By: Melissa S. Wollering
We’re in Arizona all week, covering Cactus League play. And there’s nothing closer to feeling the prickly cacti stab of Spring Training karma, than having to play the second game of the season as Ben Sheets–against your former team.
As a major but injury-plagued contributor to the Milwaukee Brewers for many years, he sat out of the majors last year, undergoing offseason surgery in 09 to repair a torn flexor tendon in his right pitching arm. He made it no secret that he wished to head back to his beloved Texas and find a cosy spot with the Rangers (formerly Brewers) pitching coach Mike Maddux. Texas wasn’t havin’ nun of dat.
I actually think Ben can come back and give Oakland 12-14 solid wins this season. But he’ll have to avoid his season average 2 pulled groins, 3 stomach flu episodes, 14 hangnails, 2 sprained thumbs, 3 pinky finger injuries and 8 tightness in the shoulder cop-outs. Oakland will also have to put that nasty tasting nail polish they put on girls’ fingers to force them to stop biting their nails. Have fun with that one Oakland.
Not that it matters for Oakland’s currently lacking offense anyway. 14 more wins won’t help them earn a pennant. But Ben should have several great years left in him if he can get over his injury-tormented psyche. After all, this is All-Star Ben Sheets we’re talking about. The Team USA Olympian Ben Sheets.
So what will it be like for him to face many of the teammates he’s known as brothers for so many years? I imagine it’ll be like coming home in many ways and that his former teammates will welcome his presence on the field. These guys are only throwing 2 innings max in these Spring Training games this week anyway, so you won’t see put away more than six batters if I had to wager.
I’d like to know what Ben truly thinks of the pitching talent Milwaukee is playing with in 2010. With Randy Wolf and Doug Davis joining Yovani Gallardo and some combination of Parra, Suppan and/or Bush, where would he have fit in such a rotation? Would he have fit at all?
We’ll see Yovani pitch against Ben today and keep you posted on the major highlights occasionally throughout the game. Just follow us @MilwBrewersBeat and check back here later tonight for a recap and some great pictures, directly from Phoenix!
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