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Big Ben charging back

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It's been entertaining to see pictures like this one of Ben Sheets in minor league uniforms--there's something about minor league unis that make them universally look...well, minor league. They're just different. That digression aside, I hope last night will turn out to be the last time in a very long time that Ben Sheets dons anything other than a capital "M" on his cap.

If his performance in Des Moines last night was any indication, he's on track to join the big club at the end of this week. The plan all along has been to get him ready for the Mets on Sunday, the first game of the season when the Brewers would require a fifth starter. Looks like he's ready.

Sheets threw 75 pitches, 52 for strikes, which got him through 5 2/3 innings. He walked none and struck out nine. Even though he was facing the less-than-mighty Iowa Cubs, those are the numbers that tell me it's the old Ben we're getting back this weekend. The only concern: he went 1-for-2 at the plate...just doesn't seem right, does it?

Speaking of Sheets, here's an interesting story about Mark Attanasio: "Sheets' most recent start came last Thursday for Double-A Huntsville, and Attanasio, who was vacationing in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, listened in via MLB.com's Gameday Audio. 'I need to get a life, I know,' Attanasio joked Monday." Hey, life or not, I'm impressed: Mark seems to be a more dedicated Brewers fan than I am.

And while we're on the topic of excellent young Brewers pitching, check out this article by Tom Haudricourt about tonight's starter, Dave Bush. Doug Melvin makes a comparison I never would've thought of: "(Bush) reminds me so much of a young Rick Helling. He's a great competitor, battles his (butt) off. Helling didn't have a 95-mph fastball but he really competed. Bush has a lot of those same characteristics."

Hmm. With all due respect to Helling, who may have himself a spot in our rotation before long, I hope Bush's career trajectory works out a little better than Helling's did. More importantly, I really hope Bush proves his mettle as a starter, and all stray talk of him going back to the 'pen is silenced. We don't need another setup guy, and every rotation spot that we don't have to worry about going in 2007 or 2008 probably saves the club $6m/year.

I'm sure you all know this, but tonight's game in St. Louis is at 7:10 CT, Dave Bush vs. Jason Marquis. Marquis is a very good-hitting pitcher; let's hope we don't have a repeat of Monday from the Cardinals' 9-hole.

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