The Brewers are planning to activate left-hander Aaron Ashby to start tomorrow’s game, tweets Adam McCalvy of MLB.com. Ashby went on the IL August 22 due to shoulder inflammation and will now return after just under a month. The southpaw likely won’t be ticketed for extended duty at first as he hasn’t ventured out onto any kind of rehab assignment. He spoke to McCalvy about the decision, saying that he has been feeling good in recent bullpen sessions, getting up to around 30 pitches.
The Brewers are in a tight postseason race, currently sitting two games behind the Phillies for the final National League Wild Card spot with just over two weeks remaining in the regular season. Given that narrow timeframe, it seems the club has opted to try and get Ashby back on the mound quicker than perhaps they would have under different circumstances. With Eric Lauer and Freddy Peralta also landing on the IL in recent weeks, the club’s rotation has been a bit snakebit recently, which might have also motivated the club to get aggressive with Ashby’s return. Lauer and Peralta could get back into the mix soon as well, with McCalvy relaying that Lauer could return on Friday, though in a short stint similar to Ashby. Peralta might be a bit behind those two, having just started mound work today.
Through 96 1/3 innings on the year, Ashby has a 4.58 ERA with a very strong 27% strikeout rate and 55.6% ground ball rate. However, he’s been held back by a 10% walk rate and a 19.7% HR/FB rate.
Other notes from around the division…
- Just like the Brewers, the Cubs will also be bringing back one of their starters for truncated work down the stretch. Meghan Montemurro of the Chicago Tribune relays word from manager David Ross that right-hander Keegan Thompson will be activated in the coming days to pitch out of the bullpen. Thompson has had a solid sophomore effort here in 2022, throwing 104 1/3 innings so far with a 3.97 ERA, 20.5% strikeout rate, 8.3% walk rate and 40% ground ball rate. His campaign was interrupted by low back tightness, sending him to the IL a month ago. With the season winding down and the Cubs well out of contention, they will let Thompson throw a bit more at the big league level before the offseason arrives.
- Left-hander Sean Newcomb, designated for assignment by the Cubs on the weekend, has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A, per Montemurro. That’s hardly surprising, given that Newcomb already cleared waivers earlier this year and has an ERA of 8.78 for the season. Players who have been previously outrighted or those with over three years of MLB service time are eligible to reject outright assignments and elect free agency. Newcomb qualifies on both counts, meaning he could head to the open market if he so chooses, though it’s unclear at this point if he’s made a decision in that regard.