Roenicke weighs in on first base
Juan Francisco is having a terrific spring, batting .346 with a .500 on-base percentage after working five walks in his past two games. Statistically, Lyle Overbay is having a lousy spring, entering Friday batting .133. But Brewers manager Ron Roenicke suggested this morning that there is much more to the team’s choice of a backup first baseman than those numbers.
“I think [Francisco] is confident — again, he’s coming out of winter ball, so he’s pretty locked in. But the improvements are there,” Roenicke said. “Overbay had a bad spring last year, too, and he started off the first two months really good. So there’s a track record with him, and it’s more making sure that we’re seeing the things that fit on what we need for this team. That’s why I don’t really like to go by numbers in Spring Training, although when you look at Juan, you see improvements. It’s not just like the numbers are better. The improvement are better. That’s what I want to see.
“Bad memories always come up when you talk about this stuff, but I want into a camp one year [as a player], and I usually had a lousy spring. I had a good spring, but the guy who beat me out always always has a good spring, and had a fantastic spring. They kept him, and then a month later he was released.
“I’ve heard from the guys I really enjoy talking to and listening to, basically mentors, who have told me do not be fooled by Spring Training. So that’s the part that gets hard. You see things in spring and you have all this hope that someone is maybe that much better, changed, or whatever you want to say, and then you go back to the season and things seem to go back to normal. …
“There’s so much going on, you cannot just go by the numbers. It’s the fit, it’s the history, it’s everything.”
Expect some movement on this front beginning Saturday, when Overbay can request his release if he’s not promised a spot on the 25-man roster. If he makes that request, the Brewers would have 48 hours to add him to the roster or release him.
Follow me on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy