Years of struggles had left fans wondering if Rickie Weeks would ever realize his boatload of potential. The start Weeks got off to in 2009 answered a lot of questions.
Sitting at .272/.340/.519 and on pace to blow away his career bests in many offensive categories, Weeks couldn't have been doing much more to alleviate fears about his development. Suddenly, the Brewers were looking at a legitimate All-Star setting the table.
Weeks tore the tendon sheath in his left wrist Sunday against the St. Louis Cardinals, and he will miss the remainder of the season.
(GM Doug) Melvin and head trainer Roger Caplinger said preparation was being made for Weeks to have surgery Wednesday in Phoenix by specialist Don Sheridan. Sheridan repaired his right wrist injury in 2006 as well as a torn thumb tendon in 2005.There couldn't be much more disappointment with this news. Weeks had the look last year of a player who would forever struggle at the major-league level. The team has been greatly patient with him, though, and it seemed that the light came on for Weeks during spring training.
Caplinger said there was no known medical reason for Weeks having the same injury in both wrists.
"Dr. Sheridan said he never had a patient who had that in both wrists," said Caplinger.
"Basically, it's Rickie being Rickie. He has very strong hands and wrists and has a lot of bat speed with torque."
"It's depressing. It really is," said (Brewers' bench coach Willie) Randolph. "I know the hard work he put in this spring. He was one of the best students I’ve worked with in recent years. I just feel terrible for him. I know he was looking forward to going to the next level.Where the club goes from here is going to be interesting.
"I challenged him in spring training to set his goals on becoming an all-star this year. He came out ready to take over. I believed it. I think he believed it too.
"Right now, you just feel terrible for the kid. I don’t know what to say. I was praying that it would come back not as bad as they thought. I just had a bad feeling in my gut.
"He was on the right track. This is a tough business; you have to roll with the punches. But when it hits you like this, it’s not easy. It’s hard to deal with."
Youngster Mat Gamel was already up from the minors, and he's in the lineup for Monday's game at St. Louis. Another player will be brought in from Triple-A Nashville when Weeks is formally placed on the disabled list.
Who plays second base full-time? Maybe the answer is "No one". Veteran Craig Counsell figures to see a lot of action, and I would expect the Brewers to bring Hernan Iribarren up from the minors. He won't play every day, either.
Bill Hall has experience in the middle infield, and fans who have speculated that J.J. Hardy could someday move to second base to accomodate big prospect shortstop Alcides Escobar may advocate that move now. Escobar is not ready, though, and he certainly isn't ready to play every day. Nor would Hardy be ready to play every day at second base.
I think we'll see a mishmash of players at the position, with Counsell getting the bulk of the work. However, another injury (PLEASE NO!!) could change all of this, perhaps escalating Escobar's rise through the system.