JULY 1: Milwaukee placed Houser on the IL with a flexor strain. Counsell characterized testing as positive, suggesting the organization is hopeful Houser could begin a throwing program again within a few weeks (via Adam McCalvy of MLB.com).
JUNE 30: Brewers righty Adrian Houser departed tonight’s start in Pittsburgh in the third inning after experiencing tightness in his throwing elbow. Manager Craig Counsell said after the game that Houser was headed back to Milwaukee for further examination but was sure to land on the 15-day injured list (via Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel).
That’s an alarming turn of events, although more will obviously known once Houser goes through testing over the coming days. The 29-year-old has generally been an effective and durable arm over the past three and a half seasons. Aside from a brief absence due to COVID-19 protocols last summer, Houser had avoided the IL since recovering from a 2016 Tommy John procedure.
The sinkerballer has typically been one of the game’s preeminent ground-ball pitchers. Houser induced worm-burners on almost 60% of batted balls in both 2020 and ’21. That rate has dipped to a solid but not elite 47.1% this season, and he’s not coincidentally posted a 4.72 ERA through 76 1/3 innings. Slightly disappointing showing aside, Houser’s reliability in taking the ball 15 times has proven quite valuable for a Milwaukee staff hit hard by injuries.
The Brew Crew will be without Freddy Peralta until August because of a shoulder issue. Brandon Woodruff just returned from a month-long absence, while Aaron Ashby has missed the past ten days with forearm tightness. The southpaw could make his return as soon as this weekend, but getting Woodruff and Ashby back comes right at the time as the club loses Houser for at least a couple weeks. Jason Alexander and Chi Chi González are the top candidates to step into Houser’s rotation role alongside Woodruff, Ashby, Corbin Burnes and Eric Lauer.