Brewers exploring catching options after Vogt’s injury

Phoenix – After Stephen Vogt put in tremendous hours of work this offseason in hopes to come into Spring Training with a much better throwing arm, he has been placed on the Disabled List and will miss approximately a month of the season. March 12 was the last time Vogt played in a Cactus League game before he suffered shoulder pain after a throwing session. Him and the doctors went through an appointment and came to a realization that Vogt had a right shoulder strain. The 33 year-old backstop signed a one-year, $3.065 million guaranteed deal to avoid arbitration. Even with his shoulder condition, which has limited him to only ten at-bats this spring, General Manager David Stearns has made it obvious that he wants Vogt to be on the squad in 2018.

“We want him here. Stephen brings a lot to this team. Part of it is what he does on the field, which we all see. Part of it also is what he does in our clubhouse, the type of presence he has become here, what he brought to us last year when we acquired him, and what he continues to be this year.”

Vogt’s recovery process will most likely take up to four weeks of not throwing, while doing pylometric drills to stay in shape. After the four weeks, Vogt will probably go through a minor league rehab assignment.

The Brewers will enter the season with Manny Pina starting at catcher, as planned, with Jett Bandy backing him up. Vogt’s injury will delay Stearns’ decision on whether to put Bandy on waivers or not. However, even with Vogt’s injury, Bandy is not yet safe as the Brewers could be monitoring the catching market.

Right now, there are not many catchers available. Veterans Carlos Ruiz and Geovany Soto are two of the few catchers unsigned and left on the market. But there soon will be many more catchers available in the next week because of the out-dates that catchers who signed minor league contracts will want. Derek Norris, Miguel Montero, and Hector Sanchez all may want to re-enter free agency if they are not added to an active roster or Opening Day. Major League teams also have the authority to make an out-of-options player, so the Brewers will be watching for catching in that aspect also. There is also a mere possibility of a trade to a major league player, but more likely – a minor league player.

Milwaukee does have options on minor league catchers in Christian Bethancourt and Tyler Heineman. Jacob Nottingham is also a catcher in the Brewers system.

Vogt’s injury absence doesn’t seem like it will be that long, so it will be interesting to see if the Brewers make any moves before the season starts on March 29th.

By Jacob Szczap

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