MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee Brewers right-hander Brandon Woodruff appears on the verge of returning from the shoulder injury that has prevented the two-time All-Star from pitching in the majors since early April.
Brewers manager Craig Counsell said Thursday that "everything tracks" toward Woodruff starting Sunday against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Woodruff made just two starts this season before going on the injured list April 11.
Woodruff worked 4 2/3 innings for Triple-A Nashville on Tuesday, marking his third start in a rehabilitation assignment. That would clear the way for Woodruff to pitch Sunday when the Brewers close a four-game series with the Pirates.
"I feel like with our starting pitching, looking that far forward hasn't done us any good," Counsell said, referring to the staff's injury issues. "But everything that Woody has done in the last three weeks has been good news every day."
The 30-year-old Woodruff was 1-0 with an 0.79 ERA and 12 strikeouts in 11 1/3 innings before going on the injured list. He went 13-4 with a 3.05 ERA and 190 strikeouts in 153 1/3 innings last season.
"We haven't had him essentially all season, so it's definitely a big add," Counsell said.
The Brewers activated third baseman/outfielder Brian Anderson (back) from the injured list on Thursday and optioned right-handed pitcher Trevor Megill and infielder Abraham Toro to Nashville. They added left-handed reliever Andrew Chafin to the active roster, two days after acquiring him from the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Anderson has batted .229 with a .317 on-base percentage, nine homers and 38 RBI in 85 games while splitting time between third base and right field this season.
Most of his playing time now should come in the infield because the Brewers promoted outfielder Sal Frelick and have acquired former New York Mets outfielder Mark Canha while Anderson was on the injured list. He will be competing for playing time at third with Andruw Monasterio, who is hitting .288 with a .373 on-base percentage as a rookie.
"The thing with getting Brian back is Andruw's going to play quite a bit here still because he's played really well and has swung the bat really, really well," Counsell said. "We need that. But I think we're getting a player back that's very good defensively. If we need versatility from him, we've got it."