10:34pm: Gonzalez may have avoided a serious injury. Manager Craig Counsell said after the game, which the Brewers came back to win, that Gonzalez is day-to-day and could make his next start (via Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel).
10:03pm: The Brewers announced that left-hander Gio Gonzalez exited his start against the Cubs on Friday with shoulder tightness. That’s a potentially ominous development for a Milwaukee club already down two starters, Brandon Woodruff and Jhoulys Chacin, because of injuries.
The 33-year-old Gonzalez only just returned from his own IL stint. Thanks to a dead arm, Gonzalez went from May 27 until July 20 without taking the ball at the major league level. During the eight starts Gonzalez has made this year, including his 6 1/3-inning, two-run performance against the Cubs, he has recorded an effective 3.48 ERA/3.30 FIP with 7.84 K/9, 2.61 BB/9 and a 42.8 percent groundball rate over 41 1/3 innings.
The Brewers couldn’t have realistically expected the type of results they’ve received from Gonzalez on a per-inning basis when they signed him in late April. That came after an odd several months for Gonzalez, who – despite years of quality work with the Athletics and Nationals – was unable to find a guaranteed contract in the offseason. Gonzalez instead settled for a minor league deal with the Yankees toward the end of March, ultimately opting out of it to take a better opportunity in Milwaukee.
As of this writing, the Brewers are trailing the Cubs, 2-1, in the eighth inning of the NL Central rivals’ hugely important matchup. First-place Chicago entered this weekend’s three-game set with a two-game lead over Milwaukee, which is 1 1/2 back of wild-card position. General manager David Stearns suggested earlier this week the loss of Woodruff’s unlikely to affect the Brewers’ plans heading into the July 31 trade deadline. However, the team appeared as if it needed starting help even before Woodruff suffered an oblique strain that will keep him out several weeks, and that will become all the more obvious if it sees Gonzalez join him and Chacin on the shelf.