Saturday, March 10, 2007

Ghost of Corey Koskie Haunting Brewers Camp

That Brewers third baseman Corey Koskie still wants to play baseball despite his continuing struggle with post concussive syndrome is a credit to his competitiveness and love of the game. That the coaches are willing to work with him toward that goal is a credit to their devotion to him.

But the problem is even worse than Koskie being a shadow of his former self. The $3.5 million-a-year former infield standout is more like a ghost. Formerly a deft and accomplished all-around athlete, Koskie at 33 not only is unable to take the field; he has had trouble with even the simplest of tasks, having dealt with memory loss, fatigue, dizziness, nausea and impaired ability to concentrate after going down with a freak head injury last July 15 in a game that may turn out to have been his last.

With the entire team pulling for him, speculation about his future is spoken in whispers if at all. But the plain truth is that Koskie is months from recovery, and very likely must face the reality of forced retirement.

Meanwhile, prospective replacement Ryan Braun is about to undergo an intensive training course at third base in the hope that his glove can be ready for the field by opening day. Braun has a huge bat, but it's asking a lot for a 23-year-old with no major league experience to take over without many more weeks of preparation. Don't be surprised if veterans Tony Graffanino and Craig Counsell are the early favorites to platoon at the hot corner, and Braun is ticketed for the minors.