Milwaukee — The way Brewers center Garrett Mitchell has been feeling the past few days, he was expecting an MRI of his injured left shoulder to reveal good news. But Mitchell and the ball club got the opposite.
Mitchell, who was injured on a dive at third base during Tuesday’s overtime win in Seattle, sustained severe damage to his non-marring shoulder and faces potentially season-ending surgery. First, he’ll get a second opinion on Monday in Los Angeles from Dr. Neil El Atrash, who can get the fix done as early as Tuesday.
What I felt and what I discovered, [they are] Two different kinds,” Mitchell said. “I don’t feel that bad, but with what I’ve heard it’s clearly not good. At this time, I really don’t know exactly how I’m feeling yet, but I’m just trying to stay positive.”
While the surgery would “certainly put the rest of the season in jeopardy,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said, Mitchell was not prepared to slam the door on playing during the postseason, or in the postseason itself if the team got that far. The 24-year-old started the season as Milwaukee’s No. 4 prospect, per MLB pipeline, before graduating from the prospect’s status the same day he pitched two runs in the win over the Mets. 259/.307/.466 through 62 plate appearances.
It was a chance play that knocked him down. Mitchell started the 10th inning of Tuesday’s Brewers Mariners game as a runner at second base and ran off third with guard to first. Ty France of Seattle made a snap throw to third, and Mitchell avoided the mark while diving behind the bag with his left arm extended, then lunged back safely with his right.
In the process, he felt his left shoulder briefly pop out of its socket. Mitchell had range of motion and strength tests at the end of the inning and returned to center field, but felt sensation again when he caught a fly ball and threw it home in the bottom of the tenth inning. At that point, he quit the game.
“It’s clearly a freak accident,” Mitchell said. “There’s nothing I could do to change what happened. If I had to redo that play 100 times, I would do it the exact same way. The number of times I’ve had to dunk the bag is more times than I can count in my career, so I wouldn’t change what I did.” It’s unfortunate that it happened this way, but I wouldn’t change what I did.”
Asked about what lies ahead, Conseil said, “You just have to do rehab, improve yourself, push yourself through a tough summer when those things happen, and then he’ll be back to normal and ready to go.”
The Brewers’ No. 3 prospect and rookie Joey Wiemer made his second consecutive start in center field on Friday and is expected to carry most of the load there in the near term. Blake Perkins, who was called up Wednesday when Mitchell went off the 10-day injured list, is also considered an overweight player with quarterback abilities.
Future options include Tyrone Taylor, who has been sidelined since the start of spring training with a right elbow injury but is in his first week of games at extended spring camp. If all goes well, he will advance to Triple-A Nashville on Tuesday.
“This is the start of spring training for him, and there’s an injury, so we have to let him play and let him play as well as he can come here and play and have a number of batters under his belt,” Chancellor said. “There’s no particular number, but he won’t play two games in Nashville.”
Another Minor League option is the Brewers’ second-ranked Sal Frelick, but he jammed his left thumb on a slide the same night Mitchell fell. Triple-A Nashville put Frelick on IL for seven days and was in Milwaukee Thursday for his checkup and to undergo an MRI scan himself. Mitchell and Frelick actually crossed paths while they were going to their dates.
Frelick’s results were still pending as of Friday afternoon.
Joey’s been playing all three positions; he’s got a lot of time in center field,” Mitchell said. The organization, all the fans, everyone should be happy and excited about it. He’ll do a good job.”
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