MILWAUKEE — All-Star closer Josh Hader has joined the growing collection of Milwaukee Brewers on the COVID-19 injured list.
Brewers manager Craig Counsell said Hader reported contact with someone experiencing “COVID-like symptoms.”
“So we tested him, and it came back positive,” Counsell said before the Brewers’ Monday night game with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The Pirates were also facing virus-related issues. Pittsburgh placed pitcher Chad Kuhl on the COVID-19 list after a positive test and recalled pitcher Shea Spitzbarth from Triple-A Indianapolis.
The positive tests mean Hader and Kuhl must sit out 10 days.
Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich and pitchers Jake Cousins, Jandel Gustave and Hunter Strickland already had been placed on the COVID-19 list over the last few days. The Brewers reinstated utilityman Jace Peterson on Monday after he had been sidelined due to contact tracing.
“The symptoms the guys are experiencing are fairly minor,” Counsell said. “We check in with them and have had no real health scares with them, so we feel like we’re in a good place there. Obviously, losing players fairly regularly hurts and makes it challenging.”
Counsell declined to say whether Hader was vaccinated.
Hader’s absence puts even more pressure on a bullpen that already had lost Cousins, Gustave and Strickland. The Brewers did shore up their relief corps by adding Daniel Norris and John Curtiss at the trade deadline.
Milwaukee made one more move to boost its bullpen Monday by acquiring John Axford from the Toronto Blue Jays. Axford, who hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2018, was with the Brewers from 2009-13 and set a franchise record with 46 saves in 2011.
“Different names have to step up,” Counsell said. “That’s how it’s going to have to work. We’ve dealt with this off and on throughout the year, whether it was injuries and now COVID, so other guys are going to get the ball and have to step up.”
Hader is 3-2 with a 1.83 ERA, 22 saves and 67 strikeouts in 39 1/3 innings this season.