Cesar Izturis left the Brewers 7-1 win last night in the sixth inning. Izturis strained his left hamstring, and after evaluation last night, he was immediately placed on the 15-day Disabled List. Cody Ransom – the new acquisition from Arizona – will fill Cesar’s spot on the team at shortstop, right after he unpacks his stuff.
That puts the total on the DL up to five for Milwaukee, and while they don’t have it as bad as some other teams, Ransom is the final shortstop on the team’s roster. When asked by Adam McCalvy how Milwaukee would absorb another hit to the position, manager Ron Roenicke said “We can’t.” Encouraging words from the skip.
I can’t say that I was unimpressed by the way Ransom stepped into the shortstop role in Friday’s win. He had a solid hit, a pinch run and a run scored. It looks as if, for the moment, the resurgence of the journeyman’s career is continuing with Milwaukee where he left off with Arizona. Obviously we can’t see into the future, but something tells me that Cody Ransom will do a great job as the Brewers’ new starting shortstop. Not that he has a choice, of course.
Roenicke was right when he said that the team couldn’t handle another bad break – excuse the pun – at the shortstop position. Alex Gonzalez was a bona fide star on both sides of the ball. He hit well, moved easily through the base paths and made fielding his position look easy enough for anyone to do it. Just how good a pick-up was Gonzalez? He’s still the fourth best hitter on the team – and he hasn’t hit since May 5th. That was the day he tore his ACL, and on May 17th his season ended officially (as if we didn’t know) with surgery. Hopefully he’ll be back with the Brewers in 2013 – by that time he’ll probably be tenth on the team in hits.
After Gonzalez went down, Roenicke and company called in Cesar Izturis. Izturis won a spot on the bench this spring in part because the team thought veteran help off the bench is always worth its wait in gold, and partly because if we released the former gold glove shortstop we would have to give up an awful lot of that gold to eat his contract. And so, Izturis came on as a Brewer mostly to pinch hit and get great seats during ball games. But after Gonzalez went down Izturis had to be guy, and it looked like he would be cycled out of the lineup every now and again for Conrad, Green, Maysonet, or some other flavor-of-the-month from the Minor Leagues. Izturis – for the record – took a lot of flak from fans (OK, mainly just me) but he played as well as his 30-plus year-old frame could handle. He was sketchy with the bat, but put in some very good games before the injury that brings us to the present. He ended his season – so far, anyway – with a .225 average, one home run and four runs batted in. Not spectacular, by any means, but at least he tried.
So that brings us, once more, to a Mr. Cody Ransom. Ransom looked good on Friday night, and after his .500 performance against the former team he has put his average up to .278 on the year – far better than you’d expect from a 36 year-old waiver wire player. Even still, there are durability questions surrounding Ransom, who has yet to play a combined full season in ten years up and down between the Minors and Majors. For now, however, he is playing with everything I think he can give and you can’t ask for anything more.
I’d love to say that the injuries to this team bother me, but it’s just one of those situations you have to roll with because there’s simply nothing you can do about it. Players go down, and the next guy in line does his best to keep up the pace afterwards. So far, the Brewers reserve corps has been keeping pace as best they could – and if they can keep up their performance so far in Chase Field, it will be a very good pace to keep, indeed.