MILWAUKEE -- With everything that's gone wrong for the Brewers this season, there's at least one facet of the game that manager Ron Roenicke doesn't have much to complain about: Defense."I think it's been pretty good," Roenicke said. "I think there's always cutoff men that you overthrow and a guy takes extra bases; we're not going to be perfect. But overall I think we've done a pretty good job." Strong play in the field has not often been a trademark of Brewers teams. Just last season, Milwaukee committed 111 errors, marking the second year in a row the team went over 100. And although it's not the perfect indication of a good defense, the Brewers also haven't finished in the top 10 in fielding percentage since they ended the year in sixth (.983) in 2001. This year, though, they entered Monday ranked ninth in the Major Leagues (.984), and have committed 70 errors. On the flip side, the Brewers have been a steady offensive team in recent years, and Roenicke said there might be a correlation. "I think the tradeoff obviously is, do you want more offense or do you want more defense?" Roenicke said. "Because there's not too many perfect players that are really great in the box and great on defense. There's not many. And if they are, they're making $20 million a year." Milwaukee third baseman Aramis Ramirez is one of the players who has been able to strike a balance between excelling at the plate and in the field. Along with batting .289, driving in 72 runs and leading the National League with 58 extra-base hits entering Monday, Ramirez has committed just six errors, matching him with annual Gold Glove candidate Adrian Beltre as one of the best defensive third baseman in the Majors this season. Roenicke said factors such as history might work against Ramirez in his bid for the Gold Glove, but the second-year manager said his third baseman deserves consideration. He also said Ramirez provides an example of why the Brewers have been better defensively, as he and the rest of the team put in their defensive work during batting practice before almost every game. "If you watch every day, Aramis is throwing probably 20 throws over to first base," Roenicke said. "With [second baseman Rickie Weeks], he's turning 10 double plays. And so even though you don't take an actual infield anymore, we do 10 times in batting practice every day than if you took an infield. And I think that's important, and I think that's one of the reasons why we're doing OK defensively."
Brewers rotation set to undergo some changes
MILWAUKEE -- Brewers general manager Doug Melvin and manager Ron Roenicke planned to meet Tuesday to set plans for a flurry of changes to the team's starting rotation in the coming weeks.Those changes should begin later this week with the return of right-hander Shaun Marcum, who made a third rehabilitation start Monday for Class A Wisconsin and pitched well, allowing a run on four hits in six innings, throwing 50 of 71 pitches for strikes. Assuming no setbacks, Marcum, who has missed more than two months with a stiff right elbow, will slide into the Brewers' rotation on either Saturday or Sunday in Pittsburgh, depending on whether he wants the extra day of rest. Asked whether someone would come out of the rotation for Marcum or whether the Brewers would stick with six starters, Roenicke said, "We need to talk about that. We've talked about both -- we've got plans for going with six, and we've got plans to make it five. We'll still need to talk about that." Roenicke said that, "right now," the Brewers are inclined to keep left-hander Randy Wolf in the rotation, but, "that will be something we talk about." Wolf is 3-10 with a 5.69 ERA after losing to the Phillies on Sunday. Melvin and Roenicke will discuss removing a number of others, including right-handers Mike Fiers and Mark Rogers, prospects who are nearing their innings limits. Ditto for righty Marco Estrada, who is under watch because he is in the midst of his heaviest workload since 2009. Besides Marcum's return, the Brewers are expected to add two prospects -- right-handers Wily Peralta and Tyler Thornburg -- before the end of the season. Each could make a start or series of starts to help the team make decisions about its 2013 pitching rotation. Those promotions are more likely to come after rosters expand beginning Sept. 1. Triple-A Nashville plays its final game on Sept. 3.
Roenicke thinks Greinke is still adjusting
MILWAUKEE -- Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said he wouldn't have been surprised if Zack Greinke didn't have his best stuff in his first couple games after getting traded to the Angels.However, he didn't expect the 28-year-old right-hander to struggle quite like he has. In Greinke's first five games with the Angels, he has a 6.19 ERA to go with a 1-2 record and two no-decisions. His start on Sunday, when he gave up six earned runs on seven hits in six innings, marked the first time in his career he gave up four runs or more in four straight outings. To Roenicke, he believes it's an issue of still getting adjusted to a new environment. "You take a guy like him, and he's real structured in everything he does," Roenicke said. "He got real comfortable here with how things were going, and now you put him with a whole new coaching staff, a whole new team and that's not easy to do. ... It's not easy to just be yourself and go through the same routine you usually do when your surroundings are so different." Roenicke said he doesn't expect Greinke's funk to last much longer, especially in Angel Stadium, which he considers a pitcher-friendly park. "I still think he's going to have some good starts for them," Roenicke said. "I think that last month, he's going to do well."
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. Jeremy Warnemuende is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.