The Brewers announced that outfielder Hunter Renfroe has been placed on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to June 23, with a left calf strain. Infielder/outfielder Pablo Reyes was recalled to take his place on the active roster.
Losing Renfroe’s bat is a notable blow to the Brewers’ lineup, as he’s been arguably the club’s best hitter this season. Acquired in an offseason trade with the Red Sox, Renfroe is hitting .247/.300/.490. His wRC+ of 116 is the highest among Milwaukee hitters with at least 200 plate appearances.
The club hasn’t provided any updates about the severity of the issue or an expected timeline, but it’s perhaps worth pointing out that calf strains are notoriously tricky to deal with. For example, Mike Trout landed on the IL with a calf strain in May of last year. Although he was expected to return in 6-8 weeks, it ended up wiping out the remainder of his season. Of course, every injury is different and it’s entirely possible that Renfroe is dealing with a much milder issue than the one Trout faced last year.
The Brewers are 41-33, tied with the Cardinals for the NL Central lead. However, they are a pitching-heavy team that doesn’t have an elite offense. The entire team’s batting line on the season is .232/.311/.401. That amounts to a wRC+ of 99, just a hair below league average. With one of their most-productive hitters now sidelined for an undetermined amount of time, that’s likely to go in the wrong direction.
This also further depletes an outfield mix that already subtracted Lorenzo Cain in recent weeks. With Renfroe sitting out the past few days, the club has slotted Christian Yelich, Andrew McCutchen, Tyrone Taylor and Jonathan Davis through the outfield positions and designated hitter role. All four of that group have a wRC+ between 83 and 101, fitting the team’s theme of mediocre offensive output.
Even before this injury, the outfield stood out as an area where the Brewers could look to improve at the trade deadline. If this injury should linger and keep Renfroe out of action through the August 2 cutoff, it should only enhance Milwaukee’s resolve to make an addition of some kind on the grass.