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Corbin Burnes injury: Brewers ace leaves start early with pectoral strain

We’ve got the latest on Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Corbin Burnes after the righty left his start against the Mariners with a chest injury.

Corbin Burnes of the Milwaukee Brewers pitches during the first inning against the Seattle Mariners at T-Mobile Park on April 17, 2023 in Seattle, Washington. Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

The Milwaukee Brewers’ much-ballyhooed starting rotation was already taking on a little bit of water after Brandon Woodruff went on the shelf with a sub-scap strain in his shoulder. If there was a silver lining, though, it’s that Milwaukee boasted two other aces in Corbin Burnes and Freddy Peralta to help keep the team afloat.

About that:

Burnes was sailing through the first five innings of his start against the Seattle Mariners on Monday night. But after getting Julio Rodriguez to fly out to center to start the sixth, he immediately looked to the dugout and signaled for a trainer. The righty tried to stay in the game but was eventually forced to leave, walking off the mound while appearing to grab his chest.

The team has diagnosed Burnes (for now, at least) with a pectoral strain:

It’s somewhat of a relief that team and player believe the injury to be relatively minor, and that Craig Counsell is already talking about Burnes making his next start. Of course, Woodruff said the same thing about his injury and will now be out for at least several weeks, so it’s probably too early to relax for Brewers fans or Burnes’ fantasy owners. If the righty were forced to miss a start (or more), the team could turn to Janson Junk in Triple-A, who’s already been called up to make one spot start earlier this year.

Burnes had gotten off to a slow start in 2023, posting a 5.19 ERA over his first three starts. His loss is still a major one for a Brewers team largely built around its pitching — the 2021 NL Cy Young Award winner has been one of the very best starters in baseball since breaking out during the pandemic-shortened season in 2020, with a 2.82 ERA and 11.4 K/9 over the last three years.

Should Burnes wind up missing time, fantasy owners may look at someone like Taj Bradley of the Tampa Bay Rays, Anthony DeSclafani of the San Francisco Giants or Brad Keller of the Kansas City Royals on the waiver wire as a temporary replacement. Here’s hoping it doesn’t come to that, though.