TODAY: The DL placement is now official, with the team calling the injury a strain. Knebel will miss at least six weeks, manager Craig Counsell tells MLB Network Radio (Twitter link). The Brewers plan to share closing opportunities among a variety of players rather than declaring one single replacement.
Young righty Adrian Houser is heading up to the active roster. Originally acquired in the 2015 deal that sent Carlos Gomez to Houston, Houser had fallen off the radar a bit owing to Tommy John surgery. It’ll be interesting to see how he performs and how much of an opportunity he’ll receive.
YESTERDAY: 10:20pm: MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy tweets that Knebel will be placed on the disabled list and will undergo an MRI to evaluate the extent of the damage tomorrow morning.
10:16pm: Brewers closer Corey Knebel exited Thursday night’s game with what looked to be a hamstring injury. Upon making a pitch to Cubs infielder Tommy La Stella with two outs in the ninth inning, Knebel dropped to the ground and immediately clutched his left hamstring — the same hamstring which, as noted by the Milwaukee broadcast, prompted Knebel to exit a Cactus League game early in Spring Training.
Knebel, who was getting some work in after going a week between appearances, made his way to the clubhouse with a pair of athletic trainers and was unable to put weight on his leg as he was helped off the field.
The 26-year-old Knebel broke out as one of the best relievers in the National League last season when he saved 39 games and logged a 1.78 ERA with an otherworldly 14.9 K/9 against 4.7 BB/9 in 76 innings of work. The 2018 season represents what would be his first full season as a big league closer, though any serious injury would obviously throw a wrench into that plan.
The Brewers have several options who could step into the ninth-inning spotlight; veteran Matt Albers has pitched the eighth inning three times already this season. Josh Hader has been dominant in a bullpen role since moving into that spot last season, though limiting his role to save situations would leave the team with only one southpaw setup option. Veteran righty Jeremy Jeffress, of course, is no stranger to closing out games for the Brewers and could conceivably be a candidate to step into that role as well. Fellow right-hander Jacob Barnes has been pitching in a setup capacity since last season and has demonstrated an ability to miss plenty of bats in his own right.