The shoulder impingement that slowed Eric Lauer last March was more serious than reported at the time, as the Brewers southpaw tells MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy and other reporters that there was actually a tear to the shoulder capsule of his throwing arm, as later tests revealed. The shutdown allowed time for Lauer to recover physically, but he then missed two weeks of Summer Camp on quarantine after being in close contact with someone who was COVID-19 positive.
It all added up to a forgettable debut season for Lauer in Milwaukee, as he was rocked for a 13.09 ERA over just 11 innings. Acquired along with Luis Urias for Zach Davies and Trent Grisham in a November 2019 deal with the Padres, Lauer is looking to live up to his end of the trade return by matching or bettering his past numbers (4.40 ERA, 20.6K%) over 261 2/3 innings with San Diego in 2018-19. Lauer does have minor league options remaining, however, which could put him in line for some shuttling back and forth from Triple-A as the Brewers mix and match their starting pitchers to keep everyone’s arm fresh.
More from the NL Central…
- The Cubs’ payroll situation has been a major focus of the offseason, but president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer is “confident” the team would be able to add salary for midseason additions “if we play well and there’s clear things we need to do to add to the team.” As Hoyer told The Athletic’s Patrick Mooney and other reporters, however, much will depend on such uncertain revenue streams as the number of fans the team will be permitted to allow into Wrigley Field. The Cubs opened the winter in clear cost-cutting mode, culminating in the trade that sent Yu Darvish to the Padres, and Hoyer admitted that “we were probably on the more pessimistic side of things” in terms of payroll in the wake of the 2020 season. More recently, a modest spending spree for players on one- or two-year contracts does indicate some willingness on the team’s part to stretch the payroll, or as Hoyer put it, they became “more optimistic or less pessimistic” about their spending capacity.
- The Pirates overhauled their rotation in the offseason, and while they have a provisional starting five in place, most or all of the arms competing for jobs will probably end up getting starts this season, The Athletic’s Rob Biertempfel writes. Apart from Tyler Anderson, none of the Bucs’ other starting candidates have pitched more than 157 1/3 innings in a season, so there will be plenty of need for multiple hurlers to cover innings as pitchers rebuild arm strength in the wake of the shortened 2020 season. “I think we’re talking about like 10 or 11 [pitchers],” Pirates pitching coach Oscar Marin said. Considering how the Pirates remain open to trade ideas, it’s very possible that even more pitchers will be needed should the club move a veteran arm or two at some point prior to the trade deadline.