Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers ’15 – #30 Tyler Thornburg

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We did it! Another milestone along the way to Opening Day has been reached and passed. We’re officially inside of a month. Just 30 days remain until April 6 when Miller Park springs back to life. I can almost smell the tailgating.

As we continue to wind our way through “Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers”, we’ve reached #30 and as such have reached…

Tyler Thornburg.

TylerThornburg

Conveniently, Thornburg had his first appearance on the mound in his #30 Brewers uniform in quite some time yesterday. It was a rough finish for Thornburg in 2014 after all. He went down with what was originally called an elbow injury. Thornburg suffered a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament during his freshman year of high school but rehabbed his way through it and hadn’t dealt with issues since. Word eventually came down that Thornburg had inflammation in his right wrist and elbow but would not need Tommy John surgery, the fix for a ruptured UCL. It was later termed as “UCL weakness” and without significant progress on his own, the decision was made for Thornburg to have a platelet-rich plasma injection (or “PRP”) in the elbow. That seemed to do the trick and despite a distinct lack of information over the winter, Thornburg was expected to be ready during Spring Training.

It turned out to be better than that as Thornburg began throwing bullpen sessions in January. He’s on the right track for Opening Day and the decision was even made to stretch him out to increase his stamina and perhaps have him be the long reliever or return to starting games at Triple-A. One of Thornburg’s issues when he first switched to relief was getting his arm to bounce back, and a move back to starting or long relief — which tends to have more down time — could be better for him physically anyway.

After all, Thornburg was having a very good season up until June 6th when his arm failed him and he was lit up in an inning of work against the Pirates. He was one of the best relievers in Ron Roenicke’s bullpen early, carrying a 0.61 ERA at the end of an April that saw him make 14 appearances. May wasn’t great. 11 games and a 6.00 ERA. He had a very good June 3rd appearance that dropped his ERA back under 3.00 but then disaster on the 6th when five earnies pushed his ERA back up to 4.25.

We all know that when Thornburg is right, he’s got electric stuff. He works hard to keep the ball down and his strikeout numbers were up last year before the injury. That said, he did post a 6.4 BB/9 which is frightening, but to be fair four walks came in that final inning of work on June 6 so that skewed the number a bit.

Regardless of his eventual role, a healthy Thornburg will be a major asset to Roenicke and the Brewers either right away as the 2015 season gets underway or at some point if he has cause to start with the new Class-AAA affiliate in Colorado Springs. Either way, expect to see a healthy Thornburg as a key contributor.

Welcome back.

You can (and should) follow Tyler on Twitter: @TylerThornburg

Catch up on the countdown!

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