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Archive for May 5th, 2011

Nyjer Morgan breaks his finger; Brewers’ woes continue

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This headline from tonight’s Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel says it all:  “Brewers Forced to Deal with More Bad News,” as outfielder Nyjer Morgan, who’d been back from the disabled list for two whole days, broke his middle finger tonight while in the act of laying down a sacrifice bunt.

Now, this has happened to Brewers’ players before, though all of ’em that I can recall with this issue were/are pitchers.  Todd Coffey had to bat a year or so ago in a blowout, meaningless game, and he bunted and hurt himself; Ben Sheets sprained something (I don’t think he broke anything, but he was out a week or two) when he bunted the baseball in ’05 or ’06; Manny Parra, most famously, broke his finger while bunting in (IIRC) ’07.

But never, until now, had I been aware of a position player for the Brewers breaking a finger or spraining something and ending on the DL while bunting; poor Nyjer Morgan, one of the smartest and savviest players in the game today, ended up with just plain old bad luck, and now he’s right back on the disabled list.  Again.

Of course this isn’t his fault whatsoever; in baseball, odd things happen.  But it doesn’t help the Brewers players, nor the fans, nor probably the front office people, manager or coaches either, when odd things like this happen over and over again to a team that’s just lost six games in a row.

Here’s a quote from the article (written I believe by Tom Haudricourt, though at the present time no byline is present) at the Journal-Sentinel, which is available at http://www.jsonline.com/sports/brewers/121355219.html :

How much bad news can one baseball team take?

As if it weren’t enough that the offense was shut down again Thursday night and the Milwaukee Brewers lost their sixth game in a row, they also suffered another casualty in what has become an incredibly injury-riddled year.

Outfielder Nyjer Morgan, just off the disabled list two days earlier, suffered a fractured left middle finger bunting a pitch in the eighth inning and is expected to be sidelined 2-4 weeks.

Moving on in the article:

Morgan was so disconsolate over the injury, suffered when the finger was struck by the ball on a sacrifice bunt, he sat for several minutes in front of his locker, a towel draped over his head. He then stormed around the clubhouse in outward frustration.

“It’s tough,” said Roenicke. “It’s not going good and we were all looking forward to getting the team back to full strength. Nyjer’s a big part of that. He was a big part early on when we got going. He’s a spark to our lineup; he does a good job defensively.

“He goes down with an injury, then we get him back and all of a sudden another one.”

Basically, what Roenicke seems to be saying is that Morgan is a “spark-plug” player and feisty clubhouse leader as well as an excellent defender, good baserunner with excellent speed, and someone with a surprisingly patient bat (Morgan is an ideal #2 hitter because he mostly is a contact hitter and can often leg out infield hits).

The Brewers needed Morgan because they haven’t been hitting.  They scored only six runs against the Atlanta Braves in these past four games, and lost all four, wasting one decent pitching effort (Marco Estrada’s, the first game of the DH yesterday), one that could’ve been decent if not for really poor fielding (Zack Greinke’s season debut, second game of the DH yesterday), and one outstanding pitching effort tonight by Shawn Marcum, who gave up only one run in seven innings and did what a shut-down ace is supposed to do — he stopped the Braves, who are perhaps the hottest team in baseball right now, cold.

(Marcum’s not supposed to be the Brewers ace as there are two other very good pitchers on the staff — Greinke and Yovani Gallardo — and one pitcher who on paper should be about as good as Marcum, Randy Wolf.  Wolf’s been pitching light’s-out lately, too — but between Wolf and Marcum, those two are the ones who’ve been stopping other teams.  Not Gallardo, and not Greinke — at least, not yet.)

At any rate, I’m a Brewers fan through thick and thin and I’ll continue to watch the team and hope for the best.  I also hope Nyjer Morgan realizes this isn’t his fault; it can happen to anyone, and I’m very sorry this happened to him.

Written by Barb Caffrey

May 5, 2011 at 11:12 pm