Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Former Brewers P Ben Sheets to Make One Final Start, Then Retire

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Ben Sheets’ inspiring comeback has come to an end.  After not pitching since August 24, 2012, the Atlanta Braves will start Sheets one, final time tomorrow — and after that, Sheets will retire.

Sheets returned from a surgery which had been called by Matthew Pouliot at Hardball Talk as “the most massive in the history of pitching” (link is here: http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2010/08/11/ben-sheets-just-had-the-most-massive-surgery-in-the-history-of-pitching/), and as JP Starkey said at SB Nation:

Many believed Sheets would be ineffective even if he were able to return, but Sheets defied the odds and pitched well for the Braves in 2012.

Unfortunately for Sheets, he was placed on the disabled list on Aug. 25, with inflammation in his right shoulder. Sheets pitched well for the Braves, and carries a 4-4 record, 3.54 ERA and 1.34 WHIP into his final start in 2012.

Starkey goes on to give Sheets’s career numbers:

Wednesday’s start will be the 250th and final start of Sheets’ career. Sheets needs to throw just four and a third innings to log 1,600 career innings. A master of control, Sheets has struck out 1,323 in his career against just 369 walks. Sheets’ career record stands at 94-96, with a 3.78 ERA and 1.22 WHIP.

I had been hoping for a better outcome for Ben Sheets, as I’ve said all along; Sheets was a fantastic pitcher for the Milwaukee Brewers, being a four-time All-Star (and one-time All-Star starter).  But as Sheets said today as reported by the Sporting News (link is here: http://aol.sportingnews.com/mlb/story/2012-10-02/ben-sheets-retirement-atlanta-braves-2012-milwaukee-brewers):

“I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt I’m not playing again,” Sheets told MLB.com. “No matter what, there is not enough help or money to pull me out of this one.”

The Sporting News goes on to note that:

His Wednesday start against the Pirates will be the 250th of this career and his first appearance in a game in over a month. The plan is for Sheets to throw two innings in the start.

Even though Sheets’s comeback will end after his final start, rather than continue on for a few more good years in similar fashion to Chris Capuano after his comeback from a second “Tommy John” procedure, Sheets still did very well.  He helped Atlanta.  He proved he can still pitch.  And he’s going out the way he seems to want — by pitching one, last time, and saying goodbye to the fans after taking part in one, final pennant race.

I hope for Sheets’s sake that his final outing will be a good, strong one, and that he’ll enjoy his well-earned retirement.

But I will miss seeing him pitch.  And I’m sorry that his arm wouldn’t let him have just one good, solid year before he had to contemplate the final, drastic step of retirement.  Much less carry it out.

Written by Barb Caffrey

October 2, 2012 at 8:21 pm

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