While the Brewers were cruising to a relatively easy 7-1 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks Friday night, they picked up another injury in the infield. Shortstop Cesar Izturis, who was enjoying a rare good offensive game and started a pair of double plays, came up lame while rounding third and trying to score in the 7th inning.
Almost immediately after the game, Izturis was placed on the disabled list with a strained hamstring, and Edwin Maysonet was recalled from Nashville. Maysonet went 0-for-2 with a walk in Friday night’s Nashville win over Round Rock.
When Izturis got hurt last night, I tweeted that it was not good news for the Brewers. Almost immediately, I got a few responses wondering why losing Izturis was a bad thing. Yes, he’s hitting only .216/.242/.261, even after his 2-for-3 night. Offensively, it probably won’t be a big loss. He’s well-below replacement level in that department, while new pickup Cody Ransom at least has a chance to be above replacement level.
It’s the defense where losing Izturis will hurt. Despite his age, Izturis was still providing above-average performance with the glove. In less than a full month, the Brewers have gone from excellent defense at shortstop (Alex Gonzalez) to above-average defense (Izturis) to what most likely will be poor defense (Ransom). Maysonet is more or less average with the glove, but his bat isn’t much better than Izturis’. It was easy to pick on Izturis for not being very good overall, but the truth is he was better than just about every other internal option the Brewers had. Perhaps Jeff Bianchi will eventually get a chance, but he just came off the disabled list for Nashville.
Following a year in which the team had impressive luck when it came to injuries (only six different starting pitchers used the entire year, most of the everyday starters healthy after the first month), it’s hard to watch this many players go down. Not only is Milwaukee losing starters, but they’re losing backup options now, too, and at a position where they had little organizational depth to begin with.
At this point, the best the Brewers can hope for is a productive few weeks out of Ransom and/or unlikely production from Maysonet while Doug Melvin waits for a trade market to develop. Really, it’d just be nice to get out of May without any more injuries. Izturis is the 5th player to land on the disabled list this month, joining Gonzalez, Mat Gamel, Marco Estrada and Carlos Gomez, who recently returned. Ryan Braun and Rickie Weeks have also missed and handful of games due to minor injuries, and Aramis Ramirez may be iffy for Saturday night after being hit on the elbow with a pitch Friday night.
That’s a total of 7 (and maybe 8) players that have missed time in the past month. Considering all the missed time, it’s a minor miracle the team’s record isn’t worse.