Thornburg to DL, Fiers coming up

A day after absorbing most of the blows in the Pirates’ eight-run sixth inning, Brewers reliever Tyler Thornburg hit the 15-day disabled list Saturday with a sore right elbow. Thornburg said initial tests did not raise significant red flags about his ulnar collateral ligament, but he was scheduled to travel to Milwaukee on Sunday for an examination with head team physician William Raasch.

The Brewers promoted right-hander Mike Fiers from Triple-A Nashville to take Thornburg’s spot in the bullpen.

“Obviously, there’s so many different things in there that it could be,” Thornburg said. “We’re waiting to get it checked out to see if we can be a little more specific and go from there. We’ll narrow it down.”

Elbow injuries have plagued pitchers throughout baseball this season, the most serious of which, involving the UCL, require reconstructive “Tommy John” surgery and a yearlong rehabilitation. Thornburg said he suffered a partially torn UCL during his freshman year in high school, but rehabbed without surgery and has not experienced a notable elbow injury of any kind since then.

He hopes things stay that way.

“It’s been going on a good bit,” Thornburg said of the soreness. “It’s just one of those things that was more annoying. Then it started to get a little bit worse and I let them know about it a couple of weeks ago. We’ve been trying to work on some stuff and it started to get a little bit better. Then it got into a situation where I don’t know whether it was fatigued or what, but I couldn’t really grip the ball well. Obviously, things have gotten progressively worse as far as my control.

“The bullpen needed it, so I was trying to fight through it, but as soon as I’m not helping the team and doing more damage than good, it’s one of those things where [he had to shut it down]. I thought it was inevitable. I’m hoping to take 15 days and be 100 percent back to where I was.”

Before this season, Thornburg had never pitched regularly as a reliever.

“I wasn’t used to bouncing back, but I feel like I take care of myself pretty well,” he said. “Sometimes you can do everything possible, and things will happen. That’s the nature of the game. No matter how good you take care of yourself and what you do, it’s unnatural throwing.”

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