09/30/08 5:20 PM ET
Return for Sheets in playoffs 'doubtful'
Torn muscle near right elbow likely to end right-hander's year
By Adam McCalvy / MLB.com
Brewers' NLDS roster
|Tony Gwynn Jr.||Outfielder||L||R|
Sheets was talking specifically about this season, but he might have been talking in larger terms about the franchise's rise to prominence. He is the only player left from the start of the team's 106-loss 2002 season -- Bill Hall was a September callup that season -- and Sheets was considered a cornerstone of new general manager Doug Melvin's rebuilding effort that started in 2003.In April 2005, Melvin gave Sheets a new four-year contract. The deal, which expires at the end of the month, paid Sheets $38.5 million and at the time was the richest in franchise history. Over eight seasons with the Brewers, Sheets went 86-83 with a 3.72 ERA, tied with Larry Sorensen for fifth lowest in franchise history. Earlier this season he became the Brewers' all-time strikeout leader, and one more on Saturday made it 1,206 for his career. Many fans will remember Sheets' injuries, and there were plenty. Over the years, the right-hander made six trips to the disabled list. But his teammates will remember the times he was on the mound. "Ben Sheets is one of the main reasons we're in this situation," said Brewers catcher Jason Kendall. "He's been this franchise for a long time. Obviously, it's not my decision to make, but I wouldn't count that guy out just yet. He just needs rest." That's true, according to Ash, who said Sheets' elbow will heal with time. With Game 1 of the NLDS set for Wednesday, the Brewers just don't have that luxury. "It's a very easy heal -- it just takes time," Ash said. Sheets would not say much about his own future. He'll be one of six inactive players in uniform on the bench for the NLDS. Where he goes from there is anybody's guess. "Short-term, it's not good," Sheets said. "Long-term [estimate] would be fine. I was glad it wasn't something that it's short- and long-term. ... We starting pitchers are good cheerleaders."
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.