Milwaukee Brewers left-hander Tom Gorzelanny underwent shoulder surgery last week, assistant general manager Gord Ash told reporters at the Winter Meetings in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
Gorzelanny left Milwaukee’s game on Sept. 2 with soreness in his left shoulder and did not pitch again. Ash told reporters the procedure was to clean up the shoulder after rest and therapy didn’t work.
The 31-year-old spent his first season with the Brewers bouncing back and forth between the rotation and the bullpen. Gorzelanny went 3-6 with a 3.90 ERA in 43 games and 10 starts, but pitched much better as a reliever than he did as a starter.
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Gorzelanny, who is signed through the 2014 season, went 2-5 with a 4.81 ERA in 10 starts last season, while he had a 2.70 ERA in 33 relief appearances. Ash told reporters Gorzelanny won’t be able to pitch until mid-March but feels he’ll be ready for the start of the season because he will be coming out of the bullpen.
Bullpen comes second: Adding relievers with experience is a priority of Brewers general manager Doug Melvin, but doing so may have to wait.
Melvin said Monday he’d ideally like to add two relievers with late-inning experience this offseason, but he’s focused on solving first base before anything else. As far as a timeline to when he’d like to have an answer at first base, Melvin said he doesn’t have one but would like to get it solidified.
“We don’t want to go and spend money on bullpen help and then we find, ‘Oh man, we could have had this guy at first base instead,'” Melvin. “That all interacts with each other. We’re not in a situation where we can go and do what we want on two or three spots and worry about it later.”
Melvin told reporters he met with free-agent first baseman Corey Hart’s agent, Jeff Berry, on Monday, but no deal is looming quite yet. Hart was recently cleared by doctors, but the Brewers are still weighing the risk that comes with a player coming off two knee surgeries.
“You talk about any injury, that’s where risk comes involved,” Melvin said. “Players can perform drills, but what we have to look at is a 162-game schedule in 180 days. How many of those games can be played?
“We’ve broken this thing down where there’s 36 day games after night games and are those games that can be played? It’s just a matter of how much risk you want to take on any injury, just not Corey’s.”
MLB.com reported Melvin met with Mets general manager Sandy Alderson on Monday, presumably about first baseman Ike Davis.
Davis, 26, has been shopped around by the Mets after he struggled in 2013 after hitting 32 home runs and driving in 90 runs in 2012. What Melvin has to weigh is if acquiring a player like Davis, who hit .205 with nine home runs and 33 RBI while striking out 101 times in 377 plate appearances, is worth giving up a player of value.
FOXSports.com Ken Rosenthal has reported the Brewers have inquired about Marlins first baseman Logan Morrison, another player coming off a down season. The 26-year-old hit .242 with six home runs and 36 RBI in 85 games last year.
The Brewers still control Juan Francisco, who brings power potential with a lot of strikeouts, just like Davis.
“We still view Juan Francisco as still a guy there if we get to that point, but he’s inexperienced playing first,” Melvin said. “Through his inexperience he struggled defensively, but the power numbers intrigue you. If you look at what he’s done in the at-bats he’s done it in, compared to a few players that are out there, there’s not a huge difference.”
Whenever Melvin moves on to shoring up the team’s bullpen, experience will be at the top of his list. The Brewers bring back closer Jim Henderson and set-up man Brandon Kintzler, but both are relatively new to their roles.
The Chicago Sun-Times reported Monday that the Brewers have checked in on former Cubs closer Carlos Marmol, which would make sense as he’s one of the few players on the market with late-inning experience.
“We’d like to have a little bit of experience,” Melvin said. “Most of (the in-house options) don’t have that kind of experience. We like the numbers we have, it’s just a matter of (experience). Maybe one of those young starters can go to the bullpen too.”
Quotes for this story provided by the Milwaukee Brewers and Pro TV Sports