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Freak injury fells Brewers reliever

Will Smith tore a knee ligament trying to take off his spikes after Thursday’s game.

Will Smith tore a knee ligament trying to take off his spikes after Thursday’s game.

PHOENIX — The Brewers will start the season without reliever Will Smith, who tore a ligament in his right knee while taking his spikes off after a game.

Smith, who was set to share closer duties with Jeremy Jeffress, received the diagnosis Friday night and was awaiting test results to determine if surgery was necessary.

Smith said he was getting ready to shower after pitching in a minor-league game Thursday and was standing on one leg to take off his other shoe when he lost his balance and twisted the knee.

"I pulled hard (on the shoe) and it stayed on," he said. "My knee just went up and popped. Everyone tells you there is nothing you can do about it, but you still feel like you are letting people down."

Smith tore his lateral collateral ligament, which is on the outside of the knee and connects the femur to the lower leg. The right leg is the plant leg for the left-hander and absorbs the most impact.

Manager Craig Counsell said Smith will miss "significant time," and the Brewers are expected to find out exactly how long when he is examined by team physician Dr. William Raasch in the coming days.

"The recovery is a little longer with surgery," said Counsell, who said it is not a season-ending injury. "It's tough for us, it's tough for Will. There is going to be somebody in (the clubhouse) that takes this opportunity and makes a lot of it."

Smith, who had a 2.70 ERA in 76 appearances last season, was having an outstanding spring. He had allowed two hits in seven innings, striking out five. Counsell named Smith and Jeffress as the co-closers last week.

CUBS: One day after expressing some concern, manager Joe Maddon expressed more optimism that ace right-hander Jake Arrieta would stay on a normal scheduled that would lead him to pitch the April 4 opener against the Angels. The 2015 NL Cy Young Award winner is recovering from a blister on his right thumb.

INDIANS: Right-handed reliever Joba Chamberlain made the team as a nonroster invitee, manager Terry Francona said. Chamberlain, 30, has a 3.87 ERA in 365 appearances over nine seasons. … Outfielder Michael Brantley, who is recovering from labrum surgery in November, does not appear likely to be ready play on opening day, Francona said.

ORIOLES: Right-hander Kevin Gausman (shoulder) will likely start the season on the disabled list. He has yet to throw since taking a cortisone shot March 20.

REDS: Right-hander Ross Ohlendorf agreed to a one-year, $800,000 major-league contract. Ohlendorf, 33, a nine-year veteran, was released by the Royals on Wednesday.

ROYALS: Right-hander Edinson Volquez will start the season opener April 3 against the Mets in a rematch of the World Series Game 5, manager Ned Yost announced.

TIGERS: DH Victor Martinez (left hamstring strain) was scheduled to play in a minor-league game then again in the next two days in an effort to get back in the lineup before the team breaks camp next week. Martinez has been sidelined since March 14.

Freak injury fells Brewers reliever 03/26/16 [Last modified: Saturday, March 26, 2016 8:29pm]
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