Milwaukee Brewers: What to Do without Rickie Weeks

M. S.Correspondent IMay 18, 2009

FLUSHING, NY - APRIL 12:  Rickie Weeks #23 of the Milwaukee Brewers runs to first against the New York Mets on April 12, 2008 at Shea Stadium in Flushing, New York.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Rickie Weeks left the game against the Cardinals on Sunday with a wrist injury. 
The extent of the injury is unknown, but Weeks is on his way to Phoenix to meet with Dr. Don Sheridan, a wrist specialist that has already performed surgery on Weeks twice.

The injury is in Weeks’ left wrist where he felt “a little pressure, a little tug” during his at-bat in the first inning. Weeks struck out and did not come out for the bottom half of the inning.

Luckily, the injury that Weeks suffered to his wrist in 2006 was to his right wrist, so it does not look like this is a recurring injury.

Still, it’s hard not to fear the worst when thinking about the injury. Afterall, the Brewers have raced out to a great start, Weeks has been one of the best hitters on the team, and for the most part the Brewers have stayed healthy.

While everyone hopes the injury is not serious and that Weeks won't be out long, it is important to think about what happens when thinking about replacing the second baseman Weeks.

Let’s say Weeks has to go on the DL, which would put him out for the next 15 days. 

The best position player in the Brewers farm system is shortstop Alcides Escobar.  Known for his unbelievable defense, it would be interesting to see what happens if he were inserted into the lineup.

He is capable of playing every day, but moving J.J. Hardy to second base does not make much sense. Still, if the Brewers thinks he is ready to come up, he will.

The player that this injury affects the most (other than Weeks) is Craig Counsell.

The 38-year-old shortstop has started 12 games in 2009 and has appeared at second base twice—including yesterday.  He is batting .348 as a starter and will more likely not see the majority of his time at second base.

If Weeks isn't out too long, it is safe to think Counsell can get the job done for the next couple of weeks. But if the injury keeps Weeks out too long, Counsell cannot be an every day starter. 

What that would mean is Esocbar would see starts at second base when Counsell needed a day off.

The other position this injury may affect is third base, where Counsell has started seven games.

Current third baseman Bill Hall is an every-day starter. While Triple-A stud Mat Gamel was called up specifically for designated hitting duties when the Brewers travel to Minnesota next week, he may be expected to stay up and get a couple of spot starts at the hot corner. 

If Counsell were to start at third of a Hall off day, Escobar would be inserted at second.

The last question is what happens in the batting order. Weeks was an outstanding lead-off man for the Brewers, tallying nine home runs with a .340 on-base percentage.

In the only game Weeks did not start this year—April 8th against the Reds—Counsell led off, and Corey Hart batted second. In 2007, Hart batted in the leadoff spot 55 times, batting .284 with 14 stolen bases in those appearances.

Last year, Hart hit leadoff in seven games but batted just .188. It is worth noting that Ned Yost was the manager those last two years and that Ken Macha may have other ideas for the Crew.

Earlier in the year, when Ryan Braun missed two games with an abdominal strain, Hart hit leadoff with Weeks batting third. My best guess is that Counsell will hit leadoff for the time being, but if Escobar gets called up, he would more than likely bat seventh, with Hart moving up to the leadoff spot.

Weeks didn't sound too up beat about the injury Sunday, so it's looking like the Brew Crew will have to make a move.

It might very well be time for the next wave of “Baby Brewers” to grow up on the run.