Zaun returning to usual numbers at plate
Catcher erasing memories of 0-for-21 start with hot lumber
LOS ANGELES -- Brewers catcher Gregg Zaun said this would happen. After an 0-for-21 start to the season, his batting average is back where it should be.
Zaun was on the bench Wednesday against the Dodgers -- backup catcher George Kottaras handles Doug Davis' starts -- with a .257 batting average, six points above his career mark entering the season. Since his 0-for-21 start, which matched a club record for a member of the Opening Day roster, Zaun is hitting .367 (18-for-49), including .526 (10-for-19) during a five-game hitting streak. He hit his first home run with the Brewers on Tuesday night.
"I was pretty dumbfounded when I started the season the way I did," Zaun said. "It would have been tougher to handle if I wasn't swinging the bat well. I was hitting the ball hard. I was happy with my at-bats, at least from the left side."
The switch-hitting Zaun had more trouble from the right side of the plate. He was 0-for-16 as a right-handed hitter before getting on the board with some help from hitting coach Dale Sveum, and he has gone 4-for-6 right-handed since.
"He fixed me right away," Zaun said. "It just goes to show that if you're a 10-year player and you hit .250, you can pretty much bet that the numbers are going to end up there again."
Gomez pulled after injuring hand, shoulder
LOS ANGELES -- Brewers center fielder Carlos Gomez's eighth-inning scramble back to second base during Wednesday's 11-3 win over the Dodgers could prove costly. His right hand was swollen after his half-headfirst slide, half-belly flop, but the real concern was Gomez's left shoulder, which will be examined further on Thursday."My hand is going to be all right," Gomez said. "I don't know about my shoulder." Gomez was at first base on a fielder's choice in the eighth inning when Ryan Braun hit an RBI single to right field. Gomez fell after making the turn for third base and was briefly caught in a rundown, but he was able to scamper back safely and flop into second base. He lay in the dirt for a moment while members of the Milwaukee training staff gave him a look. Gomez remained in the game and eventually scored, then played the bottom of the eighth in center field before giving way to a pinch-hitter in the top of the ninth. Gomez was 1-for-5 with a pair of runs and is batting .276 this season with a .321 on-base percentage. He ranks third on the team with 16 runs scored.
Narveson, Zaun building battery bond
LOS ANGELES -- Chris Narveson's second start for the Brewers was better than his first, and he hopes that a growing familiarity with catcher Gregg Zaun means even better outings are in store.Zaun didn't catch any of Narveson's starts in Spring Training -- the result of some well-placed split-squad games and Zaun's quadriceps injury -- but he's handled both of Narveson's outings since the left-hander replaced Jeff Suppan in Milwaukee's starting rotation. On Tuesday, Narveson allowed three runs in six innings of an 11-6 win over the Dodgers. "Me and Zaunie knew exactly what we wanted to do," Narveson said. "The first time out, I think we were still trying to figure out how we wanted to best use my pitches. There's a comfort, and you know that when you're thinking of a pitch, he's thinking of the same pitch. That makes you feel good on the mound." So does a huge lead in the second inning. The Brewers scored nine runs off Los Angeles lefty Clayton Kershaw in the top of the second inning, and Narveson did his part to make it stand, retiring three hitters in order in the bottom of the frame.
"He pounded the strike zone," Zaun said. "I thought we worked well. I think I have a little bit better feel for his strengths and weaknesses. I had him a little in the regular season, but coming out of the bullpen is a totally different sample."
Physically, Narveson is still building back to the level of endurance with which he broke Spring Training after four starts, one multi-inning relief appearance and 13 scoreless innings.He threw 95 pitches on Tuesday after throwing 102 pitches in his first start, on April 28 against the Pirates. Narveson and Zaun needed 37 pitches to get through the first inning of that one. "It's different as a starter. Your body has to get used to taking a little bit more of a beating," Narveson said. "Your body adjusts to that and starts settling in." Asked how he felt the day after his second start, Narveson said, "A lot better than I did after the first."
Torre sends get-well texts to Uecker
LOS ANGELES -- What will technology bring us next? Joe Torre and Bob Uecker are apparently trading text messages.
Torre, the Dodgers' manager and Uecker's onetime Milwaukee Braves teammate and roommate, said he sent a get-well message to Uecker via text after the Brewers' broadcaster underwent heart surgery last week.
Was Torre surprised to learn that the old-school Uecker was a texter?
"Not as surprised as I was to be texting," Torre joked.
Uecker called his old friend Torre before making his health issue public, and it came as no surprise that he delivered sobering news with a touch of his trademark humor.
"He's been that way at least for the part of his life that I know him, which is back into the early 1960s," Torre said.
Brewers waiting for Gamel to fully heal
LOS ANGELES -- Rather than let rehabbing third-base prospect Mat Gamel serve as the designated hitter in road games against American League affiliates, the Brewers are waiting for Gamel's shoulder injury to be completely healed before he returns to action.
Gamel is getting close, Brewers general manager Doug Melvin said Wednesday.
"He's throwing, but not at 100 percent," Melvin said. "We told him he's not going to play until he can play in the field."
Gamel has been on the disabled list since early March with a slightly torn latissimus dorsi, the large muscle in the upper back behind his right shoulder.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.