rotator cuff. Milwaukee also formally announced the previously reported additions of Logan Morrison and Justin Grimm to its 40-man roster. There’s no word from the club on Black’s timeline for recovery, although any shoulder issues are of extra concern in a shortened, 60-game season.
Black, 30, has long been an intriguing arm given his triple-digit fastball and gaudy minor league strikeout totals (career 16.7 K/9), but injuries have hobbled him throughout his career. Milwaukee acquired him alongside Drew Pomeranz in the trade that sent Mauricio Dubon to San Francisco last summer, and he went on to pitch 14 innings of relief out of the Brewers’ pen (eight runs on 10 hits and eight walks with 13 strikeouts).
Black has just 39 1/3 innings under his belt at the MLB level and hasn’t yet found consistent success. That said, he’s also out of minor league options, which made him quite likely to land on the club’s big league roster to open the season. A pitcher who averages better than 98 mph on his heater and has a 98th percentile spin rate on the pitch was never likely to make it through waivers, after all, even if he doesn’t have a track record of success in the Majors. Now, there’s no telling exactly when he’ll be a realistic option for manager Craig Counsell.
If he’s able to make it back this season, Black would likely join a relief corps that includes Josh Hader, Corey Knebel, David Phelps, Brent Suter, Alex Claudio and Grimm. Others who could factor in, particularly early in the year when rosters are expanded, include J.P. Feyereisen, Bobby Wahl and non-roster veteran Shelby Miller.