Tom Gorzelanny to begin rehab assignment Wednesday | Disciples of Uecker

Disciples of Uecker

We'd like to go to the Playoffs, that would be cool.

Will Smith and Zach Duke have given the Brewers two very good lefties out of the bullpen to start the year. A third is a step closer to joining them in Milwaukee.

Tom Gorzelanny will begin his rehab assignment Wednesday with High-A Brevard County, the Brewers announced, and will start working his way back up the system. Recovering from offseason shoulder surgery to repair damage found in his rotator cuff and labrum, Gorzelanny is expected to need the full 30 days allotted for rehab assignments in order to get back into regular season form.

Gorzelanny posted a 3.90 ERA in 43 appearances for the Brewers last season, nearly matching his FIP of 3.94. As just a reliever, though, Gorzelanny’s ERA dropped to 2.70 (albeit in just 36.2 innings) and he held opponents to a .168/.290/.285 line.

While we’re still a month away from trying to figure out where Gorzelanny will fit into the bullpen, it’s hard to imagine the Brewers will keep all three of Smith, Duke and Wei-Chung Wang on the 25-man roster when Gorzelanny is ready to return. While Smith has shown he can get both left- and right-handed hitters out, it’s easier to be skeptical of Duke’s newfound ability in that department. Wang hasn’t been trusted to get *anyone* out, appearing in just 5 of the Brewers’ first 39 games.

Despite that, the Brewers haven’t shown any indication they’re ready to give Pittsburgh whatever it takes to make a deal for the ability to send Wang down, keeping him on the roster through multiple roster jams through the season’s first six weeks. He could “conveniently” come down with arm fatigue or soreness around the time Gorzelanny is expected back, but as a Rule 5 pick, Wang still has to be active for 90 days during the season — meaning he’d have to return to the active roster at some point this season. With the way the Brewers have started the season, July and August suddenly look a lot more important than they did on Opening Day, and it’d be even more difficult to justify using a roster spot on him before rosters expand in September than it was before.

The Brewers likely won’t worry about what to do with Wang until Gorzelanny gets closer to making his return, so there’s still a few more weeks to think — and argue — about it. There’s little doubt that Gorzelanny would make for a much more useful longman than Wang has at this point, though, and by the time he arrives in late June, his ability to soak up multiple innings will be much appreciated.

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Tell us what do you think.

  1. L says: May 14, 2014

    The Brewers simply need to have Wang on the active roster through till June 28th to meet the 90 day requirement and then he could be place on the the DL until at least sometime in Sept (a combination of a 15 day and the 60 day DL should cover that — this would make him unavailable until Sept. 13th), correct? I believe Gorzelanny’s 30 day rehab would take him through till June 12th so the Brewers will have to find a way to allow create room for Gorzelanny and keep Wang for exactly 16 days — almost the exact number of days of a minor DL stint (15 days). I wonder if Z.Duke or W.Smith might end up suffering from some shoulder soreness around the 12th of June which will land them on the 15 day DL or if Gorzelanny can extend his rehab by being placed on the 15 day DL himself after his 30 day rehab assignment (not sure if that’s allowed)? Either way that leaves one additional day where perhaps the Brewers simply carry an extra arm and play extra thin with regards to their position players by optioning one of them down to the minors for a day before refilling that position by moving Wang off the 25-man roster.

    • L says: May 14, 2014

      A curiosity I have deals with the expanded roster that becomes eligible to play in regular season games come Sept. 1st and how it relates to the Rule 5 draft rules. For instance if the month of Sept. is considered to be 28 days per the games played, April was 30 days, March was 1 day, and if simply being on the expanded roster in Sept. counts as being active in order to reach the 90 days of active eligibility for Rule 5 draft picks Wang would only need to be on the 25- man roster through May 31th to meet the requirements. This would also mean that a 60 day DL stint along with 2 15 day DL sints would nearly cover the remaining time minus one day. I wonder if this is the game plan for the Brewers — keep him on the active 25-man roster through till the 2nd of June where they can then move him to the 15 day DL and follow that up with a second 15 day DL before moving him to the 60 day DL; he’d be capable of returning on the 1st of September then and simply brought back as part of the expanded roster and not the 25-man roster in order to complete the 90 day active player requirement.


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