Pinch-hitting proves to be Inglett's strength
Outfielder batting .339 in substitute role for Brewers
MILWAUKEE -- Somebody remind the Brewers' Joe Inglett that pinch-hitting is supposed to be baseball's toughest task.Inglett's Major League-leading 15th pinch-hit was a two-run home run Friday night, and a few minutes later Inglett was the first man out of the dugout to celebrate Prince Fielder's game-winning single. Inglett improved to 15-for-46 (.326) off the bench this season, and he's a big reason that the Brewers pinch-hitters lead the Majors with a .291 batting average (39-for-134) and a .375 on-base percentage. "Just grind through," Inglett said of his approach to the role. "[Batting practice] is my game, so I really have to take it that way so I'm ready for the game. That's really my approach." And he's been very good at it. As a midgame sub, Inglett is 19-for-56 (.339). But in his 12 starts, he's 8-for-41 (.195). "He got to play a week in a row and didn't get a hit, so I don't know," manager Ken Macha said. "He's better suited for pinch-hitting, which is unusual." So Macha is trying to maximize Inglett's strong suit, and that usually means pinch-hit at-bats against right-handed pitchers. Inglett is hitless in 19 plate appearances against lefties this season with three walks.
Weeks sparks win with inside-the-parker
MILWAUKEE -- Rickie Weeks set a Brewers record with his seventh leadoff home run of the season, and he had to work for it.Weeks scampered all 360 feet around the bases for the Brewers' first leadoff inside-the-park home run in 21 years, sparking a 5-2 win over the Astros on Saturday at Miller Park. He became the first Brewer to lead off a game like that since Mike Felder did it Sept. 26, 1989, against the Orioles, and the first Major Leaguer to do it since the Mets' Angel Pagan led off against the Phillies last Aug. 23. "Obviously, that's a great feeling," Weeks said. "You don't have to hit the ball out of the park to get a home run. That was a big boost to the ballclub early on." The sellout crowd offered a curtain call for Weeks, and it was well-deserved. The 27-year-old former No. 2 overall Draft pick is putting together by far his best season, with 23 home runs and 71 RBIs, all from the leadoff position. He's on pace to be the first Major League leadoff man to top 100 RBIs since the Angels' Darin Erstad did it in 2000. Weeks gave left-hander Randy Wolf some run support in a hurry, lining the third pitch from Astros starter Brett Myers off an angled portion of the center-field wall at Miller Park. It caromed away far enough from former Brewers outfielder Jason Bourgeois for Weeks to circle all the way around the bases. "I thought I had a bead on it, I got a good jump, it just happened to get over my glove," Bourgeois said. "I thought everything was going right, but it's a game of inches. It got over. ... I wish I could have another try at it, but it's the way the game goes." Weeks' buddy Prince Fielder has hit two inside-the-park home runs, including the Brewers' last before Saturday. That was June 16, 2008, when his hit settled under the padding on the right-field wall in a game against the Blue Jays. So did Fielder offer congratulations when Weeks reached the dugout? "'You have a long way to do to get two.' That's what he said," Weeks said, laughing.
Brewers confident about signing top pick
MILWAUKEE -- With 10 days to go before the deadline to sign picks from the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, Brewers general manager Doug Melvin was asked Saturday whether he could report any progress."No," Melvin said, "but we're pretty confident we can get him in."
Him in this case is Dylan Covey. The Brewers picked the Pasadena, Calif., right-hander with the 14th overall pick in the Draft. He has a scholarship from the University of San Diego for leverage, and Covey's father, Darrell, is handling negotiations instead of an agent to preserve his son's amateur status.
Brewers amateur scouting director Bruce Seid is in California, but Melvin was not certain whether there had been any face-to-face meetings in recent days.
Only four of the 13 players picked before Covey have signed including only one pitcher, 12th overall pick Chris Sale, a collegiate left-hander who made his Major League debut Friday for the White Sox.With the short-season Minor Leagues nearing their end, even if Covey does sign, he will probably have to wait until 2011 to make his debut. "We'd like to get him out there earlier, and in most cases we have," Melvin said.
Mills thinks Hart was out on game-winner
MILWAUKEE -- While the Brewers were celebrating a thrilling walk-off victory Friday night, the Astros and manager Brad Mills weren't so sure about the game's final run.
As right fielder Corey Hart scored the winning run Friday night, Mills was convinced he was out. His opinion remained the same Saturday afternoon.
Unfortunately, the ensuing celebration made it tough for Mills to voice his opinion.
"That is the toughest way to argue a call," Mills said. "To go out there when everybody is running around -- the umpires want to leave, they're trying to get off the field, and I'm trying to state my case as he's walking off. It's a bad place to be.
"They were picking Hart up off the ground as I was running around trying to get to the umpire. That's a tough situation."
A closer look at Hart's slide shows his left leg was several inches off the ground as Astros catcher Jason Castro turned to tag the All-Star right fielder. From the camera angle behind the plate, however, it's difficult to see whether Hart scores before the tag is applied.
Mills said his catcher could have been better positioned on the play, though he understands the difficulty of catching the throw from right fielder Hunter Pence and making the tag at the plate.
"The ball is always going to travel quicker than the guy is able to get the ball and reach back," Mills said. "We try to get the guys to straddle the bag and let the ball travel.
"When the ball's coming from right field, it's the worst for the catcher. His eyes are on the ball, and he can't even see the runner out of his periphery. It makes it really difficult."
The Brewers named outfielder Lorenzo Cain and right-hander Cody Scarpetta their Minor League player and pitcher of the month for July. Cain batted .320 in a month split between Double-A Huntsville and Triple-A Nashville that also included a weeklong stint in the Majors. He was promoted back to the big leagues Friday afternoon. Scarpetta was 3-0 with a 1.41 ERA in July for Class A Brevard County. ... The Brewers are close to naming their picks for the 2010 Arizona Fall League, general manager Doug Melvin said. The club has a priority pick at second base, making it very likely that 2008 first-round Draft pick Brett Lawrie will be one of the selections. Melvin also said the club was hoping to send outfielder Logan Schafer, who is recovering from hernia surgery.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.