A clubhouse outbreak of pinkeye forced the Milwaukee Brewers to find a new way to acknowledge top plays at spring training.
As in, no high-fiving, hand slaps or other celebratory contact for the Major League Baseball team.
Catcher Jonathan Lucroy and pitching coach Rick Kranitz were among the pinkeye victims. They stayed home in hopes of stopping the spread of the annoying and highly contagious malady that causes itchy eyes, among other symptoms, that eventually affected 12 players.
For now, Milwaukee players are supposed to avoid high-fives and instead tap elbows or bump batting glove-covered fists.
In the seventh inning of a recent 10-5 loss to the Seattle Mariners, after scoring on a sacrifice fly, Hunter Morris approached the coaches sitting outside the Brewers dugout with his hand out as if he wanted to shake hands. But at last moment, he pulled his hand back and gave them fist bumps.
It's not the only malady affecting the club, which has also been dealing with flu-like symptoms.
“I'm hoping we put an end to this thing. Now we've got this darn chest thing going around that I've got,” manager Ron Roenicke told the Associated Press.
Reliever Mike Fiers is trying to avoid the pinkeye problem. “I just don't want to catch it,” he said. “Just try to be sanitary. Wash your hands after everything you do, be careful and don't put your hands in your eyes or your mouth. Just try to stay as clean as possible.”
As opening day nears on April 5, the Brewers are probably hoping they can leave their contagious ailments behind in Arizona along with their lackluster spring training record. By late last week, they ranked 12th in National League standings for the preseason, ahead of only the Atlanta Braves, the Chicago Cubs and the San Francisco Giants.