Milwaukee Brewers reliever Devin Williams fractured his throwing hand when he punched a wall after his team celebrated their NL Central title, something that is likely to knock him out for the entire postseason.
Brewers president of baseball operations David Stearns said before the Brewers’ Wednesday night game with the St Louis Cardinals that Williams‘ injury is likely to require surgery. Stearns said there’s an “outside chance” the 2020 NL rookie of the year could be available for the World Series if the Brewers get that far.
The Brewers clinched the division crown on Sunday by beating the New York Mets 8-4 in their regular-season home finale.
“After our celebration, I went out to have a few drinks,” Williams said on Wednesday. “On my way home, I was a little frustrated and upset, and I punched a wall. That’s how it happened.”
The injury leaves the Brewers without their main setup man for All-Star closer Josh Hader.
“I don’t think it’s going to be one player who fills that role,” manager Craig Counsell said. “I think it’s going to be multiple players that fill that role. And when you say the role, don’t think about the regular season is what I guess I would say. It’s going to be a pitcher. It’s not necessarily going to be a reliever. We have to get 27 outs to win a playoff game. That’s truly how we see it.”
Williams, a 27-year-old right-hander, has an 8-2 record with a 2.50 ERA in 58 games this season. He has struck out 87 batters in 54 innings. Opponents are batting .186 against him.
Williams initially didn’t realize the severity of his injury.
“Devin actually tried to throw with this yesterday,” Stearns said. “We were not aware of this. He went out and tried to throw. I think at that point, he recognized that he had hurt himself.”
Stearns said Williams then notified the Brewers‘ medical staff. Williams received an X-ray during Tuesday’s game that revealed the fracture.
Williams apologized to the Brewers and their fans for the circumstances that led to his injury.
“I’m pretty upset with myself,” Williams said. “There’s no one to blame but me. I feel like I’ve let my team down – our coaching staff, our fans, everyone. I know how big of a role that I play on this team. There’s a lot of people counting on me. I guess all I can do now is cheer my team on and learn from it and don’t make that same mistake in the future.”
First baseman Daniel Vogelbach said Williams’ teammates have his back.
“It’s not something that you expect to hear but good for him for standing up,” Vogelbach said after the Brewers beat St Louis on Wednesday night. “It takes a man to be able to stand up and talk about it and admit it and talk to you guys about it. Good for him. Everybody makes mistakes and it’s easy to point fingers, but I think it’s what we’ve done all year and that’s pick each other up.”
The Brewers placed Williams on the injured list. They recalled right-handed pitcher Colin Rea from Triple-A Nashville.
“The way we look at it now is it’s an opportunity for someone else,” Counsell said. “Somebody else is going to get a big job in the postseason and an opportunity to help us win.”