Weeks gets to swing through slump

Rickie Weeks was called into the manager’s office Sunday to talk about taking a day off. After an 8-for-18 start to the season, he had four hits and 22 strikeouts in his last 45 at-bats. Manager Ron Roenicke thought it might be time for a break.

But Weeks made a case to play. When the lineup was posted in the clubhouse, he was back at second base and batting cleanup.

“Rick, he doesn’t want it off,” Roenicke said. “Sometimes, it comes to [simply telling a player he’s sitting out]. But it’s not something he wants on his part.

“His thinking is, for him, probably right. Say we give him today off, how do we know today isn’t the day that he bounces out of this thing? If he’s not in there, he has not chance to get out of it. That’s his thinking, and it’s good thinking. It depends on the personality, whether that works or not.

“He’s going to get out of this. It’s a matter of what day it is, and the more I keep him in there, the more I feel like he’s going to get out of it.”

And Roenicke has made the argument (unpopular in social media circles, I know) before that Weeks is the Brewers’ best option to bat cleanup, that he is still a dangerous enough hitter, even amid a slump, to protect Ryan Braun. The second-best option might be catcher Jonathan Lucroy, but he was not in the lineup Sunday because Roenicke wanted to pair Martin Maldonado with starter Wily Peralta.

The cleanup spot has been problematic for the Brewers since Aramis Ramirez went to the disabled list with a sprained left knee. The Brewers entered Sunday ranked 28th of 30 Major League teams with a .531 OPS from their No. 4 hitters, and tied for 25th with five RBIs.

In other lineup news, Roenicke flipped Alex Gonzalez and Yuniesky Betancourt’s positions on Sunday, moving Betancourt to third base and Gonzalez back to first, where he played most of the spring before moving to third when Aramis Ramirez was injured.

“I’m seeing if maybe that gets him swinging the bat a little bit better,” Roenicke said of Gonzalez, who entered the day batting .136 with four RBIs. “He’s frustrated about it, but we need to get him going.”


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