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Tuesday March 16, 2010 9:19 pm

Sheets rocked by Reds isn’t a problem




Posted by Adrien Griffin Categories: Athletes, Injuries, MLB,

Ben SheetsBen Sheets was hit hard again. In his third Spring Training game with Oakland on Monday, he gave up 10 runs without recording an out against the Reds. Yet he and the Athletics claim that, runs aside, it was a good outing. Sheets is recovering from elbow surgery and is trying to return to the form he showed with the Brewers two years ago. Spring starts are the latest step in his return to the mound, and is still projected to start for Oakland on Opening Day.

Despite Sheets’ claims that everything was good after the game, there has to be some concern. It’s only Spring Training, but it’s still important to perform well. Sheets has been lit up this spring. He’s pitched in three games for a total of 4.1 innings and has given up 17 hits and 15 earned runs. His ERA has ballooned from 5.40 to 12.46 to 31.15 across his three starts. Still, the right-handed starter says everything is fine.

Sheets has spent his entire career with Milwaukee, coming up in 2001. He is a four-time All-Star with a 86-83 record, 3.72 ERA and 1,206 career strikeouts. Prone to injuries throughout his career, teams were weary of signing him when he filed for free agency after the 2008 season. He missed the entire 2009 season recovering from surgery to repair a tear in his right arm. Upon recovery, he was signed to a one-year, $10 million contract with the Athletics.

Right now Oakland says they aren’t looking at his numbers. They just want to make sure Sheets feels healthy. Only in Spring Training can a pitcher do everything wrong for his team and still call it a good outing. Sheets didn’t bring his best stuff to face the Reds, but the fact that he can wake up the next day and feel fine is a good sign. Still, whether he’s effective or not come April, don’t expect any more 10-run outings for Ben Sheets.

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