PHOENIX -- First baseman Lyle Overbay was pleased to sit down in Brewers manager Ron Roenicke's office Wednesday morning for a clearer sense of what coaches are looking for from him in Spring Training. On one hand, Overbay is a proven commodity used to using the spring to get ready for Opening Day. On the other hand, he is a non-roster invitee trying to win a job.
"It's good just to communicate and let them know what I feel like I'm trying to do," Overbay said. "And if they need to see something, just come tell me. I think it's always good to clarify that. I have a good feeling it's going to be alright."
Roenicke has been meeting individually for several minutes with all of the players in camp, and Wednesday happened to be Overbay's turn. Sometimes, it is simply a get-to-know-you session. Sometimes, players ask questions about their chances.
Roenicke has been keeping the content of those meetings private, but he likes what he sees so far from Overbay.
"I heard good things about him before -- and this isn't so much talking about baseball stuff, because we haven't seen a lot," Roenicke said. "But just moving around the bag in drills and stuff, he's a good defender. I like the way he works and the way he goes about his job. I like what he has to say out there. I like what some of the younger guys have already come to me and said about him. That doesn't happen very often. So he's a guy that we're really happy to have in camp."
Roenicke and Overbay communicated beginning last year, before the Brewers signed him in January to a Minor League contract that included an invitation to big league camp. Overbay played for the Brewers in 2004 and '05, long before Roenicke and the most of the current coaching staff joined the organization.
Roenicke said he feels for players like Overbay bidding for roster spots. Before each of his eight Major League seasons, Roenicke had to win a job.
"I think everybody is in a different situation, and I explained that to the guys in there [during the daily morning meeting], the difference of some guys in camp," Roenicke said. "The veterans are coming in here to get in shape by Opening Day. Then you have the younger group trying to impress us. Then you have the group trying to make the team. I always came trying to make the team. From the first game on, I felt like I had to impress, and it's really an uncomfortable feeling. I like that there's competition, but I tell you what, it's a nervous time. I don't have fond memories of Spring Trainings."
Rogers back to work after non-stop calendar year
PHOENIX -- For the Brewers' reigning Minor League Player of the Year, it's difficult to determine where 2013 ended and '14 began.
"I did take two days off," Jason Rogers said with a shrug.
The 25-year-old utility man, who turns 26 on March 13, barely stopped moving during the past calendar year. He reported early last year for Spring Training before hitting .270 with 22 home runs and 87 RBIs in 133 games for Double-A Huntsville, earning him the Brewers' Robin Yount Performance Award, presented annually to the system's top player.
From Huntsville, he went to the Surprise Saguaros of the Arizona Fall League and batted .311 in 18 games. Then it was off to the Brewers' academy in the Dominican Republic to work on footwork at third base, a position Rogers manned in college but has seen only once as a professional. When the Brewers heard Este had an opening for an outfielder, Rogers joined the Dominican Winter League and played 13 more games.
"I was dead by January. Dead," he said. "It was a long season."
He got home to Florida on Jan. 15. Rogers took those two days off, then resumed weight training.
Does he worry about fatigue carrying into 2014?
"No, I think the experience from last year will help me," Rogers said. "I'll take it day by day, and when I see myself getting fatigued, I'll be able to make an adjustment a lot quicker."
Rogers credited former Double-A manager Darnell Coles for helping him get through tired stretches during the season, and spoke during the Brewers' January fanfest in Milwaukee with shortstop Jean Segura, who carried a similarly heavy workload into last season and wore down during the second half. Segura offered some tips.
A 32nd round Draft pick in 2010 who was just added to the roster this winter, Rogers relished his long grind of a season.
"It was really my first chance to play every day," said Rogers, who had dealt with some injuries, including a broken bone in his hand in 2011. "I finally got in good shape, and that helped a lot."
In his first big league camp, "I'm just taking it all in, talking to the older guys as much as I can about how they run things, how to go about your business. I'm a quiet person, but I know some of these guys from the Minor League side, a lot of them, really. I'll be trying to get to know everybody else."
Does Rogers see a position that offers the quickest path to the Majors?
"I think all of them are," he said. "I'll play wherever. Whatever gets me up the line."
• After Marco Estrada and Wily Peralta piggyback Thursday against the A's, Yovani Gallardo is scheduled to start Friday in Scottsdale against the Giants, Kyle Lohse (home) and Mike Fiers (road) are scheduled to start split-squad games Saturday against the Dodgers and at the D-backs, and Matt Garza is scheduled to start Sunday at the Rockies.
• Brian Anderson and Bill Schroeder will call the Brewers' Cactus League opener on Thursday for a webcast on Brewers.com and MLB.com. Then Bob Uecker and Joe Block will have the call Friday against the Giants on the Brewers Radio Network, and Anderson and Schroeder will call Saturday's televised game against the Dodgers on FS Wisconsin.
• Roenicke was setting lineups for Thursday and Friday's games with Saturday's split-squad action in mind. The Brewers will borrow some players from the early Minor League minicamp to cover games at home against the Dodgers and in Scottsdale against the D-backs.
• Baseball Prospectus, a publication held in high regard within the Brewers' front office, released its annual ranking of Minor League systems on Wednesday and put Milwaukee 29th, ahead of only the Angels. Outfielder Tyrone Taylor is rated as the top prospect for the Brewers, and 2013 Draft picks Devin Williams and Tucker Neuhaus were named breakout candidates for the coming season.
Baseball Prospectus wrote: "I actually like some of the aforementioned lower-level talent, especially Devin Williams, and if those higher risk types can start to actualize on the field, the farm will take a much needed step forward."