KANSAS CITY -- In 11 seasons of Major League relief work, Francisco Rodriguez says he has never been more frustrated.The Brewers' eighth-inning man spoke about his recent struggles after allowing the decisive run in Tuesday's 2-1 loss to the Royals, and again Wednesday before the second game of the Interleague series. "I'm not executing pitches when I need to," Rodriguez said. "I'm a little disappointed and embarrassed at the same time. I've got my boys out there battling for eight innings, and I'm coming in, just one mistake, and we lost the game. It's not just one game that it happened. It's been the first two months of the season. "In my 10 years in the big leagues, I don't remember [being] this frustrated and not being able to get the job done when I need to." The really frustrating part, Rodriguez said, is that his fastball feels like it's coming out of his hand with more life. That's reflected in data at FanGraphs.com, which says Rodriguez's average fastball is 91.2 mph this season, about 1 mph above last year. Is manager Ron Roenicke concerned? "I'm not concerned for the long run; I'm concerned the way he's pitching right now because, yes, I haven't seen this from Frankie before," Roenicke said. The problem, Roenicke said, is that Rodriguez has not had command of his off-speed pitches.
"He's going to get it going," Roenicke said. "I've seen him too long, his stuff is too good."
Seeking runs, Brewers shuffle lineup again
KANSAS CITY -- Seeking a more consistent offense, Brewers manager Ron Roenicke made another significant lineup adjustment Wednesday, moving Corey Hart back down to fifth and installing outfielder Norichika Aoki as the leadoff hitter for the near future.Roenicke drew up two lineups on Wednesday, one with Hart hitting leadoff and one with him hitting fifth. Then Roenicke polled his coaches. "We talked about, if he's leading off, he's going to end up with 50 RBIs this year, and he's one of our best RBI guys," Roenicke said. "So, we're trying to figure out how to score some more runs. We think Corey is a guy we want to drive in runs. "I'm not saying this is going to work. But, if you look at it on paper, it makes more sense to do it this way." Aoki, who has hit himself into regular duty as the right fielder with Hart's move to first base, batted leadoff on Wednesday and stands to remains there over the coming days or weeks.
- 142 wins
- 110 wins
Roenicke to coach at All-Star Game
KANSAS CITY -- Brewers manager Ron Roenicke hashed out some of his differences with former Cardinals manager Tony La Russa before accepting La Russa's invitation to be part of the National League's All-Star Game coaching staff.That staff was announced by Major League Baseball on Wednesday and also includes Mets manager Terry Collins, plus La Russa's staff from the 2011 world champion Cardinals. "It's an honor," said Roenicke, who coached third in the 2003 All-Star Game when he was with the defending champion Angels. "Any time you're asked to do something in that type of an arena, then that's an honor. "I had a discussion with Tony La Russa on it. It's hard when you're going so hard against a guy the year before, and now you're going to be on the same side with him, but it should be fun." Roenicke and La Russa had their differences in 2011, Roenicke's first year at the helm and La Russa's last, when the Brewers and Cardinals met for 18 tense games in the regular season, plus six more in the NL Championship Series. Those games included plunkings of Ryan Braun and Albert Pujols, La Russa's contention that the Brewers were manipulating the lighting at Miller Park, a near-fight between Nyjer Morgan and Chris Carpenter -- followed by Morgan calling Pujols "Alberta" -- and Zack Greinke's characterization of Carpenter as a "phony." "We had some battles last year, yes. I'll leave it at that," Roenicke said. "I talked about it, yes, and we're going to talk some more about it."
The Brewers finalized plans for three injured players ready to start rehabilitation assignments with Triple-A Nashville. Shortstop Cesar Izturis (left hamstring) will begin playing for the Sounds on Friday and first baseman Travis Ishikawa (left rib cage) will follow on Saturday.
Right-hander Marco Estrada (right quadriceps) will start Saturday for the Sounds, the first of two outings before the Brewers decide whether to reinstate him to the starting rotation. The Brewers expect to announce a number of additional signings from last week's First-Year Player Draft by the end of the week, including a deal with second-round pick Tyrone Taylor, a center fielder from Torrance (Calif.) High School, who had a scholarship offer from Cal-State Fullerton. Club officials cannot comment on any of the pending signings until the players pass physical exams.