The Milwaukee Brewers were dealt another injury blow Wednesday, as an MRI revealed that slugger Eric Thames has suffered a torn ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in his left thumb. In a corresponding move, the Brewers have recalled RHP Brandon Woodruff to take Thames’ place on the 25-man active roster. The news was first announced on the club’s official Twitter account Wednesday afternoon.
— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) April 25, 2018
MRI Reveals UCL Tear in Eric Thames Left Thumb
Thames jammed his thumb making a diving stop on a grounder to first in the eighth inning of the Brewers 5-2 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday. Despite initially remaining in the game and completing the inning, Thames was removed in the ninth and underwent an MRI to determine the severity of the injury.
The results delivered the worst-case scenario for the Brewers, and while the club has yet to announce a timetable for his return, ligament damage often signals a lengthy absence. Back in 2014, Bryce Harper missed two months with a thumb UCL tear, while Mike Trout missed six weeks with the same injury last season. Surgery will likely be the best course of action for Thames, although the Brewers will perform more tests before making a decision.
This season, Thames has connected on a team-leading seven home runs to go along with 13 RBI, 11 runs scored, and two stolen bases while slashing .250/.351/.625. By all accounts, Thames was off to another strong beginning to the month of April, after he took the MLB by storm with a scorching hot start to 2017 in his return to the big leagues from three seasons in the KBO.
The UCL tear adds Thames to a growing list of Brewers battling the injury bug to start 2018, with Jimmy Nelson, Wade Miley, Boone Logan, and Stephen Vogt all beginning the campaign on the DL, while closer Corey Knebel joined the list just over a week into the season. The Brewers are fortunate to have strong depth and versatility at first base and the two corner outfield spots, with Ryan Braun, Domingo Santana, and Christian Yelich — who himself just recently returned from a short 10-day DL stint — all considered to be capable everyday contributors. Braun is likely to take over as the primary first baseman for the Brew Crew, while Jesus Aguilar may also receive increased playing time in Thames’ absence.
The Brewers — who have won seven in a row entering play Wednesday — will play the finale of their two-game inter-league set in Kansas City before heading to Chicago for four games at Wrigley over the weekend against the Chicago Cubs.
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