Sheets to Start Saturday
By By Kyle Dlabay
Time is running out on the 2008 regular season and Ben Sheets believes he is ready to pitch despite an elbow injury.
Sheets will start the Brewers second to last game of the season against the Cubs on Saturday at Miller Park, a game that could clinch the NL wildcard berth.
"(I) feel like my arm's going to let me go out there," Sheets said before Friday night's game. "My elbow is my deciding factor. We're going to give it a try."
The four-time All Star last pitched on September 17 against the Cubs at Wrigley Field. He left that start after just two innings.
"I'm going to try to get outs," Sheets said. "I got the same expectations as I do every start. I'm going to try and go out there and give us good quality innings and go as long as I can."
The fact the Brewers are locked in a playoff chase and haven't played in the postseason since 1982 is not lost on Sheets.
"You want to pitch bad but I want to pitch every start regardless of the magnitude," Sheets said. "If it's my day, I want to go out there. That being said, the magnitude is probably the main reason to try because we don't have any days to rest. If this was July, maybe you got another day off or another day to rest it but this is it. This is the realistic part of the season."
The injury hasn't got much better for Sheets lately but he feels it's good enough to try and pitch on Saturday.
"It feels pretty much the same as yesterday (Thursday)," Sheets said. "It's been feeling a little bit better than it has. Hopefully it feels a lot better when I get up there tomorrow. I expect it to feel pretty good tomorrow."
This season is the last of a four-year deal for Sheets so he could be leaving some money on the table if his current injury gets worse.
"There's always a risk of injuring yourself further," Sheets said. "But, I think that's a risk that we take also every day we play baseball."
The elbow discomfort for Sheets started on August 26 when pitched against the St. Louis Cardinals but it was not disclosed until after his last start.