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Sheets expects to make next start

Sheets expects to make next start

MILWAUKEE -- After two days of talking about what they viewed as the injustice of CC Sabathia's near-no-hitter, the Brewers had relatively little to say about a matter of starting pitching that actually mattered:

How hurt is Ben Sheets?

There was no clear-cut answer to that question on Tuesday, a day after Sheets exited his start against the Mets with tightness in his left groin after five innings and 54 pitches. Sheets still feels tightness and walked somewhat gingerly in the clubhouse, but said he believes he'll be able to make his next start on Saturday, as scheduled.

"I'm going to toe the slab again, I'm sure," Sheets said. "It felt like a cramp, basically. I think it's good to try. We've certainly got the numbers."

He was referring to the Brewers' deep bullpen, bolstered by September callups.

"But I want to go out there and go more than five [innings]," Sheets said. "I don't want to do anything bad for the team."

Manager Ned Yost was equally noncommittal.

"It's not an issue with me today because he's not going to pitch today," Yost said. "We'll see how it is [Wednesday] and go from there. I don't look for it to be something that's really serious. It was to the point where I didn't even go check on it. The trainers didn't come to see me. If it's something serious, they come knocking on my door.

"It was just common sense [to remove Sheets from the game]," Yost added. "We try to employ as much of that as we possibly can. You're not going to take one of your best pitchers and blow him out on Sept. 1. When the muscle starts to get tight, that's a precursor to a strain. ... If it's a situation where you don't need him again for the rest of the year, go ahead and blow him out. But we're going to need him. If he's got five starts left, you sure don't want to take three of them away for one game."

Sheets first felt a sensation he called "cramping" before the start of the third inning, and said he was encouraged by the fact he threw two more frames before the decision was made to pull the plug.

Sheets is trying to avoid the same disappointing finish he endured in 2007, when a hamstring strain shelved him for the final two weeks of the season.

"I think he's feeling pretty good," Brewers general manager Doug Melvin said. "But you guys [reporters] probably talk to him more than I do."

Sheets, who started the All-Star Game for the National League, is 12-7 with a 2.97 ERA and a team-high 179 innings pitched in 27 starts. He was limited to 24 starts in 2007, 17 starts in 2006 and 22 starts in 2005 by various injuries after making 34 starts and pitching at least 200 innings in three straight seasons from 2002-2004.

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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