ST. PETERSBURG -- The last thing the sputtering Brewers offense needed was an injury to its top run-producer, but that's exactly what the club endured in Saturday's 3-0 win over the Rays at Tropicana Field.
Third baseman Travis Shaw was feeling lucky after a scary moment in the second inning. Athletic trainers from both teams rushed to Shaw's side after he was hit on the neck by the baseball on a throw from catcher Jesus Sucre as Shaw stole second base, but he passed a battery of concussion tests and was deemed day to day with just a bruise.
"It just kind of stunned me more than anything else," Shaw said. "The ball directly hit on the side of my neck, and [shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria] glove got me right in my face. For about 5-10 minutes after that, I think it was more stunned than anything. My neck is obviously a little stiff right now, but that's the extent of it."
Shaw's steal was his ninth this season. Second-base umpire Eric Cooper immediately signaled to the Brewers' dugout for medical personnel.
After a few minutes lying on his back in the dirt near the bag, Shaw stood and walked off the field with assistance. Hernan Perez took his place on the basepaths and at third base in the bottom of the inning, and he sparked a two-run Brewers rally in the ninth with a solo home run.
"The ball hit him really square on the left side of the neck," Counsell said. "He's doing OK. His neck's just a little stiff right now, really. He's passed all the tests. Nothing to be concerned about."
Shaw didn't rule out playing Sunday's series finale. He left the stadium late Saturday wearing a pad on his neck to help contain swelling.
Losing Shaw for any period of time would be a blow, since he is the Brewers' leader with 3.3 wins above replacement and 132 weighted runs created plus. His 24 home runs and 74 RBIs are career highs, and the Brewers need every run they can get lately. They have scored three or fewer runs in eight of their last nine games, including in their three straight wins.
"Our offense has not been very good. I've said this multiple times since the All-Star break," Shaw said. "[Three] runs tonight is enough to win. On most nights, it's not. Our pitching staff is going great, going deep into games.
"I don't think it's a larger problem. I think we've run into some good pitching a little bit. Every team is going to go through a stretch like this throughout the season."