MILWAUKEE — Already with two relievers and a pitcher who struggled mightily at Triple A in their rotation, the Milwaukee Brewers may have to find a way to fill another rotation spot.
Left-hander Tom Gorzelanny left Friday’s 4-1 loss to Washington in the top of the second inning after getting drilled in the left elbow by a line drive off the bat of Nationals right fielder Jayson Werth.
X-rays were negative and Gorzelanny is day-to-day with a left elbow contusion, but whether he can make his next start is up in the air.
“It definitely doesn’t feel good right now,” Gorzleanny said. “It’s hard to tell a couple of hours after it just happened. We’ll see what happens.”
Starting against his former team, Gorzelanny needed just eight pitches to cruise through the top of the first inning. Werth led off the second inning with a bullet back through the box. The ball struck Gorzelanny’s elbow and rolled all the way to the foul line for an infield single.
“It got me pretty square in the elbow,” Gorzelanny said. “It was extremely painful right after. They say normally guys get hit and usually make the play and after that the pain sets in. This was one of those things where it got me really good. I couldn’t even attempt for the ball. It was pretty painful.”
Gorzelanny immediately hunched over in pain, eventually dropping to a knee. It was evident the left-hander was going to have to leave the game a short time after Brewers athletic trainer Dan Wright and manager Ron Roenicke came out to check on him.
The warmup pitch Gorzelanny attempted had nothing on it, and he quickly walked off the mound.
“I was trying to, I wanted to (throw a warmup pitch),” Gorzelanny said. “I thought it was just one of those funny bone things that goes away after a little bit. I sat on the mound, tried to muster up something and tried to throw it there. I just went back and there was nothing, no feeling in there. Wasn’t worth trying to make an effort.”
Already short in the bullpen because of a doubleheader last Tuesday, the Brewers needed to use five relievers to cover the final eight innings of the game. Alfredo Figaro helped tremendously by going four innings and allowing just one run.
“It’s very frustrating,” Gorzleanny said. “Not only the fact that I wanted to go out there and pitch, I felt really good in the first inning and warming up, but the other part of it is I threw one inning and really hurt the bullpen for the next couple of days. That’s always tough to do and tough to swallow.”
While it’s too early to tell if Gorzelanny will be able to take his next turn Wednesday in San Francisco, Roenicke and the Brewers must begin to prepare an alternative plan.
Right-hander Marco Estrada’s day to pitch would be Wednesday, but he lasted just 2 2/3 innings in his rehab start Friday and the Brewers feel he isn’t ready to come back just yet. Figaro, who has made five starts this season, would be the only other option without dipping back into the minor leagues.
The Brewers have already used 11 starting pitchers this season, leaving Roenicke feeling a bit snake-bit on the mound.
“We are, no doubt,” Roenicke said. “Why can’t it hit him in another part of the body instead of the left elbow? It just keeps going on. We’ll figure it out. Hopefully he’ll be able to make that next start.”