Just over a year removed from Tommy John surgery, John Brebbia is back in the majors, as the Giants announced that the right-hander has been reinstated from the 60-day injured list. Left-hander Conner Menez was optioned to Triple-A after yesterday’s game to open a spot on San Francisco’s active roster, while righty Aaron Sanchez was moved to the 60-day IL to create room for Brebbia on the 40-man roster.
Brebbia’s TJ procedure took place on June 3, 2020, so he has returned to action quicker than expected considering the normal 13-to-15 month recovery period. Brebbia hasn’t pitched in a big league game since he threw two-thirds of an inning for the Cardinals in Game 3 of the 2019 NLCS against the Nationals.
The Cards decided to non-tender Brebbia in December rather than pay a projected $800K in Brebbia’s first year of arbitration eligibility, and the Giants stepped in to sign the righty for a one-year deal worth $800K in guaranteed money. Since Brebbia is arb-controlled through the 2023 season, the Giants rolled the dice on a long-term investment in a reliever who looked good over his first three MLB seasons.
Originally a 30th-round pick for the Yankees in the 2011 draft, Brebbia played in the minors and in the independent leagues before St. Louis selected him away from the Diamondbacks in the minor league version of 2015 Rule 5 Draft. That ended up being a tremendous pick for the Cardinals, as Brebbia posted a 3.14 ERA/3.61 SIERA, 27.4% strikeout rate, and 7.5% walk rate over 175 relief innings from 2017-19.
Sanchez has already been on the injured list since May 8 due to biceps inflammation, but the shift to the 60-day IL is a discouraging sign considering that he was already on a minor league rehab assignment. The other troubling aspect is that the biceps injury may no longer be Sanchez’s chief concern, as he left his most recent outing after only 50 pitches due to a blister on his throwing hand. Blister problems in 2017 were the first of many injuries that have sidetracked Sanchez’s career over the last four-plus years, though it appeared he was putting things together after signing with the Giants in the offseason. Sanchez had a 3.18 ERA/4.26 SIERA over 28 1/3 innings before his biceps problem surfaced.