Originally posted on Fox Sports Wisconsin  |  Last updated 5/20/12
MILWAUKEE Just two weeks ago, shortstop Alex Gonzalez was one of the Brewers' hottest players. He had been excellent in the field, and much to the satisfaction of the Brewers' brass, his bat had been better than expected (batting .259). But against San Francisco, as Gonzalez sprinted away from first base at AT&T Park and slid awkwardly into second, instantly, his season had ended. Saturday, Gonzalez lay on a couch in the center of the Brewers clubhouse. He wore street clothes and rested his head on the arm of the brown sofa, keeping his leg -- wrapped in bandages -- as immobilized as possible. Having undergone surgery on his torn ACL just days before, Gonzalez remained in the clubhouse as players came and went before the team's pre-game batting practice. At his locker just a few feet away, Cesar Izturis straightened his hat and organized his things. He walked over to his Gonzalez, his longtime friend and sat down. They smiled and laughed together in the few minutes left before work began, before Izturis made his way to the field and Gonzalez reached for his crutches. Gonzalez and Izturis have known each for a quite a while now, longer than Izturis can remember. Both Venezuelan shortstops, the two had played against each other long before either had made it to the major leagues. They got to know each other through their competition, and their aspirations to make it as baseball players in America. "I always followed him," Izturis said of Gonzalez. "I like how he plays, so I just watched him a lot. (He's a) great player." Three years older than Izturis, Gonzalez had made it to the big leagues a few years earlier than his counterpart. But for 12 years with various teams, the two saw each other quite a bit and remained connected as fellow Venezuelan shortstops. The Brewers signed both Izturis and Gonzalez in the offseason, bringing the two friends together. But Izturis knew his role as a bench player in favor of Gonzalez. Regardless, he came to Miller Park every day and prepared as if he was the starting shortstop. And on May 5, as Izturis watched Gonzalez's slide land uncomfortably, leaving his friend writhing in pain, the job officially became Izturis' for the rest of the season. He ached for his friend in pain, as he and the rest of the Brewers were left to fill in at key positions all over the field. "I feel bad for him and for the team," Izturis said. "It's part of my job now to be ready. When you sign up as a backup player, you have to be ready for something to happen." Unlike the rest of the team's replacement players, Izturis has held down an everyday job before. In his time with the Dodgers, Cardinals, and Orioles, Izturis had at one point been the starting shortstop. Like Gonzalez, his reputation had almost always been for his defensive prowess. But Brewers manager Ron Roenicke knows he can expect a lot out of his backup shortstop. Of all the positions Roenicke has questioned in light of injuries, shortstop hasn't been mentioned much. It seems Izturis has fit right in. "We're very confident in him out there," Roenicke said. "That's why we acquired him in the offseason, with the idea that if something happens to an infielder, you're very comfortable putting a veteran guy out there that has shown defensively that he's really, really good. Offensively, he's getting his hits. He's doing his job, and we're comfortable. "When that ball is hit to shortstop, I feel really good." Izturis knows he may not be able to replace the power that Gonzalez brings to a lineup. He knows that the team's shortstop job is only his temporarily. But in that time, he'll keep coming to work and doing his job like he always has. On Saturday, that meant sitting on the bench in favor of Edwin Maysonet. With all Izturis has done lately, Roenicke said he thought he needed a day off. He's earned it. "We can't have this guy go down," Roenicke said. "I want to try and take care of him." Follow Ryan Kartje on Twitter.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Russell Westbrook gets emotional thanking family in MVP speech

Malcolm Brogdon makes history by beating out Saric, Embiid for Rookie of the Year

Bill Russell delivers epic line after winning NBA lifetime achievement award

Draymond Green ensemble at NBA Awards must be seen to believe

Victor Oladipo gets schooled by young boy at basketball camp

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

John Wall trying to recruit Paul George to join Wizards

Report: Saints looking at ways to recoup guaranteed money owed to Nick Fairley

Martellus Bennett thinks Rodgers is better than Brady?

Fairley expected to miss 2017 season due to heart condition

Cousins could get more than $30 million per year in free agency?

Charlie Sheen puts Babe Ruth trade contract, World Series ring up for auction

Big3 brings summer festival feel to basketball with barnstorming tour

The 'Tonight, we settle the Beard vs. Brodie debate' quiz

2016-17 NBA Awards: The 8th Man Award for most overlooked player this year

2016-17 NBA Awards: The Disappearing Act Award for player who came up small

Getaway Day: Welcome back to the world, AL Central

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Feeding your roundball addiction through the summer months

Best of Yardbarker: Diana Taurasi makes history

The 'Finest running back from America’s Finest City' quiz

Players who need to turn around their season to save their teams

Sports & Politics Intersect: Washington gets a rare win

Three Up, Three Down: Flouting the written and unwritten rules of baseball

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Big3 brings summer festival feel to basketball with barnstorming tour

The 'Tonight, we settle the Beard vs. Brodie debate' quiz

2016-17 NBA Awards: The 8th Man Award for most overlooked player this year

2016-17 NBA Awards: The Disappearing Act Award for player who came up small

Getaway Day: Welcome back to the world, AL Central

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Feeding your roundball addiction through the summer months

Best of Yardbarker: Diana Taurasi makes history

The 'Finest running back from America’s Finest City' quiz

2016-17 NBA Awards: The Billy King Award for worst trade

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker