Weeks says no to left field
With left fielder Khris Davis struggling at the plate and Rickie Weeks’ bat beginning to heat up on the bench, Brewers officials recently asked Weeks whether he would consider trying the outfield.
“I’m a second baseman,” he told reporters. “I feel like right now, I should be playing second base.”
Asked whether his stance was final, or whether the promise of more playing time as a left fielder might change his mind, Weeks said, “Like I said, right now, I’m a second baseman.”
Weeks is the right-handed-hitting half of the Brewers’ second base platoon with lefty swinger Scooter Gennett, who has been getting the vast majority of starts because so many pitchers are right-handed. Weeks on Saturday made his first start at second base since April
25 26 because a left-hander — CC Sabatha — was on the mound for the Yankees.
During the winter, Brewers officials knew they had a challenging situation at second base because both Weeks, who is due $11 this season in the final year of his contract, and Gennett, who came on last season after Weeks suffered a torn hamstring, are limited to that one position. They discussed then whether Weeks might work in the outfield or at first base, but opted to sign veterans Mark Reynolds and Lyle Overbay to share first base duties, and installed Davis, who had played admirably last year in place of a suspended Ryan Braun, in left field.
Second base was to begin as a straight platoon between Weeks and Gennett, Roenicke said, though performance could eventually change that. Gennett entered Saturday batting .284 with a .320 on-base percentage in 116 at-bats, and Weeks batting .257 with a .333 on-base percentage in 35 at-bats, mostly off the bench.
Weeks numbers have been boosted by three hits and two walks in his last five pinch-hit plate appearances.
“It’s not that easy to just put somebody in the outfield,” Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said in Weeks’ defense. “We did it so much last year, trying to switch guys around in Spring Training, that we had a discussion with Doug and tried to not do that as much as we did the year before. Try to keep guys in their position more so we could get a better defensive job out of one position.
“It’s hard when you’re moving guys everywhere and then you expect them to be really good defensively. I think that’s what we got into last year, so we tried to stay away from it this year.”
But Roenicke and other decision-makers have reconsidered that philosophy in light of Davis’ recent troubles. He entered Saturday batting .169 with a .180 OBP over his previous 15 games.
Asked what they would do if Davis does not begin showing signs of progress, Roenicke said. “We’ll have to figure out something. We’ll have to do something.”
A left field platoon is possible, Roenicke said, with Logan Schafer and Caleb Gindl currently available as left-handed-hitting options.
“We’ve already had discussions on it, but there will be a time when we need to make a move if things continue,” Roenicke said.
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