For the second time in a week the Brewers have lost an everyday player to a torn ACL.
First baseman Mat Gamel will miss the remainder of the season after blowing out his knee on May 2 and now shortstop Alex Gonzalez has been diagnosed with a torn ACL suffered Saturday.
Season-ending surgery is likely, but the Brewers announced that Gonzalez will rest for a week before making an official decision. As a 35-year-old whose hitting isn’t good enough to keep him in the majors if his range and athleticism decline Gonzalez could be facing the end of his career.
Cesar Izturis will take over as Milwaukee’s starting shortstop and like Gonzalez his value is almost all dependent on defense, as the 32-year-old hasn’t topped a .650 OPS since 2004 and missed most of last season with elbow and groin injuries.
And at some point soon the Brewers will probably be in the market for a first baseman and a shortstop.
Giants ace left-hander Madison Bumgarner sustained a displaced fracture of the fifth metacarpal of his left hand on Friday. He’ll undergo surgery on Saturday to insert pins in his pinky knuckle, a procedure that could require a four- to six-week recovery period before he’s cleared to throw again. According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, Bumgarner’s total recovery time is expected to take 6-8 weeks. In a best-case scenario, the lefty said he should be able to pitch again before the All-Star break, but given the amount of time and care it’ll take for him to shoulder a full workload, it’s unclear whether he’ll be able to do so.
Bumgarner suffered the fracture during the third inning of Friday’s Cactus League game against the Royals. Whit Merrifield returned a line drive up the middle and the ball deflected off the top of Bumgarner’s pitching hand before bouncing into the infield. He chased after the ball but was unable to pick it up, and was immediately visited by manager Bruce Bochy and a team trainer before exiting the game.
The 28-year-old southpaw was gearing up for a massive comeback after losing significant playing time with an injury in 2017. During his tumultuous run with the Giants last year, he missed nearly three months on the disabled list after spraining his shoulder and bruising his ribs in a dirt bike accident. He finished the season with a 4-9 record in 17 starts and a 3.32 ERA (his first 3.00+ ERA since 2012), 1.6 BB/9 and 8.2 SO/9 over 111 innings. Without him, the Giants suffered as well; by season’s end, their pitching staff ranked seventh-worst in the National League with a cumulative 4.58 ERA and 10.1 fWAR.
This is the second massive injury the Giants’ rotation has sustained this week after right-hander Jeff Samardzija was diagnosed with a strained pectoral muscle on Thursday. “Horrible news for us,” Bochy told reporters after Friday’s game. “That’s all you can say about it. There’s nothing you can do but push on.”