The Brewers have only been playing Spring Training games for a little over a week, but the injuries are starting to mount up.
Luckily, nothing appears to be too serious. Ryan Braun sat out the weekend with a bruised knee after fouling a ball off it on Thursday, cutting his short time in Brewers camp before the World Baseball Classic even shorter. Braun says he’s fine to play nine innings for Team USA, though, which is probably a good thing — he’s one of only four outfielders on the roster.
Yovani Gallardo’s WBC status, however, is a little hairy. Gallardo strained a groin in his last start, but was able to throw a bullpen session today. The clean bullpen means he’s cleared for the WBC, but the Brewers want him to throw one more inning for them on Tuesday…something that might not be able to happen due to the tournament’s rules, as Adam McCalvy explains.
Gallardo isn’t the only hobbled pitcher — Kelvim Escobar made his long-awaited debut in a spring game on Sunday, on a Major League mound for the first time in three years. Unfortunately, it didn’t last long — after striking out the first batter he faced, his next five batters went walk-popout-wild pitch-walk-hit batter before leaving the game with a hand injury. Initial reports had Escobar experiencing elbow soreness, but later was changed to soreness/lack of strength in his hand.
The biggest scare over the weekend, though, was with Aramis Ramirez. Ramirez jammed his knee sliding into second base on a hustle double on Saturday and had to leave the game, much in the same way Alex Gonzalez tore his ACL last season. Ramirez’s MRI on Sunday came back showing no structural damage — just a “strain” — but even before the results came out, there were some encouraging comments. Ramirez said he talked to Gonzalez about his own injury, basically comparing conditions the day after getting hurt, and was encouraged by the lack of knee swelling. Ron Roenicke said Ramirez would be out “a week or a little more than that,” but considering the panic that surrounded the injury for about 24 hours, missing a week-plus doesn’t seem that bad.
The most important thing about spring training is making it through alive. Wins and losses and statistics during spring training don’t mean a thing — they’re not going to impact your chances in the regular season. Injuries are the only thing about spring training that can significantly impact regular season success. Right now, the Brewers are getting more than their fair share of scares.