'That's it' for Sheets after gutsy start
Hurler may have thrown his final pitch with Milwaukee
MILWAUKEE -- In the moments after Saturday's 7-3 loss to the Cubs, with free agency looming and his right elbow aching, the longest-tenured Brewer was not quite ready to ponder whether he had thrown his final pitch for the only franchise he has known.Ask again Sunday, Ben Sheets begged. He did concede that, "It's the reality, probably." One thing Sheets did know: Even if the Brewers wiggle their way into the playoffs, he has thrown his final pitch in 2008. "That's it," Sheets said. "That's all I have. I've got a broke arm." It's not quite broken, but it is certainly damaged. Sheets had been pitching with pain in his right elbow since Aug. 24 in St. Louis, and he finally revealed the injury on Sept. 17 in Chicago after exiting a start after two innings. It appeared all week that Dave Bush would start for the Brewers on Saturday, a game they entered with a one-game lead over the Mets in the chase for the National League Wild Card. Sheets, though, said he could go. As he would say later, "It didn't work out." "I felt pretty good at the beginning, not great," Sheets said. "That didn't last long. I think in the third inning, it jumped on me pretty good." Cubs outfielder Daryle Ward, a late addition to a Chicago lineup stacked with subs, hit a bad fastball for a two-run home run in the first inning, when Sheets still felt relatively well. By the third inning, Sheets was hurting, and after an error by Bill Hall spotted the Cubs a baserunner to open the inning, Sheets walked two batters and surrendered a two-run single to Mike Fontenot that prompted interim manager Dale Sveum to tap the bullpen. It should have been obvious to the 45,288 fans in the stands, Sheets said, that something was not right. "If you've ever seen me pitch, you know I wasn't able to cut loose," he said. Sheets pitched in a Brewers uniform for the 221st time on Saturday. He is a free agent at season's end, and given his high price tag and his checkered medical history, the odds of a return to Milwaukee appear extremely slim.
|"He threw his heart out there."|
-- Brewers catcher|
on Ben Sheets
"He threw his heart out there," Kendall said. "He needs rest. Everybody in this clubhouse appreciates his effort."
Sveum was asked if he would count on Sheets for a postseason series, assuming it gets that far. His answer was telling."I don't know," Sveum said. "I'll have to deal with that in the next couple of days." Judging by Sheets' comments, the Brewers can count him out.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.