MILWAUKEE -- Yuniesky Betancourt blamed a tough pitch for his poor bunt in Tuesday's 2-1 loss to the Cardinals, and his manager insisted the inconsistent shortstop, hitless in his last 22 at-bats through that bunt attempt, was not in need of a day off.
After returning from the All-Star break scorching hot, with a .380 batting average and 20 RBIs in 25 games from July 14-Aug. 11, Betancourt has cooled again. From Aug. 12 through Tuesday, he batted .129 in 18 games with five RBIs.
"I just had a conversation with him, and we've been talking about what he's been doing," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said on Wednesday afternoon. "Really, [Tuesday] is the only day he did not square up at least one ball. He's been hitting balls hard, but he hasn't been getting any hits. He's not hitting like he was before when he was hot, and he was squaring up two or three balls a game. But he's been squaring up at least one, and it seems to go right at somebody.
"I don't think he's at the point where I have to get him out of there. He's playing good defense, and he feels pretty good at the plate. We're hoping he gets that back."During his post-break spree, Betancourt batted .410 on balls in play. Since Aug. 12, that number has dropped to .129. The average is usually around .300. Betancourt had a chance to help the Brewers win Tuesday's series opener against St. Louis, when he was called upon to bunt with two on, no outs and his team facing a 2-1 deficit in the bottom of the ninth inning. He recoiled on an inside pitch from Cardinals reliever Fernando Salas and hit a hard bunt to a charging Albert Pujols, who retired the lead runner and nearly initiated a double play. Betancourt was safe at first base only because the relay throw skipped in the dirt. "I saw the ball coming in towards me and was just trying to get the ball out," said Betancourt, with reliever Frankie De La Cruz serving as interpreter. "I really tried to bunt the ball, but that's a really hard pitch to bunt." Replays and still photographs showed that Betancourt had his right hand wrapped all the way around the bat, and Salas' pitch actually hit some of his fingers. Asked about that bunting method, Roenicke said, "Surprisingly, a lot of guys do that when they bunt. It works, but you need to hit it where you want to on the bat." Considering he has zero sacrifice bunts this season, was Betancourt surprised to see one called in that spot? "No, no," he said. "That's the situation right there. It was a tough pitch to bunt."
Brewers to add three players as rosters expand
MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers said their list of Sept. 1 callups would be short, and they weren't kidding. The team announced that only three extra players would be in uniform when rosters expand Thursday -- outfielders Carlos Gomez and Logan Schafer and catcher Martin Maldonado.All three will be in uniform for Thursday's afternoon series finale against the Cardinals. The Brewers will probably promote more players in the days to come, either as need dictates or after Triple-A Nashville's season ends on Monday. Gomez is coming off the 15-day disabled list, recovered from the fractured left collarbone that had sidelined him since July 20. Maldonado was to be recalled from Nashville and Schafer's contract purchased, meaning he will join the team's 40-man roster for the first time. The Brewers would have had to add Schafer this winter anyway to avoid exposing him to December's Rule 5 Draft. Schafer, 24, will also participate in the prospect-rich Arizona Fall League, a way to make up time he lost earlier this season to a fractured thumb. He was 2-for-4 with a triple in the Sounds' 1-0 win on Wednesday, and batted .331 with five home runs and 23 RBIs at Nashville. Maldonado, who turned 25 in August, was regarded as a defensive catcher until this season. He hit .321 with eight homers and 25 RBIs in 39 games at Nashville, and belted 11 homers with 59 RBIs in 103 games in the Minors this season.
Gomez champing at bit for Thursday return
MILWAUKEE -- Brewers outfielder Carlos Gomez said he couldn't sleep Tuesday night, even though he was facing another day on the disabled list. Gomez was back at Miller Park on Wednesday and will be among the team's Sept. 1 callups.He has been on the DL since July 21, the day after he suffered a fractured left collarbone that was later surgically repaired. "I miss the team so bad," he said. Gomez went 4-for-12 with three stolen bases and no strikeouts in a four-game rehab assignment with Class A Wisconsin. "I haven't faced any lefty [pitchers] yet, but I feel comfortable at the plate," Gomez said. "I had good at-bats, I got a couple of knocks and I feel fine." He also knocked into the center-field fence at least once, and slid headfirst with no pain. Before his injury, he had been starting in center field against left-handed pitchers and serving as a late-inning defensive replacement and pinch-runner.
The Brewers on Wednesday unveiled a lottery system to distribute a very limited supply of tickets to potential postseason games at Miller Park for non-season seatholders. Fans can register at brewers.com beginning Sept. 7 for an opportunity to purchase up to four tickets to a single postseason game. The full details are available in the club's announcement."In 2008, we had over 220,000 fans register for a similar opportunity and we were only able to accommodate fewer than 5,000 of them," Brewers COO Rick Schlesinger said. "The simple reality is that the demand for tickets far outpaces the supply." Fans can also secure 2011 postseason tickets by purchasing full- or 20-game season-ticket packages for 2012. Prince Fielder has started all 137 Brewers games this season, and manager Ron Roenicke sees no end to the streak in sight, even as Fielder carried a 3-for-29 slump into Wednesday night. "I don't think he's fatigued," Roenicke said. "Physically, I think he's fine. I don't know why he gets out of his zone like that sometimes. ... We haven't had too many conversations about [taking a day off], because he's playing. I'm not going to go there until we get to a point in time where I think he needs it."