Brewers catcher Stephen Vogt, initially projected to be out for two to three weeks with a shoulder issue, experienced a setback when attempting to throw on the field today, tweets MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy. Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel adds that Vogt is headed for an MRI to further evaluate the root of his shoulder discomfort (Twitter links).
As both McCalvy and Haudricourt point out, the timing of the move puts both Vogt and the Brewers in a difficult spot. The well-respected veteran entered camp as the favorite to join Manny Pina in comprising Milwaukee’s primary catching tandem, but his status is now up in the air. Moreover, Vogt is out of minor league options and is on a non-guaranteed arbitration contract. The Brewers could still cut him between now and Opening Day and only owe Vogt 45 days of termination pay — or $ 750K of his $ 3.05MM arbitration salary.
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The injury is of interest not only because Vogt is out of minor league options but also due to the fact that fellow catcher Jett Bandy is out of options as well. It seemed like a long shot that both Vogt and Bandy would make the Opening Day roster (barring an injury to Pina), but Bandy looks less like the odd man out now that Vogt’s shoulder is proving to be a continued source of discomfort. Bandy hit just .207/.287/.349 through 188 MLB plate appearances in Milwaukee last year and hasn’t provided anything at the plate in 28 spring PAs (.222/.250/.296), but he nonetheless is likely to be the backup if Vogt proves unready for the opener.
Depending on the severity of Vogt’s shoulder, Milwaukee could cut him loose and try to bring him back to the organization on a new minor league contract. If he does ultimately make the roster, Vogt would be guaranteed the full $ 3.05MM to which he agreed in arbitration, even if he were to land on the disabled list to begin the year.