SAN DIEGO -- "Better every day," Brewers infielder Elian Herrera said the other day at Busch Stadium about the bruise buried deep in his right thigh. Unfortunately, there aren't enough days left.
Manager Craig Counsell confirmed Wednesday that Herrera will probably not play in any of the Brewers' remaining games. The utility man, coming to the end of a breakthrough season of sorts, has been hobbled since suffering a bad bone bruise in a nasty collision with outfielder Shane Peterson during a Sept. 19 loss to the Reds.
"Elian has improved a lot, actually," Counsell said. "With the off-day Monday, not seeing him for a day, and then seeing him [Tuesday], there was significant improvement. I don't think we'll see him. He'll probably just be ready to play Saturday or Sunday -- maybe. So I'm doubtful."
The focus instead, Counsell said, is getting Herrera as healthy as possible by Sunday's season finale, so he can head into a winter split between Michigan and the Dominican Republic and have a "normal" offseason.
Herrera was among the few pleasant surprises during a Brewers season gone awry. He batted a modest .242 with seven home runs and 33 RBIs, but the home run count stood out considering he'd hit one in parts of three previous seasons with the Dodgers and Brewers. He hit .262/.322/.462 as the starting third baseman, many of those games after the Brewers traded Aramis Ramirez to the Pirates.
As a switch-hitter capable of playing every position -- Herrera is the emergency catcher -- the 30-year-old has a chance to return next season in a utility role.
"Elian did a nice job with his opportunity," Counsell said. "He earned his way into the lineup every day, he really did."
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.