Weeks back near top of batting order

Rickie Weeks’ surged back toward the top of the Brewers’ batting order beginning Sunday, the latest signal that last year’s All-Star Game starting second baseman is shaking his brutal, early-season slump.

Weeks batted second after hitting .287 in his 48 games before Sunday’s series finale against the Astros, with seven home runs, 23 RBIs and 56 more points on his batting average, which rose in that span from .162 to .218. Over his previous 16 games, Weeks was hitting .369.

“We’ve been talking about it for a while,” manager Ron Roenicke said. “A couple of weeks ago, when we met with [general manager] Doug [Melvin] and the boys, we talked about maybe doing it sometime, and I think it’s a good time to do it.”

With Weeks up in the two-hole instead of center fielder Carlos Gomez, who slipped to seventh after going 0-for-8 with six strikeouts in the first two games of the Houston series, the Brewers could be previewing a potential batting order for next season, when they will try to regroup and contend in the National League Central.

The top six hitters are right fielder Norichika Aoki, Weeks, left fielder Ryan Braun, third baseman Aramis Ramirez, first baseman Corey Hart and the catcher’s spot — usually held by Jonathan Lucroy. All of those players are already under contract for 2013.

That would leave center field and shortstop for the seven- and eight-holes. The Brewers will have to decide whether recently-acquired rookie Jean Segura is ready for everyday duty as early as next season. Center is a big question mark at the moment — Gomez is currently getting another chance to prove he can handle a regular workload.

So far, Gomez has seemed to struggle the more he plays. He was the regular center fielder to start the 2011 season, but eventually slipped into a timeshare with Nyjer Morgan and had success. Now, at 26, Gomez is getting yet another shot.

“We’ll continue to play him, but he needs to show that progression in what he does offensively, because defensively, he’s fine,” Roenicke said. “He’s good defensivcely. He’s good when he gets on base, he’s a tremendous base stealer. But that consistency in the batter’s box [is the issue].”

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