Branyan OK with splitting time
Hall not happy in platoon arrangement at third with veteran
MILWAUKEE -- The last thing that low-key Brewers third baseman Russell Branyan expected to do was return to the Major Leagues and spark a mini-controversy.Yet that's the spot in which Branyan found himself this week, when the agent for Bill Hall said his client would prefer to be traded than to split time at third base with Branyan. "I didn't choose this situation and [Hall] didn't choose it," Branyan said. "It's something that is a decision from up top. I'm just happy to be involved in the lineup, because I've played in the big leagues going on eight years now and I've never known from one day to the next if I'm playing. If it is a true platoon, at least when we face a righty, I know I have a good chance of playing. "So I don't mind the situation at all, but I can see Billy's frustrations if it's going to limit his playing time. He's under contract, but at the same time, you have to perform. The guys who make decisions, the guys in the front office, they have certain expectations for each player out there." Branyan was back in the starting lineup on Wednesday against Arizona right-hander Micah Owings. He hit .292 with three home runs and four RBIs in his first seven starts, but was on the bench on Monday and Tuesday because Arizona featured left-handed starters. The Brewers elected to promote Branyan because of Hall's struggles this season against right-handed pitching. While Hall was hitting .158 against righties at the time of the move, Branyan hit them at a .391 clip at Triple-A Nashville. Manager Ned Yost said the team was also seeking additional balance. First baseman Prince Fielder is the only left-handed hitter in the everyday lineup. "It's helped," Yost said. "We have increased our offensive production since [Branyan] has been here." After moving from shortstop to center field and then to third base over the past three years, and then losing some of his playing time, Hall is seeking a more stable situation elsewhere. "I appreciate and I think Bill appreciates ... that the team needs left-handed bats in the lineup, that they are very, very right-handed," Hall's agent, Terry Bross, said Tuesday. "If you look at the situation with other guys in the lineup that have struggled, they don't necessarily have a left-handed bat with big league experience that can come and help at that spot. So Billy is the odd man out. The problem is that it seems he has been the odd guy out for three years."
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.