Thanks to Corey Hart's knee surgery in late January and Mat Gamel's torn ACL at the outset of camp, the Milwaukee Brewers already were scrambling to find fill-ins at first base.
Now, with third baseman Aramis Ramirez sidelined due to a sprained left knee, the Brewers have a void to fill on the other side of the infield. The good news is that Ramirez is expected back within two weeks and in time for Opening Day. The bad news is that the pool of candidates is thin.
Taylor Green, who would be getting time at both infield corners, was off with Team Canada in the World Baseball Classic. Infielder Jeff Bianchi was sidelined with a groin strain, though he would have been absent if healthy due to a commitment to Italy in the WBC.
It helped that Bobby Crosby, attempting a comeback after two years away from baseball, recovered from a quadriceps strain and was able to play in games. Manager Ron Roenicke also has utility infield candidate Donnie Murphy as well as veteran Alex Gonzalez, who is playing some at first base.
"The timing is nice for (Crosby)," Roenicke said. "That helps with having enough infielders to cover it.
"'Seggy' (shortstop Jean Segura) and (second baseman) Rickie (Weeks) are still playing basically two out of three (games). The middle is OK. We borrow guys (from the minors) every day, and we're going to have borrow more guys."
Roenicke said Gonzalez would get some innings at third base but wanted him to concentrate more at first base, a completely new position.
"Third base is going to be easier for him than first base," Roenicke said. "I'll get him over at third."
The tough part about losing Ramirez was that the plan was to play him more this spring in an attempt to avoid his habitual slow start to the season. Now, he'll play less than ever before the bell rings.
"I don't know how long these things usually take," Roenicke said. "It's not going to be a couple (of days), I know that. 'Rami' is a pretty tough guy, but it's not a time for him to be tough and get back in there sooner.
"He needs to make sure it's right. We wanted to give him a lot of at-bats this year to see if we could do something different, and that's not going to happen."