The Value of Veteran Presence | Disciples of Uecker

Disciples of Uecker

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The Value of Veteran Presence

By on September 27, 2012

Thursday’s game ended a way we are all familiar with despite the last month and a half of joy: a closely contended game thrown away by the bullpen. Although crazier things have happened than what the Brewers will need to force a play-in game for the right to play in the Wild Card play-in game — a 6-0 homestand combined with a 2-4 finish by the Cardinals — the future is as much a concern as the present right now. And therefore, what Aramis Ramirez did in Thursday’s game deserves mention.

No, not his 0-for-4 day at the plate. From’s Adam McCalvy:

But Peralta was not 100 percent after the second inning, when he told veteran third baseman Aramis Ramirez that his right arm was bothering him. Ramirez passed word to Roenicke, and staffers kept a close eye on Peralta over the ensuing innings.

He looked just fine. Peralta surrendered only two Reds singles and no runs through five innings, but looked wild while striking out opposing pitcher Mat Latos to begin the sixth. When the Brewers went around the horn after the play, the infielders wouldn’t return the baseball to Peralta. Head athletic trainer Dan Wright visited the mound and Peralta immediately exited.

By all accounts, Peralta’s injury is not a major one — just bicep tightness. He may even be able to start again this season. But these little aches and pains, if unchecked, are what forces a pitcher to overcompensate elsewhere, possibly causing the more damaging shoulder and elbow injuries. Those are the injures that cost pitchers weeks, months, or even full seasons.

Teams do plenty of silly things in the name of veteran presence. They let Craig Counsell tie a major league hitless streak at 0-for-45. They play Mark Kotsay in center field. The list goes on. But when teams talk about the value of having a player who has been around, a player who knows the game — not just baseball but Major League Baseball in particular — they’re not just blowing smoke up your ass. Thursday shows why.

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