06/17/2002 10:07 pm ET
Injuries quiet victory celebration
By Adam McCalvy / MLB.com
MILWAUKEE -- Left field was a dangerous position to play Monday at Miller Park.
One minute, Brewers left fielder Geoff Jenkins looked like Superman on a leaping catch. A few minutes later, he was being carted off the field after suffering an ankle injury.
Two innings later his replacement -- Alex Sanchez -- was carried off the field with a pair of less serious injuries of his own.
Jenkins, the Brewers slugger in the second season of a four-year, $18 million contract, suffered a dislocated right ankle and torn ligaments sliding back to third base in the bottom of the second inning of a 5-2 win over the Houston Astros.
He was transported to Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee and was reportedly resting comfortably while the teams played on. Brewers team physician Dr. William Raasch said even in the best imaginable scenario Jenkins would be sidelined at least two months.
X-rays showed no evidence of fracture, and an MRI was scheduled for Tuesday to assess the severity of damage to the ligaments, tendons and joint surfaces.
"It has not been finalized, but obviously we're going to go to the minor leagues and come up with a player," Brewers manager Jerry Royster said.
The most likely candidate is Ryan Thompson, one of the last players cut from the Brewers roster in Spring Training. Thompson, who can play all three outfield positions, was hitting .292 with 12 home runs and 40 RBIs in 68 games for Triple-A Indianapolis.
"The Jenkins injury is just devastating," Royster said. "It wasn't anything that you want anyone to see. I think the whole world got a good view of it, and it was just as bad as it looked on television, I'm sure."
Alex Ochoa and Matt Stairs, who is playing on a sore hamstring, will see more time with Jenkins and Sanchez out.
"We're going to miss Jenkins and Sanchez in the lineup," said Jose Hernandez, who homered and drove in four runs Monday. "But we've got to keep going so I think Jerry's got to do what he's got to do. There's going to be a lot of guys different in the lineup and we've got to play hard to get a win."
A half inning before the injury, Jenkins robbed Houston's Richard Hidalgo of a home run with a leaping catch at the left-field wall. He threw back to the infield in time to double a runner off first base and earned a standing ovation.
The fans were still cheering when Jenkins led off the Brewers' half of the second inning and dribbled an infield single between first base and the pitcher's mound. Third baseman Tyler Houston followed with a single to right field, and while Jenkins rounded second base and headed to third, Hidalgo bobbled the ball.
Houston made it to second, and Jenkins took a few steps toward home before the Astros forced him to scamper quickly back to third base and slide feet-first.
His right foot caught the raised base and twisted badly. Jenkins immediately screamed in pain and trainers from both teams raced to third base. After a few minutes, a modified golf cart operated by Bell Ambulance arrived to take Jenkins, his face covered by his arm, through a gate in left field.
Asked if his season was over, Raasch said "it's tough to say." At minimum the ligaments will take six weeks to heal, then Jenkins will have to build ankle strength. His 2001 season was limited to 105 games because of shoulder and hand injuries.
Speedster Sanchez moved from center field to left to replace Jenkins and suffered a sprained left wrist and bruised right knee chasing down a fly ball in the top of the fourth inning.
Lance Berkman hit a fly ball that landed just inside the foul line. Sanchez raced over to attempt a play, and his momentum carried him into a padded wall topped with a green metal fence that separated the seating area from the field.
"You certainly don't want to dive head first into the wall, that's not the way to play that ball," said Berkman, a fellow outfielder. "It looked like he got caught in between thinking about sliding to try to make a catch or try to stand up. A lot of times it's just a split-second decision you have to make."
Sanchez tried to brace himself, and hurt his wrist on the fence. Trainers carried him off the field through the same gate Jenkins had passed two innings earlier. X-rays were negative.
"He's probably three to five days," Royster said. "We'll just have to see how it goes."
While Sanchez lay injured, Berkman made it all the way home with an inside-the-park home run that made it 1-1.
Adam McCalvy covers the Brewers for MLB.com. This story was not subject to approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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