Brewers closer Corey Knebel will undergo Tommy John surgery and miss the 2019 season, he announced on Friday.
Knebel will have the operation on Wednesday in Los Angeles and plans to be ready for the start of the 2020 season or close to it.
The 27-year-old had his elbow examined recently by three doctors and team physician William Raasch to help make a decision on whether to have surgery or try to rehab it this season. Knebel said doctors recommended he have surgery this year but told him the decision was his to make. He told reporters on Friday that it was tough to be allowed to make the final choice but thought "it's better to do it now than wait until later." Knebel didn't want to risk rehab failing this season and then he would have to miss a second season by having surgery next year.
The Brewers closer first reported discomfort in his elbow after his last spring training appearance on March 17.
Knebel recorded a 3.58 ERA with 16 saves in 2018. Although he struggled in 2018 and was briefly demoted to the minors, he rebounded late in the season and did not allow a run in September. Coming into 2019, Knebel was the presumptive closer ahead of Josh Hader and Jeremy Jeffress.