Prickly situation: K-Rod steps on a cactus
UPDATED at 7:45 p.m. CT: Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said he’d talked to K-Rod, and the plan is to pitch in Thursday’s game against the Padres.
It’s not quite as weird as reliever Steve Sparks separating his shoulder trying to tear a phone book in two during Spring Training in 1994, or general manager Doug Melvin being stung by a scorpion last year, but the Brewers have their first oddball injury of camp:
K-Rod stepped on a cactus.
Manager Ron Roenicke said Rodriguez was questionable for his Cactus League debut after the right-hander stepped barefoot on a prickly plant Monday night or at some point during Tuesday’s team off day. As Roenicke briefed the media Wednesday morning, Rodriguez was in the trainer’s room having spines pulled from his foot.
“He took out a lot of the thorns, but there’s some more in there,” Roenicke said. “I don’t think it’s that big of a setback, but I imagine he’s pretty sore today. I don’t know if you guys have stepped on one, but you know how little some of the [spines] are, and they’re in there for a while? With Frankie, he may some in today and say, ‘I’m pitching.’ I don’t know.”
Rodriguez is already behind the other relievers because he signed late in the offseason and arrived late after securing a work visa amid political turmoil in Venezuela. Roenicke does not believe the cactus caper will prevent Rodriguez from being ready by the Brewers’ March 31 season opener.
“It’ll be tough to keep him back, the way he is,” Roenicke said. “Like I said, he may end up pitching [on Thursday as scheduled]. It could happen. I just have to talk to him and see how he’s doing.”
The Brewers made some other news Wednesday by optioning pitching prospect Johnny Hellweg to Triple-A Nashville. Roenicke also updated the status of left-hander Tom Gorzelanny, who continues to make progress in his recovery from offseason shoulder surgery but probably will not have time to be ready by Opening Day. That means opportunity for other lefties in camp, including non-roster invitee Zach Duke and Rule 5 pick Wei-Chung Wang.
More on those stories will hit Brewers.com later today. Meanwhile, be careful if you’re walking around bare-footed.
Follow me on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy