SAN DIEGO -- Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said he would continue a patient approach toward Rickie Weeks, who entered Tuesday night with the lowest batting average (.186) for a National Leaguer with at least 50 at-bats in the leadoff spot.Only one Major Leaguer had at least 50 at-bats in the one-hole with a lower average -- Weeks' younger brother, Jemile, of the Oakland A's. "I don't think it's going to take much for him to break loose," Roenicke said of Rickie. "A couple at-bats, maybe. Maybe it's a couple of games in a row. But Rickie has always been a good hitter, and there is no reason to think this is going to go on for very long." Track record is one of several reasons for Roenicke's patience. Another is that Weeks entered Tuesday with a .320 on-base percentage, right in the middle (13th of 26) among players with at least 50 at-bats as the leadoff man. Plus, the Brewers have scant options. Center fielder Nyjer Morgan is battling through his own slow start. Right fielder Corey Hart has experience hitting leadoff, but Roenicke considers him more important in the five-hole hitting behind Ryan Braun and Aramis Ramirez. "For our offense to go, we need Rickie to hit like he usually does," Roenicke said.
Gamel exits after banging knee into wall
SAN DIEGO -- A dangerous first inning for first basemen claimed the Brewers' Mat Gamel, who exited Tuesday's game at Petco Park with a worrisome right knee injury.Gamel was hurt chasing a popup in foul ground and initially stayed in the game, but he left after taking an awkward swing in the on-deck circle in the top of the second inning. Manager Ron Roenicke expressed concern after the Brewers' 2-0 loss to the Padres, speaking to reporters at the same time Gamel was being further examined. Asked whether he feared the injury was significant, Roenicke said, "Yeah, I think so. I felt pretty good when he stayed in the game. He seemed to be strong. Any time a guy walks off after trying to swing, you're going to be concerned about him. With the knee, there's so many things that you can tweak. Whether it's a slight tear or whatever the case may be, there's a lot going on." Gamel was chasing a Nick Hundley popup when he smacked into the low wall that separates fans from the playing field. Gamel finished the inning after receiving attention from head athletic trainer Dan Wright and briefly stepped into the on-deck circle in the top of the second inning. But Gamel took an awkward warm-up swing and returned to the dugout. Travis Ishikawa replaced him in the game. The Padres' first baseman, Yonder Alonso, had a run-in with the same portion of the wall during the first inning. He chased a Rickie Weeks popup that made it to the seats, tumbled over the wall and stayed down for several moments. Alonso remained in the game. It's been a painful week for Gamel, who sat out three games last week and over the weekend with of a sore shoulder, the result of a home plate collision with Astros catcher Jason Castro on April 23.
Braun's big night fueled by midday snack?
SAN DIEGO -- Ryan Braun does not consider himself the superstitious type, but he made a few exceptions on Tuesday.Braun said he wore the same T-shirt to the ballpark and repeated his routine the day after his historic Monday night, when the Brewers outfielder became the first player ever to belt three home runs at cavernous Petco Park. It was his first career three-homer game, and he was the first player since Fred Lynn in 1975 to hit three homers and a triple in the same game. Braun set a Brewers record with 15 total bases. "I try not to be superstitious," Braun said, "but it's hard not to." According to some local news outlets, including 10News.com, his day-after routine included a stop at a snack shop in the Gaslamp Quarter. Crunchtime Popcorn received some nice publicity by spreading the word, complete with a photo, that Braun and his girlfriend had stopped in Monday afternoon for a strawberry-banana smoothie. They were waiting outside Tuesday morning before the store opened to place the same order. Brewers teammates benefited from Braun's brand loyalty. Bags of popcorn were waiting for them in the clubhouse on Tuesday afternoon. Braun said he didn't keep any souvenirs from his big night, though he might have, had his ninth-inning at-bat gone differently. He batted with a chance to become the 16th player in Major League history to hit four home runs in a game. Braun hit a line drive to right-center field -- Brewers manager Ron Roenicke believes it would have been a homer at Miller Park -- and "settled" for a two-run triple. Was Braun thinking "home run" going into that at-bat? You bet he was. "I've never had an opportunity in my career to attempt a fourth homer, and there's no guarantee I'll ever have that opportunity again, so of course the thought crossed my mind," Braun said. Did he consider blowing past third base and trying for an inside-the-park homer? Yep. "If I would have just kept running, it's not an error, right, if they relay the ball to third and I just keep running home," he said. "I thought about it. There was just no chance. Maybe if [the outfielder] dove for it or something like that."
Braun reached a different milestone Tuesday night. With his stolen base in the sixth inning, Braun became the fourth player in Brewers history with 100 steals and 100 home runs. Robin Yount, Paul Molitor and Rickie Weeks are the others.
Narveson undergoes shoulder surgery
SAN DIEGO -- Brewers left-hander Chris Narveson's season-ending shoulder surgery went just as expected on Tuesday, assistant general manager Gord Ash said.Dr. William Raasch repaired a tear in Narveson's left rotator cuff and also repaired the labrum. The labrum issue had not been included in the Brewers' previous reports about Narveson but was an anticipated part of the procedure. "The main component was the rotator cuff, but we knew from the imaging that there was some fraying of the labrum," Ash said. "Dr. Raasch felt it best that, while we were in there, to take care of that. It is a common part of wear and tear for a pitcher." Narveson also had labrum surgery in 2005. That added component of the surgery will not impact Narveson's rehabilitation timetable, Ash said. The original estimate was 6-9 months, but Ash called the short end of that spectrum, "very optimistic." "The way we look at it is, 'Ready for Spring Training,'" Ash said.
The Brewers may start three different center fielders in their three-game series against the Padres. Nyjer Morgan started Monday, Norichika Aoki started Tuesday and manager Ron Roenicke said he was leaning toward playing Carlos Gomez on Wednesday, even though the Padres had replaced left-hander Corey Luebke with right-hander Jeff Suppan.Roenicke said he's still searching for the right formula at that position. "It's certainly more comfortable if you have one or two of the guys playing well in a platoon system," Roenicke said. "I still think Nyjer's at-bats are better. I like what he's doing. We're trying to figure it out, [and] it's tough when you've got three guys who want to play." Roenicke said the Brewers still plan to use right fielder Corey Hart as an occasional starter at first base, but Hart has requested some exposure to the position in blowout games before he appears in the starting lineup at that spot. Hart began his professional career as a first baseman but has played only two games there in the Major Leagues, both in 2006. Braun was named the Brewers' player of the month for April and Zack Greinke won pitcher of the month honors. The team's beat writers and broadcasters vote on the award.