As a Sheets owner needing some SP help in the final month of the season, I'm thrilled to hear that he's on target for a late August or early September return. But then I realize this is Ben Sheets so I'll believe it when I see it.
I am the Master. Don't question the Master. Just do what he says and be proud.
Plan for Sheets It certainly won't hurt the rotation to get ace Ben Sheets back off the disabled list, where he has been since July 15 with an injury to the middle finger of his pitching hand. The Brewers have a four-step plan for returning Sheets to the rotation at the outset of September.
Sheets is scheduled to throw one more bullpen session on this home stand, followed by a simulated game next week in Phoenix, one minor-league rehabilitation outing and then back to the rotation. That's assuming no setbacks, of course.
As a team that needs any kind of good news regarding its pitching, the Milwaukee Brewers moved a step closer to getting such news Thursday.
Ben Sheets threw a bullpen session of what he said was four innings Thursday and is on track to throw a simulated game Monday in Arizona and then possibly a minor-league rehabilitation start.
If all goes well with no setbacks, Sheets could return to the Brewers' rotation possibly in time for the three-game series Aug. 28-30 in Chicago.
If he makes two rehabilitation starts in the minors, Sheets would return to the Brewers' rotation in the first few days of September.
"Slow and steady; slow and steady," Sheets said of his progress.
Sheets suffered a tear of tissue in the middle finger of his pitching hand on July 14 and has missed six starts. In that time, the Brewers' starting pitching has taken a decided turn south.
The only Brewers starter to record a victory in August is rookie Yovani Gallardo, who beat the Philadelphia Phillies, 2-1, on Aug. 3.
"It's at the point where I feel like I can help," Sheets said. "I feel like I'm close enough that I can help."
Manager Ned Yost said he was being careful not to rush Sheets back just because the starters have struggled.
"I want him to make sure that he feels good and that he's free and easy," Yost said.
Sheets said he threw all of his pitches and although there wasn't a batter in the batter's box as there would be in a simulated game, he tried to treat it as a simulated game. Along those lines, he sat down and then got back up as he would between innings.
Getting Sheets back would be a major boost for the Brewers' rotation.
"Just getting him back takes a lot of pressure off of everybody, knowing that they've got the No. 1 starter back," Yost said. "That can anchor everything else."
Sheets is eager to get back to action, but he also knows that feeling better does not guarantee a quick trip back to the rotation.
"They make the final decision," Sheets said. "I think it's going to feel like it feels the rest of the year. I think it got strong enough to where we could start throwing bullpen, and we did. We stayed aggressive. Whenever it allowed us to do something, we did it. We pushed it."
Blister stops Sheets' simulated session By Tom Haudricourt Monday, Aug 20 2007, 04:41 PM Phoenix - Everything was going fine for Brewers right-hander Ben Sheets during his simulated game this afternoon -- until the sixth inning, that is.
Sheets cut short what was a promising session when a small blister popped up on the middle finger of his pitching hand. The problem was not thought to be related to the tissue damage in that finger that landed the team ace on the disabled list on July 15.
What effect the blister will have on attempts to get Sheets back on the active roster remains to be seen. The clubhouse does not open until 5:10 (CDT) so we'll have to wait to interview Sheets and manager Ned Yost.
"A little blister popped up," Sheets told pitching coach Mike Maddux after cutting off the session. "It didn't hurt. It just popped up."
Facing hitters from the Brewers' Arizona Rookie League team, Sheets looked sharp through his first five innings, throwing his fastball with good velocity, breaking off curve balls and even mixing in some changeups.
"He's nasty," said Brett Whiteside, a 19-year-old catcher selected in the 15th round of the 2006 draft. "He's in the (strike) zone with every pitch."
With the team in a freefall for several weeks, there had been talk about activating Sheets without sending him on a minor league rehab assignment. The blister could thwart those plans.
Brewers manager Ned Yost said he will wait until at least Thursday before deciding whether RHP Ben Sheets will return to the rotation this weekend in San Francisco. Sheets, who has been on the disabled list since July 15 with torn tissue in his right index finger, cut short an outing in a simulated game Monday because of a blister on that finger.
Aug 23 Sheets still had his injured finger wrapped when he threw a brief bullpen session before Wednesday's game, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Advice: Sheets has been on the disabled list with torn tissue in the middle finger of his pitching hand since July 15. Brewers manager Ned Yost told the newspaper he would decide Friday if Sheets will return to start on Saturday against San Francisco.
Any chance he starts tomorrow? Anyone hear anything?
Ace right-hander Ben Sheets developed a second blister on his right middle finger during a side session earlier this week and will not be able to return to the starting rotation Saturday as had been hoped.
Instead, Brewers manager Ned Yost is "shooting" to get Sheets back Wednesday or Thursday in Chicago. That would still put him within the range of the four- to six-week layoff predicted when Sheets suffered torn tissue in his middle finger on July 16.
"We're right on our target date, which is a sad thing," Sheets said. "I was hoping to get one start in before that."
The original injury is healed, but Sheets suffered a blister during a simulated game in Arizona on Monday. He threw on the side two days later with the finger wrapped, but a second blister nonetheless popped up.
He wants to be as close as possible to 100 percent before attempting a comeback.
"To battle through three or four [starts] is stupid when you can miss one and be good to go," Sheets said.
"It's crazy to push him and set him back," Yost said. "I want to have him for the long haul. I'm trying to do the right thing."